When you’re looking for a hot, satisfying meal, it’s tough to do better than a tasty bowl of ramen. Sink your teeth into a mouthful of bouncy, springy noodles, and it can feel like you’re back in your college dorm room, hanging out late with your friends. Not only that, but it’s one of the easiest foods on the planet to prepare.
Then again, instant ramen typically isn’t known as a high-quality food. At best, it’s something you eat when you’re desperate, or when you’re in a hurry. Whatever it is, it’s anything but healthy.
But instant ramen doesn’t have to be a low-quality junk food. When it’s made the right way, it can be every bit as delicious and wholesome as anything you buy from a ramen bar. Mike’s Mighty Good strives to meet that standard. But how does it actually compare to your typical instant ramen? Let’s take a closer look and find out!
To begin our comparison, let’s talk about the basic nutritional content of Mike’s Mighty Good versus some of the other leading brands. Specifically, we’ll compare the contents of one cup of Mike’s chicken ramen with the comparable offerings from three of the leading brands: Nongshim, Maruchan, and Nissin.
One cup of Mike’s Mighty Good chicken flavor ramen contains a total of 210 calories. There are 31 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fat, including 1 gram of saturated fat, and 8 grams of protein. In terms of vitamins and minerals, the label shows 2% of your daily value of iron, 4% of your daily value of potassium, and a negligible amount of calcium.
Moving on to the Nongshim cup, we see 360 calories. This includes 47 grams of carbohydrates, 16 grams of fat, including 8 grams of saturated fat, and only 6 grams of protein. You’ll get 15% of your daily value of iron, and 2% of your recommended daily calcium intake. Unfortunately, you also get a whopping 1,310mg of sodium.
With the Maruchan noodles, you’ll get 290 calories and 39 grams of carbohydrates. There are 12 grams of fat, with 6 of those being saturated fat, as well as 6 grams of protein. You’ll also get 15% of your daily value of iron, and 2% of your recommended potassium. This comes with 1,180mg of sodium, more than half of your daily value.
The Nissin chicken noodle cup also has 290 calories, but with 41 grams of carbs. There are only 11 grams of fat, but 6 of those are saturated fat. You’ll get 6 grams of protein, plus 15% of your daily iron and 6% of your daily calcium. The sodium content comes out to 1,160mg.
As you can see, Mike’s Mighty Good has less carbs, less fat, less saturated fat, and more protein than these leading brands. The vitamin and mineral content is similar. However, Mike’s contains significantly less sodium. Let’s talk more about that.
Before we talk more about sodium, we should recognize that it’s not the bogeyman many people make it out to be. Along with calcium and magnesium, it’s one of the necessary electrolytes, without which your body cannot function.
But there’s an old saying that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Just as not getting enough sodium can be bad for your health, so can getting too much; and the average American diet contains way too much sodium. Most of this excess salt comes from packaged meals and other processed foods. In fact, the FDA recently sent a notice to food manufacturers, asking them to voluntarily reduce the amount of sodium in their recipes.
Unfortunately, instant ramen can be one of the worst offenders. As we pointed out above, all three of the major brands we looked at have more than half your daily value of sodium – in one serving! Unless you’re going to great lengths to cut salt out of your other meals, you’ll inevitably eat to much. Leaving aside the potential long-term health effects, your body will retain more water in the short term. This can make you feel bloated, and you’ll gain water weight.
This isn’t only a health concern. More often than not, manufacturers use extreme amounts of salt to cover up for the low quality of their other ingredients. They’ll skimp on herbs and spices, and make up for the bland flavor by adding more salt.
Mike’s Mighty Good uses a high-quality blend of seasonings to provide you with a rich, layered flavor that tastes like you’re eating at a restaurant. It also contains 40% less sodium than the leading commercial brands. Here are some ways to enjoy lower sodium ramen without sacrificing flavor.
Rich, Delicious Broth
One of the things that sets Mike’s Mighty Good apart from other brands is the quality of the broth. A lot of instant ramen recipes use cheap ingredients in their flavoring packet, and it shows. In the best case scenario, this means a lot of artificial flavor. In the worst case scenario, it’s simply overloaded with salt. Either way, you’ll be left feeling disappointed, as if an old friend had let you down.
This is unfortunate, because ramen doesn’t have to be bland and unsatisfying. If you get ramen in a restaurant, you’ll find that it has a rich, complex flavor. It tastes like real broth, not like something you got out of a packet.
Our flavor packets provide a similar kind of experience. They’re made from a rich bend of spices and flavoring that combines to create a broth as rich and flavorful as what you’d find at a ramen bar. If you fed it to your friends in a taste test, they’d swear it wasn’t instant.
If you’re at all health-conscious, you probably try to steer clear of artificial preservatives. Commercial ramens are full of these, usually a chemical called TBHQ. This alone can be concerning, but it’s hardly the only thing you should be watching out for. A lot of major ramen brands use artificial flavoring and colors. These can make the food tastier and more attractive, but it’s a lazy shortcut to providing a satisfying experience.
Mike’s ramen noodles, on the other hand, are made with organic wheat, salt, and water. Pair those noodles with our high-quality flavor packets, and you’re getting a meal that might as well have been homemade.
Steamed Noodles, Not Fried
You also need to think about the cooking process. Cheap ramen packets are flash fried in oil, which can put off flavors into your bowl. Not only that, but it’s a bunch of fat that you don’t really need in your diet. Mike’s noodles are steamed, just like traditional noodles at a ramen bar. This doesn’t just give you a healthier bowl; it also provides a bouncy texture that you won’t get from cheap fried noodles.
If you want the healthiest bowl of ramen possible, you’ll want to follow some guidelines. Here are a few pointers:
- Read the nutrition label. We did this earlier when we compared Mike’s Mighty Good with some of the other leading brands. Whatever brands you’re shopping, look for preservatives, MSG, and weird, unpronounceable ingredients. If anything looks sketchy, it most likely is.
- Stick with steamed noodles. Flash fried noodles are cheaper, but you’re not getting the healthiest option. You’re getting a bunch of excess fat, as well as a disappointing texture.
- Don’t add salt. Even lower-sodium noodles like Mike’s have plenty of salt already. If you need to add more flavor, try adding hot sauce, or extra herbs and spices.
- Throw in some veggies. At the end of the day, a cup of ramen noodles is just noodles, broth, and flavoring. It’s a satisfying snack, but it’s not exactly a complete, balanced meal. Thankfully, you can add as many veggies as you like. Throw in onions and garlic for flavor, add cabbage or bok choy for texture, or enjoy the satisfying crunch of broccoli along with your noodles. Your meal will be more filling, and you’ll be getting more vitamins and minerals.
- Don’t forget your protein. If you’re counting on your ramen to give you energy for a long day, you’ll want more than just carbs. Add some eggs, beef, chicken, pork, or shrimp to your bowl. If you’re vegan, throw in some fried tofu instead. This will give your body the fuel it needs to get through the day.
Mike’s Mighty Good – A Superior Bowl of Ramen
No matter how you cut it, there’s a big difference between your average grocery store ramen and the high-quality cups from Mike’s Mighty Good. With high-quality seasonings and simple, straightforward ingredients, you know you’re getting a high-quality snack. Throw in some of your favorite toppings, and you’ll have a meal that’s as nutritious as anything you make from scratch.
Want recipe inspiration? Here are 15 healthy ramen recipes you're sure to crave.
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