Ramen noodles are delicious, but let’s face it; your typical instant ramen isn’t exactly known as a health food. It’s often packed with artificial ingredients, tons of sodium, and the noodles are fried before they’re packaged - oof. If you’re at all concerned about your health, you’re probably looking for a healthy ramen noodle alternative.
At Mike’s Mighty Good, we pride ourselves on our steamed, not fried organic ramen noodles and ridiculously rich broths made with simple ingredients. We also know a thing or two about creating delicious, nutritious ramen recipes. Here’s everything you need to know.
Mike’s Mighty Good – Steamed Noodles, Not Fried
Want to find a healthier alternative to typical instant ramen? It’s all in the noodles, honey! Most big corporate ramen manufacturers fry their noodles in palm oil. Oil cooks food faster than water, so it takes only a few seconds to prepare a batch of noodles.
The big brands use this method because it’s cheap and makes the noodles cook quickly, not because it’s great for your health. All that oil in fried noodles in turn makes your ramen packed with oil. That makes it hard to appreciate the nuance and flavor of your broth and can also lead to bloating.
At Mike’s Mighty Good, we do things a different way. We don’t fry our ramen - ever. Instead, we literally mix, steam, and dry our ramen from scratch in-house each day. This process of steaming our ramen and making it from scratch takes longer than frying, and it costs a little bit more. But we do it because it gives you really really exceptional quality and the perfect bite to your noodles. It also means that when you’re eating your ramen you actually get to taste the richness and spice of the broth instead of just salt and oil.
To find a healthy ramen noodles alternative, you also want to look at the ingredients list. Are the ingredients simple, or is there a bunch of stuff you can’t pronounce?
To begin with, a lot of ramen manufacturers use a preservative called TBHQ. It’s worth noting that TBHQ is FDA-approved for this use, but some people still have concerns. TBHQ, though, can sometimes trigger some people’s allergies and other food sensitivities.
Mike’s Mighty Good doesn’t use TBHQ in our ramen. Our broths are made with simple, recognizable ingredients and have a ridiculously rich, decadent flavor without all the weird stuff.
Sodium is an odd beast. On the one hand, it’s an important electrolyte. Like calcium and magnesium, you can literally die from a sodium deficiency. So even if you could eat a zero-sodium diet, it wouldn’t be wise.
On the other hand, our modern diets contain way too much sodium. When humans first evolved, there were no salt mines. It was tough to get sodium in your diet, so our ancestors evolved to enjoy salty foods. Salt also acts as a preservative, and has been used for storing food since ancient times.
In other words, people like salty foods, and salty foods have a longer shelf life. So manufacturers tend to include a lot of salt in their pre-packaged foods. In fact, the FDA has recently asked food manufacturers to voluntarily cut down on salt.
Sadly, commercial instant ramen is typically one of the saltiest foods on earth. Some even have more than your daily recommended amount in a single cup! This amount of salt can leave you bloated and just generally not feeling so great.
Mike’s Mighty Good ramen contains roughly 40% less sodium than the leading instant ramen brand.. Instead of packing a bunch of salt into our ramen, we invest in a high-quality blend of herbs and spices. This creates a rich, complex flavor that tastes like something you’d eat at a restaurant.
How to Build a Healthy Ramen Bowl
As you can see, Mike’s Mighty Good noodles are a cut above the average grocery store ramen. But at the end of the day, it’s just broth and noodles. It’s great if you need a quick snack or meal. But, ya know, sometimes you want to get a bit fancy. If that’s you right now, then we’ve got ya covered.
We’ve listed several recipes in our blog. However, if you want to improvise, there’s an almost endless number of combinations. Let’s talk about what goes into a healthier bowl of ramen.
Add Some Veggies
So, you’ve done the smart thing and bought some steamed ramen noodles. What do you put on top of them? The first thing you’ll want to add are some vegetables. For one thing, you need the vitamins. For another thing, most vegetables are packed with fiber, which is essential for digestive health. Combine multiple vegetables, and you’ll get a richer combination of nutrients.
What vegetables can you add? It would be easier to list the vegetables you can’t add. Ramen is pretty flexible. Like pizza, you can put pretty much anything on it. Rummage around in your fridge and see what you have lying around. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Napa Cabbage
- Bok Choy
- Green Onions
- Shiitake Mushrooms
Toss in Some Protein
Beyond the vegetables, you’re probably going to want some protein. For one thing, your body burns through carbs fairly quickly. Then, you experience the dreaded carb crash. Protein, on the other hand, is longer-lasting. Your body burns through it slowly throughout the day, so you stay energized for longer.
For another thing, your body can’t survive without protein. You can technically live without eating any carbohydrates or fats. It’s not a good idea, but it can be done. Without protein, however, your body can’t repair itself. With that in mind, consider adding one of the following to your ramen:
Use More Spices and Less Salt
We’ve already discussed Mike’s Mighty Good, and how we use 40% less sodium than other brands. But no matter how tasty a flavor pack is, there’s a limited number of options, at least compared to the endless number of possible spice combinations.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you add your own bit of spice and extra umami on top of your ramen:
- Red pepper
- Garlic powder
- Curry powder
- Chili oil
- Sesame seeds
- Onion powder
As you can see, there are better alternatives to fried ramen noodles. Mike’s Mighty Good noodles are steamed, so you’re not eating a bunch of unnecessary oils. We also use simple ingredients, with a real blend of spices instead of salt and artificial flavorings.
But why stop with steamed, organic noodles? If you want a well-rounded, healthy meal, add some vegetables and proteins. With a good selection of toppings, you won’t just be getting energy. You’ll get the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need to power through your day.