How to Make Ramen Healthier

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Substitute ramen noodles for traditional pasta in Italian recipes.

Instant ramen noodles originated in Japan in 1958. Created by an entrepreneur from Osaka for workers with limited lunch breaks, ramen quickly gained a foothold in Japan, according to "Time-Asia." With demand from budget-conscious college students, dieters and families needing quick meal solutions, they soon became an American pantry staple. 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 that come with national brands of ramen add flavor, but they contain 32 percent or more of the adult daily value for sodium, according to Livestrong's My Plate. Using healthy preparation methods and recipes that replace the seasoning packets lets you enjoy ramen without guilt.

Decrease Sodium Content

Step 1

Discard the seasoning packet and add your own herbs and spices.

Step 2

Boil noodles in water seasoned with chopped garlic or in low-sodium or no sodium broth, instead of plain water.

Step 3

Drain hot noodles. Toss them in prepared or homemade marinara sauce. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.

Increase Vitamins and Minerals

Step 1

Cook the noodles in plain water with herbs and garlic or broth.

Step 2

Chop spinach or bok choy and add it to the pot just before the noodles finish cooking to increase the nutritional content.

Step 3

Allow the fresh vegetables to wilt slightly, then serve.

Boost Protein Content

Step 1

Boil noodles in the broth of your choice, drain and cool.

Step 2

Toss the noodles with cooked shrimp, cubed cooked chicken, drained canned tuna or leftover grilled salmon.

Step 3

Mix in chopped scallions, steamed broccoli florets, olive oil and Italian seasoning for a cold pasta salad.

Things You'll Need

  • Chopped garlic

  • Beef or chicken broth

  • Marinara sauce

  • Italian seasoning

  • Parmesan cheese

  • Bok choy or spinach

  • Shrimp, tuna, salmon or chicken

  • Broccoli florets

  • Olive oil

  • Scallions

Tip

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.

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