Monday, May 25, 2009

Healthy Ramen Noodles? The Making of a New Addiction

Ramen: it’s cheap, quick, and full of flavor, making it a popular choice with the student and frugal shopper crowds. Yet this curly fried wonder is also loaded with fat: 7 grams in the tiny package I consulted. And it’s laced with MSG--unless, like me, you throw away the seasoning packet and eat the noodles dry and crunchy.

Because they are so unhealthy, I seldom buy ramen noodles anymore. Economizing is good, but there’s a balance between saving money on groceries and imperiling our health. Especially when we aren’t paying exorbitant sums for full coverage on our health insurance. If we are eating healthier, we are less likely to need all that insurance anyway.

Nevertheless, I still find the strong, salty taste and aroma of ramen noodles very enticing. I miss eating them. Predictably, my mind wanders back to those cash-strapped undergraduate years...

Snap back to reality. In our cupboard, I found some Asian-style wheat flour noodles, which were un-fried and looked promising. Wondering if they might sate my long-suppressed ramen craving, I dropped five or six noodle bundles into a pan of steaming water. Then I put in some no-added-MSG chicken bouillon paste, a heap of table salt, and--voila!

My efforts yielded a tasty ramen facsimile, with only a fraction of the fat (less than one gram) compared to the original fried noodles. And no MSG.

Then the trouble started. I had to resist gobbling the noodles and accompanying meat for my late night snack attack. I may just have to make some more “fake ramen” pronto. Does that mean I have self-control or not?

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