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Anoka, Minnesota

2006 N 1st Ave Ste 205 , Anoka, MN 55303

(763) 786-1000

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Seniors Love Summertime Hot Dogs and Picnics!


With our summer warmth upon us and more grills being pulled out of storage, there seems to be no better time to enjoy a nice juicy hot dog at a picnic.  We thought it might be fun to explore some of the histories of picnics and hot dogs as we all get together for a feast.  


Hot Dogs

Of course, you don’t need a picnic to enjoy a hot dog.  My thoughts go toward baseball games when I think of delightful Ball Park Franks–” they plump when you cook ‘em”.  Our Minnesota novelty, the Dome Dog, or a foot-long hot dog at a Saints game!  Chicago Cubs fans may have the best-known hotdogs in baseball, but every team sure is chasing that title!    


The Boomstick in honor of slugger Nelson Cruz is a Minnesota Hot Dog Classic

When we think of picnics we probably think of more traditional hot dogs.  There is no strong evidence to show when or where hot dogs originated, but the likely story is that they came into America via immigrants. People believe that sausage makers from Vienna, Austria, and Frankfurt, Germany — where the terms ‘wiener’ and ‘frankfurter’ originated respectively — brought this wonderful cuisine to the U.S.   If you’re wondering who makes the majority of the hot dogs in the US it is Ball Park Franks followed closely by Oscar Meyer (you probably know that jingle too).  Sales slogans aside, Armour was 7th and I know what kind of kids eat it–beef hot dogs are number one in popularity over pork.  

Healthier Hot Dogs


Many clients and families need to be health conscious when they start thinking of hot dogs and picnics.  Hot Dogs typically contain about 150 to 180 calories per link. Where it gets really ugly is counting the fat and sodium. One link has (on average) 14 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, and 600 milligrams of sodium, or nearly 25 percent of the daily limit.  If you look in the supermarket you can probably find alternatives like Applegate.  These tasty hot dogs are free of nitrates and have only 110 calories and 9 grams of fat per serving. Organic versions are also available and Applegate uses 100% grass-fed beef and zero antibiotics in all their products.  Target and Walmart sell Applegate and their uncured beef hot dog is 4.5 stars rated by Target customers.  There are many other healthy brands in the stores–in fact, store hot dog brands come in 5th highest in the hot dog rating war!  


Perhaps you’re wondering about the history of the first picnic.  Again who knows but the origin of the word is French–picque-nique–and was a social gathering primarily among the aristocracy in the 17th century.  Luckily this type of gathering became more rate and certainly moved to the United States.  According to history In November 1621, after the Pilgrims' first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony's Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit to feast.  Many of us learned in history class this was the first thanksgiving.  Doubtful they had hot dogs.  The origin of the first National Picnic month appears to be the National Bakers Association in 1952.  The longest picnic table appears to be the French with a 600-mile-long picnic on Bastille Day in 2000.  Apparently, picnics are still the rage!


Planning a picnic with seniors can be great fun.  It can bring back fond memories of family get-togethers in the past.  Many seniors have mobility issues so picking the location can really improve the event. For example, if a senior uses a walking cane, but is still steady enough on their feet, a park with a grassy field can work perfectly. However, if a senior is wheelchair-bound, it would be best to look for a location with paved paths or walkways.  Another consideration is the sun.  Look around and see if there is adequate shade nearby to get out of the hot sun.  Bathrooms or Porta-Potties that support wheelchair or handicap use are suitable to locate as well.  


Food can be a wonderful way to enjoy an afternoon picnic together.  Ask the senior guests for their suggestions so they can be involved in the planning.  This can add a sense of accomplishment to an already exciting day! It doesn’t have to be a big feast, sandwiches, and chips might be all you need.  One other thing to consider is dietary restrictions to make sure everyone has something enjoyable to eat.  Paper plates, napkins, and cups can keep the cleanup simple and keep the party going longer.   


Keep the games simple too!  A deck of cards and a game board can go a long way on a warm sunny day.  By setting things up to be simple and fun you can keep the stress out of the day and simply enjoy each other more.  


If you’re looking for a place to go here are some great ideas.  Everyone take hold of your favorite senior citizen and get out there and picnic!  


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