Is It Safe To Eat Instant Noodles During Pregnancy?

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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, have little nutritional value, and contain preservatives. These ingredients interfere with the health of the growing fetus. However, if you want to eat instant noodles, you may explore ways to cook them more healthily.

This post provide 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 buck wheat too.

Instant Noodles (Raw) 
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy1,895 kJ (453 kcal)
Carbohydrates65 g
Dietary fiber2.4 g
Fat17 g
Saturated7.6 g
Monounsaturated6.5 g
Protein9 g
Vitamins
Thiamine (B1)(61%) 0.7 mg
Riboflavin (B2)(33%) 0.4 mg
Niacin (B3)(36%) 5.4 mg
Folate (B9)(37%) 147 μg
Trace metals
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 to consume less qualities of instant 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).

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.

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 the quantity you eat is limited.

3. Why do I crave noddles 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.

Instant noodles have gained popularity and are now a frequent meal in many households. 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.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Healthy eating.
    https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/healthy-eating-pregnancy/
  2. A comparison of food and nutrient intake between instant noodle consumers and non-instant noodle consumers in Korean adults.
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.782.1453&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  3. Dietary reference intakes for sodium and potassium (2019).
    https://www.nap.edu/read/25353/chapter/13#230
  4. Study of U.S. adults finds strong association between higher sodium excretion and higher blood pressure and association between higher potassium excretion and lower blood pressure
    https://www.cdc.gov/salt/research_reviews/sodium_potassium_blood_pressure.htm#:~:text=There%20is%20a%20strong%2C%20direct
  5. Why Pregnancy Can Make You Have Weird Cravings.
    https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/intermountain-moms/2016/10/why-pregnancy-can-make-you-have-weird-cravings/

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Sadiya Qamar

Sadiya is a writer and editor with a passion for writing about parenthood and children. Her focus areas are health, wellness, and beauty. For MomJunction, she writes on kids’ health and nutrition.  Sadiya believes in doing in-depth research and providing accurate information to help parents with concerns on their children’s growth and development.

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