Quick, easy, affordable, filling and tasty – don’t we all love the instant noodles? A bowl of steaming instant noodles help calm a queasy stomach. However, recent developments have placed a big question mark on their safety, and if you are pregnant, you would be all the more worried. A pregnant woman’s diet and lifestyle directly or indirectly affects the health of the fetus growing inside her. So she has to make sure she has a balanced and healthy diet. Largely, instant noddles are safe for pregnant women provided they are consumed in moderation. You may not shy away from having that bowl of noodles that cook in minutes and practically need nothing more than hot water, but eating them regularly can be quite harmful not only to you, but to the growing baby as well.
Are Instant Noodles Healthy During Pregnancy?
A lot of us love instant noodles for the sheer convenience and taste they offer. Hunger pangs can strike you more than often during pregnancy. Though they may satiate your taste buds, they are not nutritious to say the least. They lack essential vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre that you need during pregnancy, so do not qualify as a balanced food and cannot be a meal on their own.
Some other ingredients that can be harmful during pregnancy are:
- Maida or refined flour: We all know that refined food loses all its nutrients during processing. ‘Maida’ is one such ingredient that can play around with your digestive system, without adding any nutrient value to your food. Though many brands have introduced ‘Aata noodles’, so to say, the truth to them is surely questionable, isn’t it?
- Salt: Every 100g of instant noodles carry nearly 2500 mg of sodium making it an integral ingredient of instant noodles, and long term regular intake of instant noodles can make you prone to hypertension – all the more dangerous if you are pregnant
- Preservatives: All manufacturers look to increase the shelf life of their products, and adding preservatives is a foregone conclusion. Instant noodles are loaded with artificial food coloring, flavor additives etc. and can be quite harmful to the fetus
- MSG or Monosodium Glutamate: MSG is a common ingredient of many food items these days for it’s taste enhancing properties. MSG can also extend the shelf life of perishable items, and is no stranger to instant noodles. Though a small amount of MSG during pregnancy can be processed by the system, large quantities can have considerable harmful effects on you and your baby
- Trans Fats: All processed foods are high in trans fats, and instant noodles are no exception. If you would read the labels you will be surprised to know how much trans fats you end up consuming every day. The harmful vegetable oils and other ingredients can wreck havoc on your cholesterol levels – and you’d not want this when you are carrying
What Is TBHQ? Is It Present In Instant Noodles?
TBHQ or Tertiary Butylhydroquinone is a toxic, synthetic petroleum derivative, used as a preservative by some manufacturers of instant noodles. (Source) This chemical is also used in other industries like paints, cosmetics and pesticides. Judging by this, you can comprehend how dangerous it is for us humans, more so for pregnant women and their babies. Though it may not harm you if the intake is in small quantities and in moderation, but can surely impact your health negatively in the long run.
Can You Make Instant Noodles Healthier For You During Pregnancy?
If you are really craving for them or are hungry and want something quick, you may eat a bowl of instant noodles of your favorite brand, but do make attempts to make them healthier. Add a good chunk of fresh vegetables like beans, cauliflower, capsicum, carrots, mushrooms, peas, onion, tomatoes etc. You can also use just half of the flavoring masala provided in the pack, or can make your own tasty masala using less salt. Moderation has to be the key here, and you must, in all circumstances, indulge in instant noodles only occasionally.
What Other Snacks Can I Eat During Pregnancy?
Instant noodles may be off limits for you now that you are expecting, but there are scores of other healthy Indian snacks to choose from. And if you have a more modern taste, try out some easy to prepare modern snacks during your gestation period. Not only are there easy to make and require less time, they will also satiate your cravings but will also provide much needed nutrition to you, the healthy way.
We hope this article will help you understand what you are feeding your unborn baby as you indulge in that bowl of instant noodles. Always keep in mind that at the end of the day, noodles are junk food and it is better to avoid them for your and your baby’s health. So next time before you decide to eat a bowl of instant noodles, remember that instant noodles are processed and not good for your health in long run. So make sure you talk about it with your doctor!
Did you crave for instant noodles during pregnancy? How often did you indulge in them? Do share your experience in the comments section below.