Instant noodles may be a global culinary phenomenon, long associated with quick, tasty, and affordable meals. However, their health implications often spark debate among consumers and nutritionists alike. We aim to explore and clarify just how healthy instant noodles are, debunking common myths and uncovering the facts.
Nutritional Profile: How many calories are in instant noodles and what's the nutritional values?
The calorie content of a pack of instant noodles can vary significantly depending on the brand, pack size, and flavour so make sure you read the label carefully.
On average, a standard packet of Asian instant noodles contains between 350 to 500 calories. It's important to consider the seasoning packets and any additional toppings you add as these can increase the overall calorie count.
Here are the nutritional values for one packet of Nongshim Shin Ramyun Instant Noodles 120g:
Calories: 506 kcal (25% of recommended daily value)
Fat: 16g (22% of recommended daily value)
Carbohydrate: 82g (31% of recommended daily value)
Protein: 9.8g (20% of recommended daily value)
Salt: 4.6g (76% of recommended daily value)
It's crucial to understand these values to make informed choices about instant noodle consumption.
The Health Debate: Are instant noodles healthy or unhealthy?
As with many other food items, and when you consider their nutritional values, instant noodles should be consumed in moderation, especially for those watching their calorie, carbohydrate, and sodium intake.
However, there are numerous ways to make your instant noodles healthier. Balancing instant noodles with other nutritious foods can help mitigate potential health risks. Add protein and vegetables to your noodles to include a wider array of nutrients in your meals, or alternatively, go for healthier instant noodle varieties.
This may mean opting for wholegrain, low-salt and carb alternatives, as well as those made using techniques like natural drying, which is healthier than frying, for preservation.
The Rise Of Healthier Varieties: Are there any healthy instant noodles?
In response to health-conscious consumers, the market has seen an increase in healthier varieties of instant noodles. These include wholegrain, low-salt or low-carb alternatives, or those made using techniques like natural drying, as opposed to traditional frying methods, for a healthier preservation process. Such innovations offer a more nutritious alternative to standard instant noodles, catering to those seeking a healthier lifestyle without sacrificing convenience.
Customisation: How to make instant noodles healthy?
Making Asian instant noodles healthier is all about making a few small adjustments.
- Add Fresh Vegetables: Toss in your favourite vegetables such as spinach, peppers, or carrots for added nutrients.
- Include Protein: Extra protein such as chicken, tofu, or boiled eggs can make your meal more filling and nutritious.
- Opt For Whole Grain Options: Some instant noodle brands offer whole grain or lower-carb noodles. We personally enjoy konjac noodles when trying to eat healthily.
- Moderate Seasoning: Use less of the provided seasoning to reduce sodium and salt intake, or substitute with natural spices.
Healthy Brands: Are there any healthier brands of instant noodles?
Below are a few instant noodle brands that we have tried which are focused on a healthier experience.
KiKi instant noodles from Taiwan stand out from the pack. They are handmade purely from flour and water thus eliminating the need for additives. What's more, natural sunlight is used for drying and preservation ditching the use of salt as a preserver. These popular dry-stirred noodles, which are amongst our personal favourites, include the fragrant and spicy Szechuan Pepper and the wonderfully flavoured Aromatic Scallion with a hint of sesame oil.
For the health-conscious noodle-lover, immi ramen is 100% plant-based, low-carb and keto-friendly. Best of all, you can slurp it down guilt-free! immi ramen was founded to create a more nutritious version of ramen without compromising on its delicious rich umami flavour. immi ramen comes in three yummy flavours including spicy ‘beef’, black garlic ‘chicken’ and tom yum 'shrimp’.
Instant noodles, often viewed as a quick-fix solution, can be part of a healthy diet when consumed with moderation and making a few small adjustments. By understanding their nutritional content and exploring healthier alternatives, consumers can definitely enjoy instant noodles without compromising on their health goals.