More and more pantries seem to be filled with ramen noodles these days. Parents and kids alike love them because they are tasty and so simple that most kids can make them in the microwave. Another attraction is that they are cheap -- a 12-pack runs about $3. The problem is that ramen noodles hold no nutritional value to speak of and contribute to childhood obesity. There are some Oriental dishes that make use of ramen noodles but do not use the flavor packets. The noodles themselves offer four grams of protein per serving, which accounts for about 8 percent of the recommended daily value.
Ramen noodles are high in sodium, and too much salt is not good for anyone. The majority of this sodium is from the flavor packet that, stirred into the water in which the noodles are cooked, creates the broth. According to the Mayo Clinic, 77 percent of the sodium that people eat comes from processed foods. There are 1,960 milligrams of sodium in one serving of ramen noodles, which represents 82 percent of the recommended daily requirement of salt.
Ramen noodles are filled with monosodium glutamate, which enhances the flavor. This additive, found only in the flavor packet that comes with the noodles, has prompted some controversy about the healthiness of ramen noodles, especially in terms of the rising obesity epidemic.
Other Nutritional Considerations
Ramen noodles have no cholesterol and no vitamin value. But they do have 12 grams of fat per serving, which accounts for 18 percent of the recommended daily fat intake for a 2,000-calorie diet. They have six grams of saturated fats, for 30 percent of what is advised daily. There are also 54 grams of carbohydrates in a serving, accounting for 18 percent of the recommended intake per day.
Keep in mind that there are two serving sizes in one pack of ramen noodles, meaning you should double all the values. That means the sodium content is off the charts, as are the calorie count and the fat intake. There is also a version of ramen noodles that comes prepackaged and premixed in a microwaveable cup. It is impossible to remove the added flavoring, because it is already mixed in, so these types of ramen noodles should be avoided.
The unhealthy sodium content in ramen noodles, which as noted comes from the flavor packet that makes the soup base, is exacerbated by the fact that some people do not make the noodles in a soup form but add butter to the cooked noodles and sprinkle the flavor packet on the butter-and-noodle mixture. Adding butter worsens problems with fat content and sodium. It is very important that you remember that each package of ramen noodles is a double serving. The best solution is to use only half a package at one time, seasoning with only a small portion of the flavor packet. Ramenlicious provides some healthy recipes that make use of ramen noodles: http://www.ramenlicious.com/recipes/healthy-noodle-recipes.html