Nothing says ‘on a budget’ like a $2 12-pack of ramen.
We’ve launched a renewed savings initiative that entails working to control grocery and supply costs. It’s a top-three household expense, and the only expense that isn’t fixed.
It only made sense to pick up some ramen for the launch of our savings campaign.
Our first week target for food and supplies was $150. That’s in OKC, one of the least expensive metros in the country. Did we meet it? No. We spent about $180. That’s still under our old monthly budget target of $200/ week. I put the squeeze on this week and want to see how far $100 will stretch.
Yeah, sure, I want to save for medical emergencies and to pay down debt. Boring. We are determined to get to the ocean – and the Magic Kingdom – in the spring time.
Ramen has a rep in this country. It’s the butt of a joke. A symbol of college sustenance, or lack thereof.
When Mark and I lived in China for a year, we discovered an atmosphere in which noodle bowls had a lot more respect.
No, they don’t fill you up. The Chinese college students we taught found a way to hack noodle bowls that I will share here.
Depending on what your calorie intake goals are, you can eat the whole noodle bowl/ noodle cake, or, break it in half and save for later. I happen to still be tracking my cals on My Fitness Pal with a renewed sense of motivation given pending ocean trip. A whole ramen bowl/ cake is nearly 400 calories. Those calories don’t fill you up. The hack is a no-brainer: add protein. Add a lot of protein.
Half or whole bowl of ramen and seasoning
One to two boiled eggs
1 cup of spinach (Can use fresh or frozen. Just thaw frozen first)
Sriracha or similar red chili sauce. If you don’t have it, Frank’s Red Hot will also work
Rice vinegar or white vinegar
Break noodle cake in half/ use half the bowl (or not, if you want all the noodles)
Add boiled water (duh)
Place lid or plate to let noodles absorb (duh)
When ready, add 1 – 2 peeled boiled eggs. You can slice these up if you want. I just break them up with chopsticks or a fork.
Add Siracha or Frank’s Red Hot – 1 tbs or more if you like it hot
Add 1 tsp of vinegar, more to taste
Add 1 tsp of soy, more to taste
BAM. I was full until dinnertime.
If you’re watching your salt intake, this may not be the budget meal for you.
Eli, on account of cystic fibrosis, needs extra salt. Ramen could make a good snack for a CFer. That being said, at 2, no way he would tolerate the spice, vinegar or soy. He is allergic to eggs and fat chance on noodles and spinach. Maybe later, little buddy.
How do you hack ramen? Well, send me a note or leave a comment! xo