weather icon Clear

DIVAS ON A DIME: Ramen noodles get a healthy, inexpensive upgrade

Confession time: At the grocery store, I always look at what other people have in their carts. Not a casual glance, either, I really look. I learn a great deal about the family behind the cart. Besides what’s for dinner, I can usually tell how many people are in the household, whether the family has children, and what age. I can also gauge how much money they spend and how committed they are to eating healthy foods.

I can tell you the carts have changed in the past six months. I’ve seen significantly more cases of ramen noodles filling carts. Of course, this peaked back in March when we were all stocking up for Armageddon. I get it. They’re cheap, shelf stable, and yummy. According to a report by Bloomberg, Walmart’s online sales of instant noodles jumped 578% between February 23 and March 21.

But it’s September and I’m still seeing cases of ramen going home with people more than usual. This indicates that folks are trying to stretch their family food budget, even if they know it’s not as healthy as they’d like.

So, we’ve stockpiled it, we’re still buying it and that means we’re eating it. Since we’re eating ramen, let’s make it healthier.

First, the good news. Ramen contains some iron! It’s made from wheat flour that’s been fortified with synthetic forms of nutrients like iron and some B vitamins.

When you read the nutrition label (you do read those labels don’t you?), you’ll notice a typical serving of ramen has around 190 calories, 27 grams carbs, 7 grams fat, 1 gram fiber and a whopping 890 milligrams (mg) of sodium. But! Did you notice each package contains two servings? So, double all those numbers and now they’re accurate. I found one brand that said four servings per package, making the sodium over 3,000 mg per package! For reference, the FDA recommends less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

Eaten occasionally, less than once per week, ramen won’t harm your health. Here are several ways to make this convenient dish healthier.

Discard the flavor packet. Most of the badness is in the seasoning packet. Boil noodles in plain water or substitute low-sodium chicken or beef broth to make soup.

Add vegetables. Adding fresh, or frozen vegetables adds nutrients that ramen noodles lack. Try adding peas, carrots, broccoli, onions, or spinach to ramen.

Add protein. Ramen noodles are low in protein, so adding eggs, chicken, pork, or tofu provides protein that will keep you fuller longer.

The best way to upgrade your ramen is to cook your noodles in low-sodium chicken broth diluted with a little water and add one cup each mixed veggies and cooked chicken breast.

With that said, I believe if we’re going to occasionally eat something that’s not healthy, it’d better taste ridiculously delicious. Here’s an awesome recipe for Sesame Noodles using ramen noodles. Look Ma! No seasoning packets!


This decadent snack is ready in the time it takes to boil the noodles.

What You’ll Need:

1 package ramen noodles, seasoning packet discarded

1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter

1 garlic clove, finely minced

½ teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced

1 cup bok choy greens or spinach, sliced

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

½ tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon chili garlic paste

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 green onion, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds – optional garnish

Here’s How:

First, bring a pot of water to boil for the noodles. Once the water boils, add the noodles and cook for 3 minutes. While that’s heating up, mince the garlic and ginger.

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the coconut oil or butter and once melted, add in the garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute, then add the bok choy or spinach and sauté for one minute more. Stir in soy sauce, sugar, and chili garlic paste. Remove pan from heat and add the sesame oil. Add the cooked and drained noodles to the skillet and toss well to coat. Serve with green onions and sesame seeds.

I don’t usually say “This is terrible for you, but here’s a great recipe”. Or perhaps I don’t do it often enough. It’s no worse than a doughnut for breakfast, plus there’s iron. This was delicious.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
A Smoky Valley curtain call: Youth theater debuts a Disney classic

Andrew Sweeney played multiple roles as the prince, the beast, Monsieur D’Arque and the baker. “My favorite part of BATB JR was getting to be part of the team and meeting all the other cast members,” he said. “I didn’t feel nervous because we were very prepared for the performance.”

Smiles Across Pahrump: Photos from this festival will make you grin

Smiles Across Pahrump returned this month to the valley for the first time since 2019. Families were invited out for a day of unplugged, technology-free fun, continuing a tradition started by the late Butch “Patches” Harper.

Redneck pool party brings Pahrump to the park — PHOTOS

It’s been many years since the residents of Pahrump have had a public festival at Petrack Park for the 4th of July but thanks to Kelli Sater, owner of The Lady – World Famous Watering Hole, that streak ended this year with the Redneck Pool and BBQ.

Meet the 12 contestants competing for the 2023 Miss Pahrump crown — PHOTOS

The Miss Pahrump Pageant will take place Saturday, June 3 at 6:30 p.m. inside the Saddle West Showroom. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission or $15 for VIP tickets. To reserve a ticket contact the organization at MissPahrumpPageant@gmail.com.

See the looks from the Soroptomist Spring Fashion Show — PHOTOS

The afternoon was a celebration of all things chic. The stylish affair drew a sold-out crowd to the Sanders Family Winery and helped raised thousands of dollars to support Soroptimist International of the Pahrump Valley.

Pahrump Garden Club tour an excursion for the senses – PHOTOS

The Pahrump Valley Garden Club hosted its 2023 Landscape Tour on Saturday with a strong turnout of approximately 150 patrons. It was declared to be one of the best tours in the club’s history.

How Nye County celebrated Mother Nature at the Earth & Arbor Day Festival — PHOTOS

Taking place on Saturday, April 22, the 2023 Earth and Arbor Day Festival saw a steady stream of visitors throughout the four-hour event, with plenty of interaction between attendees and those manning booths from an array of businesses and organizations.