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are glass noodles healthy

Are glass noodles healthy? It can be pretty frustrating when someone tells you to stop eating rice and noodles because they’re not healthy, they are carbs and carbs are bad. Especially if you’ve been enjoying them your whole life. It might even feel like a personal attack. Rice and noodles may be all the carbs you know, and now you’re being told to give them up. It’s understandable to wonder, “What else can I eat now?” Well, I’m here to tell you that making changes can be challenging, but there are still ways to enjoy noodles in your diet. Glass noodles, for example, can be a great option if you’re looking for a blood-sugar friendly, healthier alternative.

What are Glass Noodles?

Glass noodles, also known as cellophane noodles or bean thread noodles, are a type of transparent noodle made from mung bean starch, water, and sometimes a bit of tapioca or potato starch. They look clear, hence the name glass noodles and they have a chewy texture. Most commonly used in many loved dishes like egg roll filling, stir-fries, jap chae, pleev choj and much more.

Nutritional Content of Glass Noodles

  • Calories: 160 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 39.3 grams
  • Protein: 0.076 grams
  • Fat: 0.019 grams
  • Fiber: 0.9 grams
  • Phosphorus: 13.3 mg
  • Potassium: 3.8 mg

Yes, Glass Noodles are Carbs

Noodles are carbs, and carbs aren’t the enemy some folks make them out to be. Carbs fuel our bodies, and they’re found in all sorts of foods like:

  • Fruits
  • Rice
  • Grains
  • Starchy veggies
  • Noodles
  • Sugar and highly processed carbs such as candy, sweets, pastries, drinks

There are healthier options of carbs and there are healthier ways to prepare carbs. And then there are the “sometimes treat” carbs, as I see them.

The Glycemic Index of Glass Noodles

Not all Carbs are Created Equal

It’s important to remember that not all carbs are the same. Different types of carbs have different effects on our bodies, because of things like:

  • Fiber content
  • Resistant starch
  • Glycemic index

This is why it’s important to focus on balanced meals that include a variety of nutrient-dense, healthy foods.

Are Glass Noodles and Vermicelli Noodles the Same?

Glass noodles and vermicelli noodles may look alike, but they are different. Vermicelli noodles are made from rice flour, while glass noodles are made from vegetable starches. This means they have different textures and nutritional value.

The best way to tell glass noodles and vermicelli noodles apart is to read the ingredients list on the package. Glass noodles are made from vegetable starches and will list ingredients such as mung bean starch and potato starch as the main ingredient, while vermicelli noodles will have rice flour as the primary ingredient. Knowing what each type of noodle is made from can help you choose the right one.

Balancing Glass Noodles in Asian Cuisine

To make a healthy meal with mung bean noodles, you need to add other foods that give you the nutrients your body needs. In Asian cooking, this is easy to do. Just mix the noodles with:

  1. Lean proteins: Add chicken, shrimp, tofu, or lean cuts of beef or pork to your noodle dishes for a protein boost.
  2. Vegetables: Incorporate a mix of colorful vegetables like bok choy, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, and bean sprouts to increase the fiber, vitamin, and mineral content of your meals.
  3. Healthy fats: Use moderate amounts of heart-healthy oils like sesame oil or vegetable oil for cooking, and top your dishes with chopped nuts or sesame seeds for added healthy fats.
  4. Herbs and spices: Enhance the flavor of your mung bean noodle dishes with herbs and spices like ginger, garlic, cilantro, and chili peppers, which also offer various health benefits.

Some examples of balanced glass noodle meals include:

  • Vietnamese Noodle Salad (Gỏi Miến): A refreshing salad made with glass noodles, shrimp, cucumber, carrots, and a zesty lime dressing.
  • Japchae: A popular Korean stir-fried dish featuring sweet potato noodles (which are similar to mung bean noodles), vegetables, and beef or tofu, seasoned with low sodium soy sauce and sesame oil.
  • Pad Woon Sen: A Thai stir-fried glass noodle dish with vegetables, protein (like chicken or shrimp) and use low sodium sauces.
  • Pleev Choj: A Hmong stir-fried glass noodles dish with vegetables and lean ground pork.

By combining glass noodles with a balance of lean proteins, vegetables, healthy fats, and flavorful herbs and spices, you can create nutritious and satisfying meals.

Bottom Line

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