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Make Your Ramen a Healthy Meal

As much as you try to stock your mini fridge with in-season produce and healthy, budget-minded snacks (are you sick of string cheese yet?), there’s something about ramen that’s just so…cheap and easy. When you don’t have time to go to the dining hall or are just sick of divvying up the same pizza take-out with your roommates, it’s okay to fall back on ramen. And while the ramen geniuses do make lots of variations and flavors, there are some things you can do to pump up your noodles and make the comfort food staple a little healthier, too.

Make that produce last longer and get some extra vitamins by dicing up a few peppers, carrots or grape tomatoes to toss into your ramen. Depending on the flavor of your ramen, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, broccoli and cauliflower, scallions, and zucchini or squash also make good toppers. If you’d rather have your veggies a little steamed, put them in a microwavable safe bowl and drizzle a little water over the top to help them cook. It’s not the same as sauteeing or steaming over a stove, but your ramen will still probably taste better.

If you don’t have the cash for the grocery store, raid your campus dining hall. Pick out already chopped veggies from the salad bar, or ask for a piece of grilled chicken, fish or beef that you can wrap up and take home to your ramen. If you eat it cold, a side of light salad dressing can turn your ramen into a tasty pasta salad, too.

Ramen isn’t a terribly junkie meal, but it does need a little help in the vitamins and nutrients department. And of course, eating three packs for dinner won’t do anything for your daily caloric goals, either. If you’re craving something cheesy, sprinkle on some grated low-fat or skim cheese for warm gooey-ness without tons of fat and calories. And if you just want a snack, make the veggies or meat toppings the main part of your ramen dish, breaking off half of the pack for later.

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