SA’s noodle dilemma: Are we compromising health for convenience? Insights from a local dietician

todayMay 3, 2024 22 4 5

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Is there a way you can make noodles healthier? (Artem Labunsky/Unsplashed)
  • In many South African households, noodles are a staple.
  • The affordability and convenience of two-minute noodles are why there are always a pack or two stored in many kitchen cabinets.
  • A dietician has highlighted why these packet meals are not ideal for your health.

Often, many of us are too busy to take the time out of our schedules to prepare healthy foods. Meals packed with nutrients take a little more time, so it’s often easier to grab the quickest and most convenient option.

Instant or two-minute noodles are a go-to for many South Africans who also need to consider affordability – not to mention they are also low in overall calories.

But should we really be eating as much noodles as we do? South African-based dietician Lila Bruk says no.

Bruk shares:

Noodles generally are low in fibre and have a high glycaemic index, which results in a sharp rise and fall in your blood sugar after eating.

For those who love noodles and can’t see themselves completely cutting them out of their diet, Bruk shares that not all noodles are equal. While she strongly advises against two-minute noodles – egg noodles, rice noodles, veggie noodles, soba noodles, and wholewheat pasta are not all that bad, she says.

According to her, adding other foods to your noodle dish, such as a boiled egg, some vegetables and even a protein of your choice, definitely increases the meal’s nutritional value.

“If you add fibre and protein to the dish, the nutritional benefits are immensely improved. Therefore, adding vegetables and eggs would definitely be advisable.”

While finding a way to make noodles healthier is a win, Bruk warns against overindulging.

“It is still important to watch the portion size of the noodles themselves. Ideally, you should have 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked noodles per serving,” Bruk says. She also adds that the typical healthy noodle plate will consist mainly of vegetables and proteins.

“The bulk of the dish should ideally be vegetables and the protein of choice (e.g. egg, chicken, tofu, meat). With these changes, enjoying noodles as part of a balanced diet is possible.”

Written by: goldfmc1

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