Is Noodles Good for Babies & Kids?
Noodles have quickly become the staple food of the present. When parents are short on time, and their children need something to eat, they readily opt for instant noodles. Nowadays, with a variety of instant noodle brands, it has become so easy to purchase a flavour your child loves. But, you do need to stop and think if noodles is the right food for your child. And, we shall discuss just that in this article. Let’s first understand if noodles is safe for babies and infants.
Is It Safe to Feed Noodles to Your Kid?
Noodles is a type of pasta made with dough. Homemade noodles is eaten as a staple in several parts of the world and is safe to consume as it does not have chemicals and preservatives. But, the ones that you get in the market, including instant noodles, have chemicals and preservatives that do not make it a great choice for children. Any sort of noodles, whether homemade or market-bought, are not safe for infants as they would choke on it. For older kids, you may want to stick to healthier options and avoid instant noodles. Let’s take a look at why noodles/ instant noodles are unsafe for your little one.
Why Are Instant Noodles Unsafe for Your Kid?
Here are some more reasons why instant noodles isn’t good for your little one.
1. It Is Highly Processed
Primarily made out of maida, instant noodles are processed for packaging, and contain no/ extremely low nutritional value. Such food items are also termed as empty calorie consumables.
2. Trans Fats Carriers
Noodles is steamed and then deep-fried in oil to extend its shelf life. This leads to trans fats from the oil to become a part of the noodles, leading to weight gain in your child.
3. Wax Coating
Noodles need to look attractive, and that is achieved by coating them with a layer of wax in the manufacturing process. Wax is quite harmful to children and is known to cause damage to the liver.
4. Food With Propylene Glycol
Noodles cannot be dry and need to retain their internal moisture. This is attained by adding propylene glycol to them. Kids are at a higher risk with this chemical since it causes long-term damage to the heart, liver and the kidneys by accumulating in them.
5. Presence of Monosodium Glutamate
MSG, as it was famously abbreviated and reported in the news, is widely used in instant noodles for a very important reason. It highly enhances the flavour. However, this chemical is harmful to children as well as adults, since it is known to lead to brain damage.
6. Sodium As a Preservative
Noodles already contain salt in high amounts to preserve them for long durations. Sodium, the element present in salt, also directly affects the vital organs and can cause damage when consumed excessively.
7. Presence of Harmful Chemicals
Apart from the aforementioned reasons, various chemicals such as plasticisers and dioxin are present in the material used for packaging noodles. These chemicals are carcinogenic and might remain in the noodles even after you cook it. One may assume that their quantity of consumption isn’t high or that they take care while cooking, but certain factors which can cause cancer are not a risk worth taking.
Sometimes, even after knowing that noodles, especially instant noodles, are not safe for babies, you might find yourself with nothing but a pack of instant noodles. And, when your little one cannot control his hunger, you might have to feed it to him. But, there are ways you can make it a little safer for your child.
Things to Remember When Feeding Noodles to Kids
As tasty as various noodle recipes for kids might be, after knowing about their harmful nature, one needs to be more careful before directly serving them to your children. Here’s what you can do to make it a tad bit less harmful than it was before. Having said that, we recommend you avoid feeding noodles to your kids completely.
- On cooking the noodles, you can make sure that the noodles are drained well so that all the excess fat and salts are removed.
- Instead of resorting to the packaged flavouring and seasoning that comes with each packet of instant noodles, try your hand at using homemade seasoning alternatives that do not contain salts and other chemicals in large quantities.
- While cooking the noodles, go for a healthy oil alternative than using the standard palm/ refined oil. You may try olive oil or avoid adding any oil.
- Since noodles do not inherently hold any nutritional value, you may want to add chopped vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, peas, beans, etc. to make it visually appealing and tasty as well.
- While purchasing noodles from the market, keep an eye on noddles that have sodium and other fats in low quantities. Most of them are earmarked for adults, so you might have to hunt a little more to get the right one to feed your children.
If you are convinced that noodles is an unhealthy snack for you kid, you may want to keep enough alternatives to satisfy his hunger and get his mind off instant noodles.
Healthy Alternatives for Instant Noodles
Here are some foods you can replace instant noodles with and provide other nutritious snacks to your kid:
- Roasted Dry Fruit – You can stock some almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, raisins, etc. to provide a healthier snack instead of instant noodles. Ensure your baby can chew them properly and is not allergic to any of the dried fruits.
- Roasted Peanuts – Roasted peanuts is another great alternative for instant noodles. Again, ensure your child is not allergic to peanuts.
- Bhel – Replace instant noodles with some delicious bhel. Try to make it at home for hygiene reasons, as street feed is quite infamous for giving an upset stomach.
- Yoghurt – Yoghurt will not only satisfy your kid’s hunger, but it will also aid digestion and keep his stomach cool. Add some puree and chopped fruit, and you’ll have another delicious snack for your little one.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is another snack that doesn’t take a lot of time to cook. Cook it with some milk, fruit, honey, etc. to make a sweeter version or give it an Indian “tadka” and prepare a savoury dish.
- Organic Noodles – Locally made organic noodles like vermicelli, rice noodles, etc. can be a smart shift to let your kids know that you are serving noodles, just of a different kind.
There are tons of other alternatives such as soups or other preparations that you can introduce your child to. However, if your child is already hooked on to instant noodles, you can incentivise the serving by limiting the number of times you purchase it and dish it out only on certain occasions.
Also Read – 12 Healthy Snacks for Children