The struggle is real! Truth is ramen noodles are cheap! If you buy in bulk, a one-pack meal of instant noodles will only set you back .18 cents. Add some free hot
water, tear open the seasoning pack and you’ve got a warm, filling, slurptastic meal. So what’s the issue?
What’s the drawback?
You may or may not know that instant noodles have been
proven to be terrible for some people. A recent study by
Baylor University published in The Journal of Nutrition shows
that consumption of instant noodles significantly ups the risk of a chronic
illness known as Cardiometabolic syndrome. The study found that eating instant
noodles two or more times a week was associated with the syndrome, which
raises a person's likelihood of developing heart disease and other conditions,
such as diabetes and stroke.
So let’s unpack the pack: one pack of instant noodles contains
14.5 grams of fat, 0% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 0% calcium, only 4 grams of
protein, and 10% of iron. And that wonderful seasoning packet? It contains
salt, monosodium glutamate, seasoning, and sugar. One serving of noodles
contains a whopping 910 milligrams of salt, about 41% of your daily allowance! One
block of prepared ramen noodles has nearly 400 calories. The magic noodles
are deep-fried and packed with chemicals which permits them to be stored unrefrigerated
for up to 12 months. And the list goes on.
When we factor in the extended health costs like our global
obesity epidemic, food-related heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, the $550
doesn’t seem like much of a savings. So what’s the fix? Shop Sensibly.
No one will argue that convenience stores and gas stations are,
well… convenient. But what you save
in time certainly costs you. You are paying much higher prices for toxic junk
and food that is less fresh! Plan ahead and allow time for shopping at your
nearby supermarket or bulk warehouse savings store. Make the trip with the bros
or the girls (or the bros and the
girls) and make a fun day of it.
Be Prepared and
Organized Before You Go
Make a list and check it twice. Keep your paper list handy
in your kitchen or on your smartphone so that you can write items down
throughout the week as you see you are running low on something. There is an
app for that! In fact, there are dozens of great apps to help you stay on
track. Plan ahead for your meals the coming week and know what you need before
you leave. And never go shopping when you are hungry!
Buy Generic and in
Buying single portions always costs more. Whenever possible,
buy larger portions. Not 5-gallon-bucket-of-peanut-butter
larger (unless you are feeding the football team), but know what you can store
and plan accordingly. A large jar of peanut butter takes up much less space on
the shelf than a bag of chips, is packed with protein and lasts much longer! Separate
bulk items into single-serving sizes after you get home using zip-lock bags and
stackable sealed plastic containers. Your one serving of meat for this week can
be placed in the refrigerator, while future individual servings should be
frozen. Always check for comparable generic store brands when available. Often
times the ingredients are nearly identical, and the cost is less. That’s money
in your pocket.
Watch for Sales, Use
Coupons and Savings Cards
Make a daily check for coupons and advertised sales. Sign up
for the local supermarket savings plans and keep the card on your keychain or
in your wallet. You will find the difference to be huge, and not just on your
groceries. Many supermarkets give you rewards in return including savings on
gas. Filling your car for 40-cents less
a gallon once a month will bring a smile to your face and justify driving the
extra distance to the supermarket. Cha Ching!
Don’t Buy Junk
Stay out of the junk-food aisle altogether. If you don’t buy
it, you won’t eat it. Junk food is expensive and high in calories. Avoid sugary
cereals as well. They don’t keep you feeling full for long and cost you a lot
of money. Purchase whole-grain cereals that are low in sugar. Add fresh or
dried fruit prior to eating to add healthy flavor and fun.
Snack and Drink
Avoid the expensive, trendy sports drinks, fruit drinks, and
other prepared beverages! Hydrate the old fashioned way with water. Purchase
fresh produce that is in season and snack healthy with fruits and vegetables.
Dividing into single-serving sizes when you get home for quick, on-the-go
snacking (when you are late for class) will ensure that you still get the healthy
nutrition you need.