Instant ramen noodles originated in Japan in 1958 for workers with limited lunch breaks. Demand from budget-conscious college students, dieters, and families needing quick meal solutions has turned ramen into American pantry staple.
While each serving of these cheap, quick noodles provides 10 percent of the adult protein requirement and 8 percent of the carbohydrate daily value, the seasoning packets can contain more than 32 percent or more of the adult daily value for sodium.
Using healthy preparation methods and recipes that replace the seasoning packets lets you enjoy ramen without guilt.
Decrease Sodium Content
– Boil noodles in water seasoned with chopped garlic or in low-sodium or no sodium broth, instead of plain water.
– Drain hot noodles. Toss them in prepared or homemade marinara sauce. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.
Increase Vitamins and Minerals
– Cook the noodles in plain water with herbs and garlic or broth.
– Chop spinach or bok choy and add it to the pot just before the noodles finish cooking to increase the nutritional content.
– Allow the fresh vegetables to wilt slightly, then serve.
Boost Protein Content
– Boil noodles in the broth of your choice, drain and cool.
– Toss the noodles with cooked shrimp, cubed cooked chicken, drained canned tuna or leftover grilled salmon.
– Mix in chopped scallions, steamed broccoli florets, olive oil and Italian seasoning for a cold pasta salad.
– Use canned or frozen mixed vegetables instead of fresh if necessary.
– Let canned and frozen vegetables cook only long enough to reach serving temperature.
– Low-calorie Italian dressing, vinaigrettes and ginger dressings can replace olive oil in cold salads without increasing the fat and sodium content of your dish.
– Try tamari sauce, teriyaki sauce or low-sodium soy sauce to keep the sodium content reasonable.