For a lot of parents…instant noodles are a life saver. You can say they are the best thing since sliced bread. And the reasons are not far fetched. They are mostly inexpensive and are quite easy to prepare. The convenience it brings to a busy home or when there is nothing to eat is…well…second to none.
They have fast become a favourite when it comes to children. And adults are not left out.
However, as with anything instant or processed, and mostly targeted at kids, eyebrows have been raised in concern over how beneficial they are to the body.
DID YOU KNOW:
- That the main ingredients include palm oil, salt and flour?
- That they are sold in individual packs and bowls? Though packs are more common in Nigeria.
- That they each come with their own flavoring powders which consist mostly of salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and selected seasonings?
- That before being packaged, these noodles have been pre-cooked by steaming, frying in normal cooking oil and then dried? Which is why, they do not stick together and require little or no heat before eating. As some chew on them as you would biscuits.
- That about 102.7 billion instant noodle servings are eaten globally in a year?
So, are they healthy?
Well, according to medical and scientific research…Not exactly!
But are they dangerous? …again, not exactly!
They are high in sodium, fat and carbohydrates. “Although instant noodles is a convenient and delicious food, there could be an increased risk for metabolic syndrome given [the food’s] high sodium, unhealthy saturated fat and glycemic loads,” said Hyun Shin, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health and a co-author of a South Korean study conducted on the effects of instant noodles on human health
Most types of instant noodles tend to also be low in calories, fiber and protein. Which are essential for children to grow and develop properly.
However, most do contain several micro-nutrients, including iron, manganese, folate and B vitamins.
MICRONUTRIENTS are vitamins and minerals required in small quantities to ensure normal metabolism, growth and physical well-being.
On the other hand, MACRONUTRIENTS are carbohydrates, protein and fat. They are the 3 main suppliers of nutrients in your diet.
Due to the popularity and convenience factor, it is almost pointless to ask people to stop and desist with the consumption. Which is also a danger in itself, because it poses the risk of children being fed more and more of them. Of course advertising campaigns are not helping matters.
It is important to note that the main danger is not with the instant noodles themselves…but with how they are consumed. Taken in moderation, instant noodles in your child’s diet likely won’t come with any negative health effects. Just like taking a doughnut occasionally will not make your child obese. But making a habit of substituting processed and junk foods for real food, it’s only a matter of time before health problems set in.
It is advised that instant noodles be seen and treated as processed or junk food.
Helping a child build and maintain healthy lifestyle habits is vital. Eating right is one of those ways. Children love what they have been taught to love.
So, yes you can give your children instant noodles…but look for healthier ways to serve them up.
- Do not use all the flavoring powder that comes with it
- Cook with vegetables and proteins. Such as tomatoes, onions, carrots, green beans, peas, eggs, fish, sausages or even meat.
- On the side, you can serve with lettuce, coleslaw and cucumbers
- You can also use your instant noodles as a base and top them with some healthy ingredients to make a more well-rounded meal.
All in all, play around with recipes to make their noodle meals flavorful and nutritious.
Bottom-line, occasionally serving your children instant noodles is fine — as long as you are helping them maintain an otherwise healthy and well-rounded diet. In everything, moderation is the key to better health and starting with the children is best approach.