One of the most embarrassing thing my kids like to do is to talk about their favorite junk food. Embarrassing because everyone knows that I have a blog for healthy eating for kids! My 15 year old used to tell people his favorite food group is candy! Ugh. But recently, he started declaring his love for commercial top ramen! They were turned on to it when we had a Japanese exchange student a few years back, and now they would really like me to buy some. There is literally nothing redeeming about commercial Ramen. With 1660mg of sodium, and no veggies to speak of, they might as well be eating a brick of salt. Making our own Top Ramen, while considerably more expensive than the commercial kind, can be much healthier for kids. We can make it with extra vegetables and a negligible amount of sodium.
Our kids do not need more than 1500mg of sodium PER DAY!! Sodium, while a necessary mineral, becomes toxic at the levels we are consuming it today.
When salt intake is high, excess fluid accumulates in the circulatory system, exerting pressure on the walls of blood vessels, consequently raising blood pressure and overworking the heart. About one-third of American adults have elevated blood pressure, a condition that is responsible for 62% of strokes and 49% of coronary heart disease, increases the risk of dementia, and is a risk factor for kidney disease. (source)
So, of course, in our final series this week of homemade versions of our kids favorite foods, I chose to re-do their favorite “make it themselves meal”, and make our own top ramen!
This Homemade Top Ramen Recipe is actually much easier than you might think! In fact, it literally took me less than 5 minutes. The benefits to homemade: LESS SODIUM & MORE VEGGIES!
- Pint Sized Mason Jars (you can use any containers, but I prefer the jars because they are the least expensive)
- Labels (Have I mentioned, I’m obsessed with these Avery templates-I buy them at any office supply or drug store, and then you go online to print according to your template)
- Chow mien noodles (The one I bought only had three ingredients: Wheat flour, water, salt, and tumeric. I found them in the Asian aisle at the grocery store. SunLuck)
- Dehydrated vegetables! These were not easy to find!! We had some from food storage. We used Freeze dried corn, freeze dried green beans, dehydrated mushrooms, and dehydrated onions.
- Chicken bouillon! This is where you can get into trouble. Most boulion comes with 800 mg of sodium per teaspoon! I found a brand at the regular grocery store that said “Sodium Free”, and there literally was no sodium. (Herb-ox)
I added 1 cup of the chow mein noodles, 1 packet (or 1 teaspoon of my sodium free broth), and a handful of dried veggies to each jar. Then, stuck a label on them, and put it in the pantry.
At meal time, kids can fill the jar with water, and microwave. The jars do get hot. Either transfer to a microwave safe dish that does not absorb heat, or remove the jar yourself with a hot pad.
Shall we look at the comparison?
- 1 cup dried chow mein noodles
- 1 teaspoon sodium free bullion
- 1/4 cup dehydrated vegetables
- Place all ingredients in pint sized mason jar.
- When ready to eat, fill with water and cook for 3 minutes in the microwave.
That’s it! Super easy, and much healthier for your kids! For more of our commercial food makeovers- check out our DIY category here!
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie