Many women crave instant noodles during pregnancy but are concerned about how safe it is for their baby’s health.
Instant noodles are generally not considered a good food option for pregnant women because they are high in carbohydrates and sodium, do not provide nourishment, have little nutritional value, and contain preservatives. These ingredients may interfere with baby development. However, if you want to eat instant noodles, you may explore ways to cook them more healthily.
This post provides more information about the nutritional value of instant noodles, their harmful ingredients, and some tips to make them healthier.
Is It Safe To Eat Instant Noodles During Pregnancy?
According to medical experts, it is best to stay away from them.
- If you really must indulge, make sure there is no extra salt added (1).
- Include vegetables to make it nutritious.
- It’s best to keep the consumption to the very minimum.
Nutritional Value Of Instant Noodles
Noodles are made of wheat flour, starch, palm oil and salt. Sometimes wheat flour is replaced with buckwheat too.
|Instant Noodles (Raw)|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||1,895 kJ (453 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2.4 g|
|Thiamine (B1)||(61%) 0.7 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||(33%) 0.4 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||(36%) 5.4 mg|
|Folate (B9)||(37%) 147 μg|
|Iron||(33%) 4.3 mg|
|Potassium||(3%) 120 mg|
|Sodium||(77%) 1160 mg|
One package is 80 g
|Units μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams IU = International units|
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
The Dark Side of Instant Noodles: What Makes Them Harmful?
Pregnant women are usually advised moderate consumption of noodles due to the following reasons (2).
- Noodles are grouped under junk food as they contain high levels of carbohydrates and fat.
- They are very low on vitamins, proteins, fiber and minerals.
- One of the biggest concerns with noodles is the content of sodium in it.
- The current U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance of sodium for adults is 1,500mg/day (3).
- Typical cup-type instant noodles contain 2700mg of sodium (per 100g of edible portions).
- Pregnancy already involves the risk of high blood pressure. The extra amount of sodium intake can affect the baby negatively (4).
Johna Burdeos, a registered dietitian from Greater Houston, says, “TBHQ is short tertiary butylhydroquinone. It is an additive used to preserve the shelf life of processed foods, including noodles. Like many food additives, TBHQ has not been extensively studied in humans. However, there is controversy surrounding its use. There are studies showing that TBHQ is linked to the incidence of tumors in rats, vision problems in humans, and effects on human behavior.”
Tips To Make Instant Noodles Healthier
Only possible way to make noodles a little healthier is by adding fresh vegetables and/or hard boiled eggs.
If you must indulge in noodles when you are pregnant, make sure that you include a lot of fresh vegetables like peas, capsicums, tomatoes, potatoes etc. These vegetables also help in enriching the flavor of the noodles while upping the nutrition quotient.
- Nestle Maggi tops the lists for the most selling instant noodle brand in South Asian countries. Their atta noodles and multigrain noodles are relatively healthier.
- Also, Foodles by Horlicks is rated the healthiest of all instant noodles available in India.
- Knorr Soupy Noodles also contain a decent amount of vegetables.
- Another thing that needs to be taken into consideration is the oil that is used in the preparation of noodles. Instant noodles require not more than one tablespoon of oil for garnishing (most people prefer this than just boiling it in water.) Make sure that the oil is fresh and clean. Ensure it hasn’t turned rancid.
- Always keep in mind that noodles containing added vegetables are loaded with extra preservatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are ramen noodles safe to eat during pregnancy?
Yes, an occasional intake of ramen noodles during pregnancy is safe. However, ensure you are not consuming ramen noodles daily. They are usually made of refined flour and are loaded with chemicals and preservatives that might adversely affect you and your growing baby. Burdeos recommends, “If you are consuming large quantities of foods containing TBHQ, it may be a good idea to reduce that, whether or not you are pregnant. Consider looking for noodles that do not contain TBHQ.”
2. Can I eat Hakka noodles during pregnancy?
Yes. You can eat Hakka noodles during pregnancy occasionally. The monosodium glutamate or MSG in Hakka noodles will not harm you or your baby unless you eat the noodles in large amounts.
3. Why do I crave noodles during pregnancy?
According to experts, pregnant women experience cravings for several reasons, such as hormonal changes, a heightened sense of smell and taste, and nutritional deficiencies (5). These changes during pregnancy can trigger cravings for different foods, including noodles.
4. Can consuming too much noodles during pregnancy lead to gestational diabetes?
Yes, consuming excessive amounts of noodles during pregnancy can increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Pregnant women should focus on consuming foods with lower glycemic indexes, such as potatoes, and avoid fried noodles that are high in carbohydrates and unhealthy fats (7).
5. Can I eat noodles made with egg during pregnancy?
Consuming egg noodles in moderation can be beneficial as they contain high levels of folate (8).
Instant noodles have gained popularity and are now a frequent meal in many households. but when it comes to pregnancy cravings, it’s important to consider the concept of healthy eating. Pregnancy cravings may make a woman crave instant noodles, but one may wonder if it is safe to eat them. While it may be in the best interest of pregnant women to avoid eating unhealthy foods such as instant noodles, you can seek your doctor’s permission to indulge in small quantities and satiate your craving. In addition, you can make it healthier by adding freshly chopped vegetables and limiting the oil or salt added to them.
Infographic: Potential Health Risks Of Instant Noodles In Pregnancy
Pregnant women may occasionally want to satisfy their food cravings by having snacks such as instant noodles. However, it is essential to be aware of the harmful effects of the food you relish on yourself and your baby. Here is an infographic highlighting the possible risks of having instant noodles when pregnant. Check out!
- Instant noodles are not a recommended food option during pregnancy.
- Instant noodles are high in carbohydrates and sodium but have little nutritional value.
- A high-salt diet during pregnancy can increase the risk of hypertension and renal disease in the baby.
- It is advisable to limit the consumption of instant noodles during pregnancy and avoid adding extra salt to instant noodles.
- Adding vegetables and hard-boiled eggs to instant noodles can increase its nutritional value.
- Healthy eating.
- A comparison of food and nutrient intake between instant noodle consumers and non-instant noodle consumers in Korean adults.
- Dietary reference intakes for sodium and potassium (2019).
- Sodium Intake During Pregnancy, but Not Other Diet Recommendations Aimed at Preventing Cardiovascular Disease, Is Positively Related to Risk of Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy
- Why Pregnancy Can Make You Have Weird Cravings.
- Alyssa J. Provagna et al.; (2016); Effects of High-Salt Diet during Pregnancy on Fetal Nephrogenesis and Hypertension Later in Life : Aberrant Renin-Angiotensin System Programming.
- Study on Effects of Dietary Structure on the Incidence of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus and Macrosomia
- Good Food Sources of Folate