All over the world, millions of college students buy dozens of packets of ramen noodles every day. It is the most popular choice for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack alike. It is inexpensive and tastes pretty good, mostly due to the lip-smacking seasoning that comes along with it. Cheap and delicious, ramen noodles are famous all over the world, especially among kids and teenagers. The noodles and broth make it a fun dish, but are ramen noodles a healthy food to consume every day? What are the benefits and side effects of eating ramen noodles? And what are some recipes that can be created out of a simple pack of ramen noodles?
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Benefits and Side Effects of Ramen Noodles for Teens
Benefits of Ramen Noodles
Ramen noodles gets a bad rep for being a dish only consumed by broke college students, but not everything about it is bad. There are some benefits to this popular noodle dish too even though they may not outweigh the cons.
Ramen noodles are one of the most inexpensive things you can buy which can serve as an entire meal. You can usually buy one packet of ramen noodles for as low as 15 or 20 rupees, depending on which brand you prefer. This saves you a lot of money, especially if you need food to fill you up while being short on cash.
Takes negligible time to make
The time it takes to make one piping, hot and delicious bowl of ramen noodles is not more than 3 minutes. Comparatively, making a meal for yourself or even ordering food from outside takes more time. You can put ramen noodles in the microwave and they’ll be done even before you can take a quick shower. So for those occasional days when you’re too tired to cook, ramen noodles can be a perfect solution.
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Can be made healthier
One of the biggest complaints against ramen noodles is that it is extremely unhealthy, due to the high amount of sodium in its seasoning and the general lack of nutritious value in the noodles. This can be easily fixed by swapping out the given seasoning with your own seasoning, adding egg yolk, chicken, radish and other vegetables that provide nutrition to your bowl of ramen noodles.
Side effects of ramen noodles
Even though ramen noodles are cheap and can be delicious to eat and easy to make, we must be aware of its nutritional values. Ramen noodles aren’t the healthiest food to have, and in some cases, can be detrimental to our health, especially when consumed by kids and teenagers. Side effects of ramen noodles are plenty –
The packet of seasoning that can be found inside every pack of ramen noodles contains 860mg to 3000mg of sodium, depending on the brand. The daily recommended intake of sodium is 2000mg for a healthy adult, so eating ramen noodles with the seasoning provided means eating more sodium than your body needs in one single meal which can be extremely harmful to the body.
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Does not aid weight loss
Even though ramen noodles are only 180-200 calories per pack, they do not aid in weight loss at all. They are low in both fibre and protein – two important aspects of weight loss. They are also calorie dense, which means that they do not keep you full for long, and you’ll be hungry soon after polishing off a bowl. Since they’re high in sodium, they also lead to water retention and bloating which doesn’t help when you’re trying to lose weight.
The packet of seasoning, along with sodium, also contains high amounts of monosodium glutamate or msg. While msg is generally considered safe, there have been incidents of several people reporting that they experience side effects from msg that include headaches, nausea, numbness, weakness, chest pain and sweating.
Not just the seasoning packet, the actual noodles are also not good for you. People who eat ramen noodles as little as two times per week are also prone to developing metabolic syndrome which brings with itself symptoms like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Women are far more prone to developing this than men.
Ramen noodles in particular, as well as all instant noodles are made from flour. What makes flour so bad for our health is that it is highly processed and devoid of any nutrition. Ramen noodles provide us with empty calories that may lead to obesity when regularly consumed.
Every packaged food, and ramen noodles in particular, has many preservatives in it. Preservatives take a toll on our digestive processes and may even trigger infections.
Ramen noodles and other processed foods contain saturated fatty acids or trans-fat. These consumed on a regular basis can increase cholesterol level in the blood. Increase in the level of cholesterol in blood may lead to type 2 diabetes or fatal heart diseases.
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Ramen noodles can still be consumed occasionally once or twice a month, if care is taken to make it healthier. One alternative is to stop using the seasoning packet provided with it and instead add our own salt, pepper to it. There are other ways to make it a healthier, occasional meal that can be indulged in sometimes. Some ramen noodle recipes for kids and teenagers to enjoy –
Chicken noodle soup
- In a pot over medium heat, heat some coconut oil. Add onion, bell pepper, and carrots and cook until tender for about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant for 1 minute. And add curry powder and season with salt. Stir until combined.
- Pour coconut milk and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add some shredded chicken and ramen noodles and cook until noodles are al dente.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime, if desired.
- Boil noodles. Save one fourth of cooking water to loosen sauce later, if needed. Drain the noodles and then toss with oil so they don’t stick.
- Heat medium skillet over medium heat and cook bacon pieces until they are brown and crisp.
- Add the noodles to the skillet and coat them with bacon and bacon fat. Turn off the heat.
- Beat eggs with fork and then mix in cheese.
- Pour egg-cheese mixture to skillet and toss it with bacon and noodles.
- Divide between bowls. Garnish with fresh ground pepper and a drizzle of hot sauce as per desire.