A chili cheese dog is a classic American dish consisting of a hot dog served in a bun and topped with chili sauce and shredded cheese. It’s a popular item at baseball games, carnivals, and other events. But like many indulgent foods, chili cheese dogs can be high in calories. So how many calories are actually in a chili cheese dog with a bun?
Calories in hot dog
The main component of a chili cheese dog is the hot dog itself. Hot dogs come in different sizes, with different meats and ingredients. On average, a typical beef hot dog contains around 150 calories. Here is a breakdown of calories for some common hot dog sizes:
|Hot Dog Size
As you can see, a regular beef hot dog that weighs around 45g contains about 140 calories. So that forms the base of our chili cheese dog.
Some other factors that can affect the calories in a hot dog include:
– Type of meat. Beef, chicken, turkey, and vegetarian hot dogs can vary in calories. Beef tends to be the most calorie-dense.
– Ingredients. Hot dogs come in different styles from all-beef to cheese-filled that impact calories.
– Preparation method. Grilling, boiling, microwaving, etc. adds negligible calories.
Calories in hot dog bun
In addition to the hot dog, we have to account for the bun. A typical white enriched hot dog bun contributes around 80-120 calories, depending on size.
Some factors about the bun that affect calories:
– Size. Regular long buns tend to have more calories than mini buns.
– Ingredients. Whole wheat or multigrain buns may be slightly higher in calories than white enriched buns.
– Butter/oil. Applying butter or oil to the bun before toasting adds about 50 extra calories.
For the typical 6-inch white enriched hot dog bun, we’ll use 100 calories in our chili cheese dog calculation.
Calories in chili sauce
Now let’s look at the chili sauce that tops a chili cheese dog. There are many types of chili sauce, from thin tomato-based to thick meaty varieties.
On average, 1⁄4 cup of canned chili sauce contains around 50-60 calories. Some factors affecting chili sauce calories:
– Ingredients. Meat-based chili sauces are higher in calories than veggie-based.
– Serving size. More sauce equals more calories.
– Brand. Different brands use varying ingredients that affect calorie counts.
For our purposes, let’s use 1⁄4 cup (60ml) of a meat-based canned chili sauce, or 55 calories.
Calories in shredded cheese
No chili cheese dog would be complete without shredded cheese on top. Here are the calories for 1⁄4 cup of some popular shredded cheese choices:
As you can see, cheddar and Monterey jack, both common options, contain around 110-120 calories per 1⁄4 cup. For our calculation, we’ll go with 115 calories of shredded cheddar cheese.
Total calories in a chili cheese dog
Now let’s add up the calories for each component to determine the total for a chili cheese dog:
|Hot dog (45g)
|Chili sauce (60g)
|Shredded cheese (1⁄4 cup)
So the total calories in a typical chili cheese dog with bun comes out to around 410 calories.
This is just an estimate, and the actual amount may vary depending on the exact ingredients and portion sizes. But it gives you a general idea of the calorie count.
Ways to reduce calories in a chili cheese dog
While 410 calories isn’t an outrageous amount for main meal, there are ways you can cut back if you want to lighten up your chili cheese dog:
– Use a lower-calorie hot dog – opt for skinless chicken or turkey (50-80 calories) over beef. Or try a veggie dog (50-100 calories).
– Choose a mini or thin bun rather than a regular one. This saves around 50 calories.
– Go easy on high-calorie cheese shreds. Use just 2 tbsp (50 calories) instead of 1⁄4 cup.
– Use less chili sauce. Limit to 2-3 tbsp (30-45 calories).
– Top with low-cal veggies like lettuce, onion or tomato.
– Spritz bun with oil instead of buttering. Saves around 50 calories.
– Mustard has just 5-10 calories per tablespoon, making it ideal for spreading on buns versus mayo at 90 calories.
Making these simple swaps can bring your chili cheese dog down to around 300 calories or less.
Healthier chili cheese dog alternatives
If you want an even healthier take, consider these lower-calorie chili cheese dog alternatives:
– Chili cheese hot dog wrap using a spinach or low-carb tortilla (200-300 calories)
– Chili cheese dog salad with hot dog slices on a bed of lettuce and other veggies (150-250 calories)
– Chili cheese dog nachos with hot dog slices and low-fat shredded cheese (250-350 calories)
– Chili cheese dog pizza with a thin whole wheat crust, light cheese and turkey dog slices (300-400 calories)
– Chili cheese dog baked potatoes with hot dog slices and reduced-fat chili and cheese (350-450 calories)
With some creativity, you can keep the flavors of a chili cheese dog while making it a lighter meal. Just focus on using leaner proteins, lighter toppings and more veggies.
Should you eat chili cheese dogs if you’re trying to lose weight?
Chili cheese dogs can absolutely be part of a weight loss diet when enjoyed in moderation. A 410 calorie chili cheese dog could fit into a daily calorie target, though you’d need to account for it by eating lighter at other meals.
– Make it the main protein in your meal versus adding a side or appetizer
– Balance out the indulgence by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains the rest of the day
– Save it for an occasional treat meal 2-3 times per month rather than weekly
– Opt for a lighter take on it by choosing lower calorie buns, toppings and preparation
– Pay attention to portion sizes and fill up on lower calorie sides like salad
– Avoid additional high-calorie beverages and desserts to help offset the chili cheese dog
One regular chili cheese dog has around 20 grams of fat and 12 grams of saturated fat, so it’s best not to make it an everyday habit. But worked into a healthy diet in moderation, it can absolutely still be on the menu when trying to lose weight.
A typical chili cheese dog with a regular beef hot dog in a bun and standard chili/cheese toppings contains approximately 410 calories. This can vary based on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. There are several ways to reduce the calories by choosing leaner meats, smaller buns, lighter toppings and more vegetables. While not the healthiest option, a chili cheese dog can be incorporated into a weight loss diet in moderation when paired with other nutritious foods and portion controlled. Just enjoy it occasionally as a special treat meal rather than regularly.