Instant ramen is a staple food for university students. It’s quick, easy, and cheap – three things that young, broke students can all appreciate. However, it’s no secret that they aren’t healthy. They lack many important vitamins and minerals and are chocked full of sodium and preservatives. However, there are ways that you can make your ramen both taste better and make it a little better for you – obviously, they still aren’t super healthy, but if you’re willing to take an extra 10 minutes while making your ramen, it can go a long way. I’ve been putting a little more effort into my ramen lately, and it’s made a huge difference! It’s also still very inexpensive – many of the ingredients that I add into my ramen aren’t super expensive but do wonders for the taste.
1. Make your own broth
As I said earlier, instant noodles are full of sodium, and the soup base packets contribute greatly to this. Because of this, I’ve started throwing them away and making my own broth – not only is it healthier, but it allows you to experiment a lot with different flavours. It’s also super easy – I simply use the broth cubes that you can buy from the grocery store and throw in other things such as green onion, garlic, and sesame oil while it boils.
2. Boil the noodles separately and drain them
Although this doesn’t change the fact that instant ramen contains preservatives to increase its shelf life, it can help limit the amount you consume. Instead of boiling the noodles straight in the broth, I like to microwave them separately and drain them before adding them into the broth. This way, I’m at least getting rid of a little more of the preservatives rather than putting them in my body.
3. Add veggies and protein
This goes a long way for instant ramen. Just plain old noodles have very little sustenance, and not to mention just plain boring. I’ve been experimenting with my ramen lately and adding new things, and it’s the best way to turn a boring, easy meal into something delicious! Here are some of my personal favourite things to add to my ramen:
Kimchi – This is actually what started my endeavour to try new things in my ramen. I started simply by adding just kimchi (a Korean side dish consisting of fermented cabbage and other veggies) for a little bit more flavour, and I ended up loving it. I find that kimchi adds a great flavour to ramen if you’re looking to spice things up.
Egg – Protein is important for the body and adding eggs into your ramen is quick and easy. It also adds taste to the ramen – and this is coming from someone that hasn’t bought eggs for myself in years! There are so many ways you can eat eggs in your ramen (I personally have mastered my sunny-side-ups to place on top), and you can keep trying different things until you find your favourite.
A variety of vegetables – You can add pretty much any vegetables you want into your ramen, and that’s what makes it great! I have been enjoying veggies such as mushrooms and bok choy in my own ramen, and it’s super easy to throw a handful of frozen vegetables into the broth while it’s boiling. Don’t be afraid to try different things when it comes to making your ramen, because basically, everything goes!
Sure, instant ramen is quick and low-effort, but if you’re willing to put in an extra 10-20 minutes of work while you’re cooking, it can go a long way! So, go out and try new things until you find what you like!