If you’re serving your child a hot dog for dinner, it’s fair to assume nutrition is not priority No. 1 at that moment. It’s enjoying the picnic happening around you. Selecting a menu that all five play-date guests will tolerate.
Which doesn’t mean the entire event has to be nutritionally bankrupt. A steamed veggie side and a whole wheat bun make for a respectable meal. Store shelves are chock full of them, most bursting with alluring boasts: “Good source of fiber." “19g whole grain per bun." “Heart healthy."
What to believe?
We’ve learned by now that “whole wheat" is the operative ingredient when determining a bread’s nutritional heft. (“’Whole’ means you’re getting the inside of the grain as well as the outside of the grain, so you’re getting the bran and the fiber and all the nutrients," Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokeswoman Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo once told us.)
We threw a hot dog party for a group of 6- to 8-year-olds. The kids ranked the brands on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 is the best).
1st place: Brownberry Select Wheat Hot Dog Rolls
(5 points. 8 pack. $2.79; 2 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar)
“It tastes a little more like white bread than the rest." “It’s sweet!"
2nd place: Wonder 100 percent Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns
(4 points. 8 pack. $3.99; 2 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar)
“You can chew it more and it lasts." “It’s really super soft."
3rd place: Healthy Life Wheat Hot Dog Buns
(3.2 points. 8 pack. $2.99; 4 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar)
“Too much crust taste." “Dry."
4th place: Aunt Millie’s Hearth Whole Grain Hot Dog Buns
(2 points. 8 pack. $3.49; 2 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar)
“It breaks into too many pieces." “Too, like, seedy."