Make your instant noodles healthier

Tips to help you make the most of those times when instant noodles feel like the only option.

You are now a working professional. Congratulations! However, sometimes you find yourself with no time to cook a meal after a work day. Then you spot this packet of instant noodles on your kitchen counter. How can you make them into a healthier meal? Michigan State University Extension provides the following tips to help you make the most of those times when instant noodles feel like the only option.

Simple add-in condiments

Discard those little packets that come with the instant noodles, most of the level of sodium in those tiny packets alone has exceeded the sodium recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for American 2015-2020. Instead, add in some seasoning and condiments that require no extra cooking. Examples include sesame oil, miso paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, Thai curry paste and Japanese curry powder. Keep in mind that simple is the rule because a bowl of soup with overwhelming flavors might not make for a tastier meal. Also, keep in mind the sodium content of the condiments you choose.

Add in colors

A bowl of pure starch can be boring. Try making it colorful! Instead of using the dried vegetable packet, stir in some fresh vegetables like bak choy, lettuce and carrot. Vegetables can provide you with essential nutrients such as potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Protein of your choice

To make instant noodles more healthful, you can also cook-up some protein of your choice. You can add an egg to the noodle soup or choose a hard-boiled egg (sliced in half), poached egg or even a fried egg. If egg is not your cup of tea, you can try adding in some sliced lean pork or beef. To add extra flavor to the meat, you can quickly sauté it with some salt and pepper or soy sauce before adding them to the soup.

Stir-fried noodles

Not in the mood for a bowl of hot noodle soup? Try stir-frying the noodles instead. In boiling water, cook the noodles until they are separated or soft then remove and dry them on a plate. Stir fry the noodles in a heated pan with some vegetable oil. Add in chopped vegetables and some sliced meat or Tofu. At the end, spice it up with salt and pepper, soy sauce, or even chili pepper flakes.

When cooking, be mindful of the amount of salt and sugar that you add to your meal. Michigan State University Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families, and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating and food safety. 

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