Pick your noodles wisely the next time you are dining out. Vermicelli and soba noodles are great choices! Check out other types you should go for and avoid:
Are you one of the few people who prefer noodles over rice? If yes then you’re probably always stuck in a dilemma on whether to go for mee hoon or yellow noodles or have a mix of both for your curry laksa. True story?
And then you also have to consider all the talk about this or that noodle going straight to your thighs or belly. Should you go for mee hoon only, or mee hoon with yellow noodles, or kuey teow?
Fret not fellow noodle lovers! To make your decisions easier, we’ve listed down the noodles that you chomp on without worry and the ones that you should be wary of. One cup of noodles is a healthy portion to go with, as long as you add on more veggies and some protein to make it a complete meal.
Slurp on these:
Rice noodles (192 calories)
Rice noodles are usually made from white rice flour, water and other ingredients. Your favourite mee hoon, kuey teow, and hor fun are all rice noodles just made in different shapes.
- It has phosphorus which keeps your bones strong, helps to filter the waste in your kidneys and organize your energy levels .
- Since rice noodles are not made with wheat flour, it is a great gluten-free alternative for people who are sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease.
- One cup of these smooth and delicate strings (dried versions) brings about 192 calories, 0.4 grams of total fat and 44 grams of carbohydrates .
- Pre-cooked rice noodles are usually soaked in oil so that it does not stick together. That can add-on to the calorie count and you don’t know what kind of oil is used to coat the noodles too.
Best to go for the dried uncooked version so that it doesn’t have the added oils. But the nutrition value will change according to how you have your noodles. If you have it fried in oil like char kuey teow then it would contain more fats. So if you are watching your diet, go for the clear soup variety.
Another type of rice noodle that you can get in Malaysia is assam laksa noodles, long, white and springy noodles and loh shee fun, short, tail-like fat strands. These noodles are made with the same ingredients as rice noodles with the addition of tapioca starch/ flour which gives it a chewy and slippery texture .
- Tapioca starch is gluten-free too so this addition does not affect people who are gluten sensitive !
- These are mostly sold pre-cooked and soaked in oil so do rinse as much of the oil away as you can before putting them in your soup.
Soba (113 calories)
Buckwheat flour is the core ingredient of soba noodles and the higher the percentage of buckwheat flour, the better the quality of the soba . Usually the more affordable soba options are made with a mix of wheat flour and buckwheat flour so if you are sensitive to gluten, check whether the soba you are getting is 100% buckwheat flour only .
- It contains rutin, an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals in your body and strengthens your blood capillaries.
- Your body needs at least 30mg of rutin daily so 1 serving of soba made purely of buckwheat flour can provide about 100mg of rutin which enough to fulfill your body’s requirements .
Sweet potato noodles (70 calories)
A healthier alternative to rice and yellow noodles, sweet potato noodles is a staple in Korean food which is slowly going mainstream thanks to its slippery, slightly chewy texture.
- It is made from sweet potato starch and it has no fat and no protein.
- It also has a low fiber content so you have to add more vegetables and some protein to make the meal more balanced like the jap chae dish .
Eat less or avoid these not-so-healthy noodles:
Yellow/ egg noodles (221 calories)
Mee goreng mamak, wan tan mee, ramen and many more dishes all use yellow noodles. They are also known as alkaline noodles because it’s made with lye water (sodium hydroxide) which acts as a tenderizer to make the noodles easy to chew and give it its slight bitter taste .
- Most yellow noodles are made with wheat flour, eggs, lye water (sodium cardonate and potassium carbonate) and salt which makes it high in carbohydrates almost the same as traditional pasta.
- But there are some manufacturers who replace the eggs in the noodles with yellow colouring to save cost and some yellow noodles have been found to have a high level of boric acid which could cause cancer and impotence . Boric acid is used as an insect repellent for furnitures but at one point food manufacturers include it in food to make the food last longer .
- Mostly sold pre-cooked and coated in oil.
- That’s why it’s best to stay away from yellow noodles or have it sparingly.
Glass noodles (160 calories)
Glass noodles sometimes known as Mung bean or cellophane noodles are mostly made from mung bean starch .
- Though it seems like the healthier option because glass noodles taste very light and springy, one cup of it has the same amount of calories to other noodles.
- It does not contain much nutrients too except carbohydrates .
Udon (229 calories)
Udon has similar nutrient profiles with traditional pasta because it is made from refined wheat flour, salt and water .
- As much as you love its chewiness, udon doesn’t really have much vitamins for your body unless you get the ones made with whole wheat.
- Udon makes a great carbohydrate booster if you are body-building but if you are into getting more nutrients, soba is the better option .
Traditional pasta noodles (425 calories)
- Half a cup of traditional pasta can bring you up to 425 calories which is a lot and overcooking it could cause a spike in your blood sugar levels .
- When you take pastas that are made with refined durum (wheat) flour, you are not getting the nutrients that it is supposed to give compared to whole wheat pastas .
- Also topping it with loads of cheese and cream is not helping in the calories department.
Instant noodles (380 calories)
Sadly no matter how yummy instant noodles are, it’s not good for your body but we have found some solutions to help make it healthier while satisfying your cravings for it. Load up on the greens and cook the noodles and soup separately to remove most of the preservatives on the noodles.
Slurp the white noodles
Go for the dry-packed rice noodles, soba and sweet potato noodles option the next time you have to satisfy your noodle cravings. Yellow noodles and instant noodles contain chemicals and high levels of sodium so it is best to avoid those noodles and go for rice noodles. Traditional pasta and udon are just filled with empty and simple carbs that might add extra kilos to your body if you are not careful.
Always check the ingredients list before buying any noodles. You will be surprised how much difference it makes to your health by just changing the noodles, cooking style and the portion that you usually go for.