Ramen Noodle Packet Calories

I used to eat ramen noodles without the seasoning all the time. I figured it’s at least lower in sodium that way, and hey—it’s cheap and tasty! But eventually, I realized the problem with ramen noodles goes much deeper than the seasoning packet.

Ramen noodles without the seasoning packet are still unhealthy. Compared to regular noodles, they typically have added vegetable oil and salt, so they are higher in calories, fat, and sodium. They also often have TBHQ, a controversial preservative which has caused tumors and paralysis in animal studies.

Below, I’ll break down many aspects of ramen noodle nutrition (without the seasoning). We’ll look at ingredients, calories, sodium, TBHQ, and more. I’ll also share practical tips to make your noodle dishes healthier.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per 1 serving (43 g)

Calories 188

Are Ramen Noodles Worse Than Regular Noodles?

Instant ramen noodles have added vegetable oil, salt, and TBHQ compared to regular noodles. This makes ramen noodles less healthy than regular noodles, even without the seasoning packet.

Obviously, the exact comparison will depend on the specific brands you choose. But let’s compare leading brands of ramen noodles vs regular noodles:

Ramen vs Regular Noodles: Ingredients.

Noodles Ingredients
Maruchan Ramen Enriched Wheat Flour (wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil (contains One Or More Of The Following: Canola, Cottonseed, Palm) Preserved By TBHQ, Contains Less Than 1% Of: Salt, Soy Sauce (water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Potassium Carbonate, Sodium (mono, Hexameta, And/or Tripoly) Phosphate, Sodium Carbonate, Turmeric.
Barilla Spaghetti Semolina (Wheat), Durum Wheat Flour. Vitamins/Minerals: Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Iron (Ferrous Sulfate), Vitamin B1 (Thiamine Mononitrate), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Folic Acid.

I see at least three problems with the ramen:

  • The ramen noodles contain vegetable oil. Vegetable oils are highly processed. Many of them add excess inflammatory omega-6 fat to your diet. Regular noodles are free of added oil, but Maruchan ramen is not.
  • The ramen noodles contain TBHQ. This is a controversial preservative paired with the vegetable oil in ramen noodles. It is FDA approved in small quantities, but some people have reported “vision disturbances” linked to TBHQ. Animal studies have also shown side effects like tumors, liver enlargement, convulsions, and paralysis. (source)
  • The ramen noodles contain added salt. Ramen actually has salt in the noodle itself—not just the seasoning packet. This means the plain noodles still add to your daily sodium intake. Actually, there are multiple sodium-rich ingredients, including soy sauce, in the noodles themselves.
  • Regular noodles may taste kind of bland compared to instant ramen. But there’s a nutritional cost you pay for the added taste in ramen noodles.

    Granted, regular noodles are not the healthiest food, either. They are mostly empty calories—not many nutrients—and most noodles are high-glycemic carbs made from processed wheat.

    The healthiest option would be to add some healthy seasonings or sauce to some of the healthy alternatives shared below.

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    What Can I Use Instead of the Ramen Packet?

    Even if you insist on using instant noodles as the base for your meal, there are still ways to make it healthier. Instead of using the included seasoning packet, try some of the following.

    You may find a combination of these to work best. Also keep in mind that some of these will be more appealing with dry noodles (drain the water):

  • Marinara sauce: Many tomato-based pasta sauces are quite healthy. Ideally, choose one made with olive oil and no added sugar. Here is my personal favorite (common in US grocery stores).
  • Nutritional yeast: This is a somewhat “cheesy” tasting health-food topping. It’s high in protein, often fortified with B vitamins, and it has yeast beta-glucans, which strengthen the immune system. Not everyone likes it, but many vegans and vegetarians are obsessed with it.
  • Mashed avocado: One of the great breakthroughs of my life was when I realized you can use mashed avocado as a pasta sauce. It’s so creamy and good. And who doesn’t like green pasta?
  • Curry Powder: Curry is quite good for you, as it harnesses all the health benefits of turmeric. You can also add some full-fat coconut milk, veggies, and beans to make a full-on ramen noodle curry!
  • Better Than Bouillon: This paste is super convenient to keep in your fridge and add to soups (including ramen) anytime. It’s definitely healthier than an instant ramen packet. Here’s my favorite flavor.
  • Italian seasoning: Here I’m talking about oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and the like. It makes your ramen taste kind of like pizza—especially if you add some red sauce. Buy this shaker of Italian Seasoning to make it quick and easy.
  • Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cumin, Paprika, and More: These simple spices and seasonings can be found in most kitchens—and many of them provide healthy antioxidants along with flavor.
  • Obviously, there are hundreds more ideas you could come up with. Steam some vegetables or add a can of beans into the mix, too, and you’ve got yourself a much healthier meal.

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    What Part of Ramen Is Bad for You?

    Unfortunately, when it comes to instant ramen, both the noodles and the seasoning packet are unhealthy. Before we get into the details, here’s the bird’s eye view:

  • The noodles in ramen packets are not the same as regular noodles. Regular noodles are already empty calories—which is not great. But ramen noodles come with extra processed fat, salt, and controversial additives, too. I’ll share more below.
  • The seasoning packets typically have a lot of sodium. Plus they often have a little sugar, oil, and other junk, too… Let’s just say, it’s not the healthiest way to season your food! I’ll share some better options.
  • Now let’s take a closer look at those noodles.


    How many calories in ramen noodle seasoning packet?

    Maruchan Consumer Affairs

    An example of the Nutrition Information for a whole packet of Ramen Chicken Flavor: Calories 18, Total Fat <1g, Cholesterol 0g, Sodium 1280mg, Total Carbohydrates 1g, Protein <1g. Attached is a PDF of the noodles only Nutrient information for reference.

    How many calories are in instant ramen noodles?

    To give you an idea, here’s the nutritional content for 1 serving (43g) of instant ramen noodles: Calories – 385kcal. Carbohydrate – 55.7g. Total fat – 14.5g.

    How many calories are in one package of beef ramen noodles?

    Instant Noodles are high calorie meals that have a poor ratio of macronutrients. Most of the calories come from carbs and fats while neglecting the protein which translates to a high potential for weight gain and fat retention.

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