A lot of you who are prepping probably have ramen lying around in your cupboard. Perhaps it has crossed your mind: Is ramen a good survival food?
You might have memories of being in college and eating instant ramen noodles for the convenience, and because you were, well, a poor college student. But as an adult, is it prudent to stock up on ramen for a survival situation?
In this article we will talk about how ramen stacks up in terms of nutrition and shelf-life, and whether it should be a food you consider stocking up on.
Nutritional Value of Ramen
Well first of all, we believe there are better options for survival foods. But maybe you already have ramen, or you are looking for an ultra cheap, convenient option.
In terms of nutrition, ramen is not very nutritious. It is extremely high in sodium (you’ll get your recommended daily intake of sodium in one serving) and MSG.
Ramen is also low in fiber and protein, so your meals will not be filling. Besides nutrition, you are ideally looking for something that give you the sensation of fullness for a long time.
Instant ramen noodles also contain Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), which is a preservative. Many studies have shown long-term negative effects with prolonged exposure to TBHQ. Also associated with high blood pressure and increased abdominal obesity.
However, all is not lost when it comes to ramen as a survival food. If you are looking purely to get calories in your system, instant ramen is a decent option for its price. In fact, you will get roughly twice the calories per gram of ramen vs white rice.
But keep in mind that instant ramen is a worse source of calories than other grains such as pasta.
How long does Ramen last?
Because of the oil in the noodles, they tend not to last very long. In addition, instant noodles tend to come with little packets of vegetable that absorb moisture. So instant noodles are different from, say, spam, which can be eaten way past the expiration date.
Ramen lasts about 6-12 months from manufacturing as a baseline. Beyond that, it will depend on if you can keep it stored in a cool, dry place.
How to store Ramen
The simple answer is to just keep the same packaging. The shelf life of ramen is rather short to begin with, so it’s best to just rotate your stock of ramen.
If you are thinking about long-term storage in a #10 can with mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, we would recommend against it. Because of the pockets of air in ramen, even oxygen absorbers won’t do a ton of good.
Pasta and rice will store much better than ramen and because they are more compact, you can get much more nutrition per volume.
Pros of Ramen as a Survival Food
Ramen has several characteristics that make it a decent survival food. These include:
- Doesn’t require refrigeration- The recent power outages across the country show us that refrigeration is not a guarantee.
- Can eat out of bag- While most of us prefer eating ramen after boiling it in water, it IS possible to eat out of the bag. If you need quick calories and energy, ramen gets the job done.
- Super inexpensive- There’s a reason ramen is known in popular culture as a food for the struggling student or artist. It’s cheap. If you are prepping on a budget, ramen has its place.
Instant ramen noodles are convenient and easy to eat out of the bag. While ramen does not last incredibly long, having a few packets handy in case of an emergency is not the worst option. In many ways it is purely an emergency food.
Keeping in mind that ramen is not conducive to a long shelf life, you are much better off storing rice or pasta. The lack of nutritional value of ramen is also concerning. But if you are absolutely set on buying instant noodles, choose whole grain varieties for higher fiber. And consider adding chicken or green beans to your ramen for added nutrition.
Anyway, what are you guys doing? Are instant ramen noodles a part of your prepping plan?