What springs to mind when you think of instant noodles? Salty? Ultra-processed? MSG, maybe? They’re all common associations with this packaged food, but do they always hold true?
The answers is… sometimes.
Many packaged and processed foods (like biscuits, microwave meals, and, yes, instant noodles) are greatly unhealthy. That’s because the nourishing and wholesome elements of the ingredients – like fat, protein, fibre – are stripped out, thanks to intensive processing. All that is left afterwards is a high salt, high sugar product, which is devoid of essential nutrients.
And yet, while you will struggle to find biscuits or microwave meals which are both healthy, tasty and filling, the same cannot be said of instant noodles. In fact, they’re far more dualistic than you might expect.
Which instant noodles are the healthiest?
Shaking off its bad rep in the West since 2016, packet noodles have surged in popularity, prized for their convenience, accessibility and variety of flavours.
Now, consumers aren’t limited to just sodium-rich Pot Noodles or calorie-laden Super Noodles. There are packet quinoa noodles, black bean noodles, rice noodles, and more, all with their own diverse, moreish flavourings (these will be freeze-dried, but don’t let that put you off; they still contain 98% of their nutritional content).
If you’re unsure where to find the best, you’ll find some of the most delicious instant rice noodles at Mr Lee’s. A healthier alternative to yellow egg noodles, this UK-based company produce gluten-free rice noodles that are low in carbs, sugar and salt.
But don’t worry about them being low in flavour – they’re packed with vegetables, protein and, crucially, they’re free of MSG and hydrogenated fats (that’s right, not every packet of noodles needs these nasties). Did I also mention they’re bloody delicious?
If you’ve ever been to Vietnam, the range will remind you of the effervescent street vendors and their offerings on a humid afternoon. There’s Street Beef, Tai Chi Chicken and (my favourite) Warrior Fighting Shrimp. The bamboo shoots, coconut milk and freeze-dried shrimp ingredients really come through in this one. There are even options for vegans, too.
So, there you have it. Instant noodles aren’t all bad. In fact, with the right brand, they can do you a whole lot of good.