10 Healthy Alternatives to Maggi Noodles

Healthy alternatives to Maggi noodles

Healthy alternatives to Maggi noodles

Maggi, the brand owned by Nestle, has been synonymous with instant noodles for ages. Since the early 1980s, Maggi has been a one-stop solution to hunger pangs. From a breakfast dish to a midnight snack, it has been undoubtedly India’s favourite noodles. With the recent findings of MSG and lead in three of the nine variants of Maggi, all the Maggi products have been banned in the country.

Maggi will sorely be missed by many, like mothers who need to fix a quick snack, professionals who skip meals for work or bikers who need hot food in the far reaches of the country. What we have forgotten, however, is that a number of healthful and wholesome alternatives do exist. Here is a list of 10 foods that are quick to make, high in nutrient content and delectable to the palate.

1. Poha – Quick to make and ready in a jiffy, poha is a favourite from Maharashtra. What is interesting about poha is that a number of vegetables such as carrots, French beans, potatoes and peas can be added to the dish to make it colourful and exciting. While traditionally poha calls for addition of peanuts, those allergic to it can easily leave it out.

2. Roasted Vegetables in Focaccia – This one is for those who love to add crunch to their snacks. The addition of herbs and other ingredients such as olive makes Focaccia one of the favourite breads used for sandwiches. Add to it an assortment of roasted and lightly seasoned colourful vegetables to make it a great mid-meal bite. For a low calorie version, keep off the creamy dressings.

3. Idli – This steamed South Indian delight is among the top favourite breakfast dishes across the country. Made of rice and split Bengal gram, these dumplings are steam cooked, making it a great option for weight-watchers. With the batter prepared in advance, a batch of idli takes only about 15 minutes to prepare.

4. Omelettes – Each person has a favourite style of cooking egg. Omelettes, however, have been a much-loved snack across the world. To make your omelette crunchy and tasty, go ahead and add some shallots, olives, green pepper, jalapeños and tomatoes and sprinkle them some grated cheese. If calorie conscious, then just go low on the oil/fat but add seasoning and herbs to pep up a fluffy omelette.

5. Bread/Sooji Upma – It is another snack that can be cooked in a jiffy. Adding bread chunks or semolina to tempered onions and spices, along with coriander leave garnishing, is all it takes to make a hot, delicious upma. Team up your steaming upma with homemade tomato chutney or green mint/chilly chutney and cut down on the commercial sauces and ketchup accompaniments.

6. Chow Mein – For those times when nothing can beat the craving for noodles, chow mein is a great option. Chow mein is a versatile dish and there are numerous recipes available. Numerous ingredients (vegetables, meat, sauces, etc.) may be added to make delicious variety of chow mein. So experiment and surprise yourself. One word of caution – keep off the MSG.

7. Fruit Salad – By far the healthiest option as long as you cut down on the sugar and cream-based toppings. Seasonal fruits never fail to provide different twists and flavours to the fruit salad. Add honey to satisfy your sweet tooth and dig into a big bowl without guilt. Fruit salad take about 10 minutes to prepare and can be had anytime of the day.

8. Dalia Khichdi – Dalia Khichdi with lots of vegetables and traditional Indian spices such as ginger, bay leaves, cinnamon and star anise makes for a quick and filling dish – just the thing you need on a ‘too-lazy-to-cook’ day. With a prep time of about five minutes and a cooking time of 10 minutes, this is a perfect hunger buster.

9. Oats Porridge – Oats porridge is a traditional favourite and great for weight-watchers as it is high in satiety value. Oats for breakfast are also believed to help cut down cholesterol and tryglycide levels. Only a word of caution to those who add milk and sugar – move to low-fat skimmed milk and a touch of honey instead. Oats can also be cooked with spices or steamed into dhokla-like cakes accompanied with vegetables. Alternatively, try an instant oats dosa or add oats to spice up a traditional idli.

10. Bhel – This one is for those mothers who are scared of their kids’ tantrums. Now that Maggi is off-the-shelf, bhel is an all-time favourite with kids. Throw in some puffed rice, onions, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes and peanuts and spice it up with green chutney, tamarind sauce and herbs. Add bits of coconut, corn and chopped coriander leaves and your kids will surely keep coming back for more.

Despite rustling up these dishes, when the occasional ramen nostalgia hits you, do remember that a number of other instant noodles brands have been around for ages – Top Ramen (Nissin), Sunfeast Yippee (ITC) and Wai Wai (CG Foods). These have had a small but persistent presence at the grocery shelves across the years.

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