Cheap and Healthy Ramen Noodle Makeover

You can improve the nutrition of cheap ramen noodles.
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You probably know all about ramen noodles. I'm not talking about the authentic and delicious ramen you get in Japanese restaurants -- I'm talking about the cheap grocery store ramen -- those little bags or cups of dried noodles with soup-flavored powders.

College kids love them -- they're cheap and easy to prepare. Just add hot water and in about three minutes you have a meal. The problem is they're high in fat and sodium and not nutritious.

But if you love ramen noodles -- here's how to make them healthier.

Take a look at the label. Notice the package says there are two servings per package. This means that half of your package of ramen noodles will provide you with 195 calories, four grams of protein, 28 grams of carbohydrates, one gram of fiber, over seven grams total fat and 3 grams saturated fat. One serving of ramen noodles also has about 500 milligrams sodium.

Prepare your noodles by cooking one package of chicken flavor ramen noodles until soft in three cups of water. Add the flavor packet. Add one cup of chopped or cubed cooked chicken breast meat. Add one cup of your favorite frozen vegetable mixes such as peas, carrots, and onions. Stir until vegetables are heated thoroughly. This ramen dish will now serve four people.

The addition of the chicken and vegetables adds vitamins and protein without adding much fat. Each serving still has close to 200 calories, but now each serving has 4.5 grams of fat and less than two grams of saturated fat.

We also have about 2.5 grams of fiber, lots of vitamin A, lutein and B vitamins.

We've done well so far. Let's round out this meal with a nice small garden salad with olive oil and vinegar or walnut oil. Now we have added some healthy fats and more vitamins, minerals, and fiber.


  1. Adding vegetables and lean meats adds volume to the ramen noodles. This increases the number of serving sizes and reduces the impact of the bad fats in the ramen noodles.
  1. Be creative. Add shrimp or cooked fish for healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids. Enhance the flavor with sesame oil, mushrooms, bean sprouts, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots.
  2. If you want to cut back the sodium, you can reduce the amount of powder from the flavoring pack. Add flavor with garlic, pepper or your favorite herbs.
  3. If you prefer the styrofoam cups of ramen noodles, remember that each cup is two servings. Prepare your cup of noodles with hot water and pour the noodles over cooked vegetables and meat. Remember this would be equal to about four servings.

What You Need

  • Package of Ramen noodles
  • Cooking pot
  • Frozen mixed vegetables
  • Cooked chicken, lean meat or shrimp

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