Instant ramen, is more like various jokes about starving college students, and not necessarily legend. Thanks to its much more luxurious pedigree, it’s always been a much hipper version of bottom-dollar cuisine than, say, pork and beans or bologna sandwiches. Boil up a bundle of this and at least you can claim to dine on something slightly Asian. Another argument in its favor is the idea that it isn’t only shelf-stable, but all you really need to cook is hot water if you get the type that comes in a Styrofoam cup. (One of the only items you could cook in a dorm room was cup noodles back in the day when hot pots were the only kind of dorm-room cooking appliances you could get away with, not the yummy Chinese restaurant kind, but the inexpensive cooker offered by Walmart kind. Things were rough back in the days.)
“Robin Miller, nutritionist and chef, has some terrible news about this staple poverty pantry, telling Mashed, “Instant ramen can be one of the cheapest foods you can eat, but it is also one of the least healthy.” She says that most forms of ramen have similar properties: salt, palm oil, flour, flavorings, and glutamate.
What’s wrong with instant ramen
Though Miller notes that “at first sight, [instant ramen] tends to be a suitable, low-calorie choice,” she pointed out that “most packets are intended to serve two.” This means that if you eat a whole package, while a single serving may contain about 188 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrate, 7 grams of fat, and 861 milligrams of sodium (a not impossible proposition because they are not all that sizable) Like the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration advises that you should not reach 2,300 mg of sodium a day if you dine on nothing else but fresh fruits and vegetables for the rest of the day, a package of ramen will bring you dangerously close to going over the top. “high salt intake may raise blood pressure and induce other health problems.”
Miller is still not too enthusiastic about the MSG found in most noodle brands’ seasoning packets. While this flavor enhancer agent, once considered to be harmful, is now “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA, Miller is still a little wary of it because, as she tells us, “its possible health effects remain questionable.”
What’s not so bad in it?
Although if you go wild and eat both halves of the ramen box or a whole cupful of styrofoam, it’s not so much of a diet buster yet. After all, a single, simple Taco Bell bean burrito has almost the same calories, but a double portion of ramen would actually do a lot better job of filling your stomach (not to mention with a few dollars cheaper)
In spite of the health advantages of instant ramen, Miller also has some additional positive news, which is to say that it has some (just a few). According to her, “some variations dish up a solid amount of iron, manganese, folate, and B vitamins.” She recommends checking the labels to see which products and flavors, nutrient-wise, beat out the competition, but also says that “you’re probably to get more nutrients from a can of great, vegetable-rich soup” believing that the ramen noodle budget can be expanded to cover anything of “good quality”
How you can give a balanced makeover to your ramen
Miller says that you’d be able to find some fresh and updated (and certainly much more costly) noodle varieties with more protein and nutrients and less fat and sodium when you shop for ramen, assuming that price is not the only item.
Add-ins are another, tastier and maybe even cheaper choice for improving your noodle experience. Miller says, “give your instant ramen a healthy makeover by including protein, fiber, and nutrients,” and recommends you play with vegetables, skinless chicken, and (of course) the incredible edible egg. If you choose to stick with an Asian style or try Cholula or salsa for some fusion ramen, you can even incorporate spices and seasonings – soy and Sriracha.
You’ll also certainly want to taste the Korean-American chef and food truck entrepreneur Roy Choi’s hidden ingredient: sliced cheese! It’s also inexpensive, but it has protein and calcium, and as long as you stop purchasing the disturbingly non-melty (and non-cheesy) Dollar Tree label, it can mix with the noodles to make a bowl of fluffy goodness that is way too sweet for all those types of suit-wearing, prime rib-eating expense account, anyway.