This article was last updated on April 21, 2017
It’s that time of year again.
The time when college students flock back to campus, ready to ace their tests, reunite with friends, and feast on the infamously unhealthy Ramen Noodles. Unfortunately, the beloved college food was the subject of a recent health study, which linked it to series health issues.
Even more disheartening? These issues were gender specific. Women who ate the noodles at least twice per week saw a 68 percent increase in their risk of cardiometabolic syndrome, while men saw no notable difference in their risk. But with all-nighters and deadlines looming, it’s not easy to toss the prepackaged delicacy into the trash for good. So what’s a busy college kid to do?
Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition for UPMC Sports Medicine, commented on the story and assured students that it doesn’t take much effort to make Ramen healthier. So next time late-night hunger strikes, try these simple steps to save your wallet and your health:
1. Ditch the Seasoning
The sky-high sodium content is the biggest health issue, so try adding flavor another way! Use water or broth and flavor it with garlic, ginger, herbs, chili, or sesame oil.
2. Add Veggies
If you live on campus, grab some vegetables from the salad bar to use in your Ramen. Otherwise, break out the frozen veggies to give your noodles an extra kick of nutrients!
3. Pack in the Protein
Chicken, shrimp, tuna, tofu, grilled salmon, eggs … the list goes on! Any protein you choose will make your Ramen healthier and keep you feeling full longer than Ramen alone.
4. Use your Leftovers
Have extra food from last night’s dinner? Combine it with Ramen noodles (sans seasoning) for a delicious reworking that makes you forget you’re eating leftovers.
5. Go Dry
Cook the noodles, drain, and lightly toss in your favorite dressing or sauce! Think low-sodium soy sauce, Italian dressing, vinaigrette, or teriyaki sauce.
6. Get Creative
There are dozens (if not hundreds) of Ramen recipes for you to try. There are even Ramen Noodle cookbooks! So don’t settle for boring noodles, spice it up with a creative recipe.
Eating habits tend to change when entering college, as campus life warrants an active and hectic lifestyle. Quick, convenient, and unhealthy meals often take center stage, landing healthy eating and cooking in the bleachers. When you’re looking to get creative with regular old Ramen, check out some of our health hacks. Think of it as teaching an old dog new tricks, but this time you’re the dog and the tricks are noodles. Bring your dorm room dining to a new level while also becoming more conscious of the ingredients your putting in your body!