How Bad Are Cup Noodles?

Cup noodles, also known as instant noodles, are made by simply adding boiling water to dried noodles that are packaged in a cup or packet. They’re popular for a quick convenient portable meal. Although it’s easy to make instant noodles, are cups of noodles healthy?

Noodles are unhealthy due to the high levels of fats, carbohydrates, and preservatives they contain; a small serving of Mama noodles has only 5g protein, 11g fat, and 37g carbohydrates.

Due to the high levels of fat and carbohydrates and the low levels of protein, this macronutrient profile is very out of balance, making it very easy to overeat while feeling less satisfied. Beyond causing weight gain, preservatives also have negative health effects on the body.

Calories and Nutrition Facts

The smallest serving size of Mama Chicken Noodles has 310 calories, 5 grams of protein, 11 grams of fat, and 37 grams of carbohydrates.

Furthermore, it contains flavor enhancers and preservatives with questionable health effects, has 1460 mg of sodium, only 2 grams of fiber, and other ingredients.

Mama Noodles Nutrition Label

Why it’s unhealthy

Let’s look closely at the components of the dish and any other ingredients we should be aware of.

  • High Fats and Carbs – The noodles are an inevitable component of the dish no doubt. But in order to preserve them, the noodles are fried with preservatives added. Not only are the noodles adding to the high carb intake, but also add a high amount of fats in order to be preserved.
  • Low Protein Content – It’s known that a high protein diet is the key to sustaining a satiating weight loss diet. Here, there is only 5 grams of protein which is much lower than the recommended amount per meal.
  • High Sodium – This cup noodle has 1460 mg, which is more than half of the daily recommended intake for sodium. This is largely from the seasoning packet of the noodles.
  • MSG – An ingredient used as a flavor enhancer. ALthough its not necessarily harmful, this plus the high sodium content can result in strong dehydration.
  • TBHQ – A preservative used to extend shelf life of foods. This is found in the oil used to fry the noodles. While the FDA has not found evidence that it is harmful, research has linked TBHQ to be associated with many health problems when consumed in large quantities.
  • How To Make It Healthy

    I used the following techniques to make my cup noodles more nutrient-dense and macro-friendly in order to make them healthier.

  • Add Veggies – Instant noodles lack fiber and various nutrients. Adding veggies is a great way to add those in with relatively low calories
  • Add Protein – Adding in some lean protein, such as chicken thigh, and eggs is a great way to add some protein content to the dish. I added 2 chicken drumsticks.
  • Use less noodles – I used half of the noodles, making it about 150 calories of noodles. This is more than enough carbs, as the additional protein and veggies will be much more filling and nutritious.
  • Use less of the flavor packet or use your own stock – The lessen the intake of sodium, msg and other preservatives, use less of the flavor packet. Or better yet, use your own favorite chicken stock.
  • Refer to the table below for a thorough explanation of each ingredient, their portioning, and how they contribute to the nutrition profile of my healthy mama noodle:

    How Bad Are Cup Noodles?

    Mama Noodles – I used Mama cup noodles

    Veggies – A great way to complete the dish (I used scallions, carrots, onions, and spinach)

    Use less of the sauce packet and boil with water or use more stock overall if you prefer.

    I used two chicken legs, marinated in a soy-garlic sauce, so that there would be enough protein.

    Soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, lemongrass, brown sugar, and marinade

    How Bad Are Cup Noodles?

    Step by Step Instructions

    Chicken should be marinated. Combine the ingredients for the marinade, then add the drumsticks. Let marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight.

    Drumsticks should be baked in a preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Prepare the vegetables and aromatics: Begin by chopping the garlic and onions. To ensure that the aromatics are cooked evenly, mince them until they are small pieces. Cut the carrots, scallions, and mushrooms as well.

    Cook the noodles: Heat up a pot of water to a boil, then add the noodles and any accompanying sauce packets. Cook for about 3 minutes. Utilizing a scale, thoroughly drain the noodles while reserving some of the broth. Then remove half of the weight.

    Cook the vegetables: Spray cooking spray in a skillet and cook the carrots, onions, and garlic. Sauté the veggies until they have softened, about 3-5 minutes.

    Add the noodles and combine with the chicken and vegetables.

    Add the scallions, then garnish and serve the mouthwatering cup noodles.

    How Bad Are Cup Noodles?

    Yes, a cup of noodles can make you fat due to its high fat, carb, and protein contents. Because fats and carbohydrates don’t build muscle and are less satiating than protein, it’s very easy to overeat.

    Since the majority of the noodles in a cup are made from carbs and are deep-fried to preserve and store dry, they are high in calories.

    Expert Tips

    Add an egg. Everyone is aware that adding an egg to ramen transforms the dish’s texture. Try it out and see for yourself!.

    Overnight marinating the chicken will allow the flavor to fully ripen in the meat.

    Substitutions and Variations

    Use other proteins – Shrimps and other seafood, as well as other chicken cuts, would make delicious lean protein options. Add an egg to make it even more delicious!

    Use different cup noodles; I used Mama’s, but you can use any brand. Popular brands include Shin ramen, Top Ramen, and Maruchan.

    Healthy Instant Noodle Recipe

  • ½ Mama Noodles
  • Spinach
  • ½ Carrot
  • ¼ Yellow onion
  • 1-2 Mushrooms (Sliced)
  • Scallions
  • 1 cup Water or Stock of choice
  • 4 oz Chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Fish sauce
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • Mix the marinade ingredients together and add the drumsticks into the marinade. Let marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F and bake the chicken drumsticks for 30-40 minutes.
  • Start by mincing the garlic and onions. Mince until they are small pieces so that the aromatics get cooked evenly. Cut the carrots, scallions, and mushrooms as well.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and add in the noodles and cook for about 3 minutes with the sauce packet or broth. Drain the noodles thoroughly while reserving some broth and use a scale to weigh the noodles. Then remove half of the weight.
  • In a skillet, spray cooking spray and cook carrots, onions, and garlic. Sauté the veggies until they have softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Mix the noodles in with the veggies and chicken
  • Add the scallions and enjoy your delicious cup noodles!
  • FAQ

    How unhealthy is a cup of noodles?

    The majority of instant noodles are low in calories but high in protein and fiber. They are also infamous for having high sodium, fat, and carbohydrate content. Instant noodles do contain some micronutrients, but they don’t contain essential vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B12, and others.

    Is Cup A noodles healthy?

    Noodles are unhealthy due to the high levels of fats, carbohydrates, and preservatives they contain; a small serving of Mama noodles has only 5g protein, 11g fat, and 37g carbohydrates.

    Is Cup noodles bad for weight loss?

    Instant noodles are high in fat, carbohydrates, and sodium and low in protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. They might not be the best option for people trying to lose weight because they can lead to weight gain and an increase in belly fat.

    How unhealthy is instant ramen?

    Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health discovered in 2014 that women who consumed instant ramen noodles at least twice per week had a 68 percent higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that include high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, as well as obesity and other conditions that increase the risk of developing chronic diseases.