Udon noodles are a classic favorite in Asian cuisine. The chewy noodles are often served soaked in a comforting broth or mixed with a delicious savory sauce and make a delicious meal. While we can all agree that udon noodles are delicious, is udon healthy?
Udon can be very healthy as long as the noodles are portioned right and mixed with a fair amount of protein - a serving of udon noodles has about 310 calories, with 7 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 69 grams of carbohydrates.
I wrote this guide to share some tips to make low calorie Udon dishes that are great for weight loss. Specifically, I’ll be sharing recipes that have a high protein and low calorie content.
In this guide we’ll look at:
- How to Modify Udon Dishes to be Healthy via the Fitsian Method
- Top Healthy Udon Recipes
How to Make Low Calorie Udon Recipes via the Fitsian Method
Staying fit doesn't mean you have to avoid eating udon noodles. I often eat udon during the week by following a few principles to keep my meals healthy, low calorie, and macro-focused. Here are some principles I follow:
- Portion Control Noodles: When using udon noodles, I often use half a pack of noodles, which is about 150 calories, while bulking up the rest of the dish with protein to keep myself full. This way, I can still enjoy a healthy amount of carbs and intake enough to fuel my workouts without feeling heavy. Note: I find half a pack of noodles to be the right portion for my body (I'm a 5'4 active female), but feel free to use the amount that suits you.
- Opt for Lean Meats: I usually use skinless chicken thigh and seafoods as these are the leaner and more protein dense compared to other protein sources. For example, bone in skin on chicken thigh is 240 calories compared to 130 calories for the same amount of boneless skinless chicken thigh. I occasionally also use beef and take care to portion that carefully when I do.
- Higher Ratio of Protein: Given the smaller amount of noodles, people often wonder if the meal will be filling enough. But by making the dish more protein heavy, you should easily feel satisfied given that protein is scientifically proven to make your body feel the most full among the three macros. It directly reduces ghrelin, the hormone in your body that causes us to feel hungry. In one study, increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of calories made overweight women eat 441 fewer calories each day without intentionally restricting anything. Check out this article on hunger hormones to learn more.
- Adding Vegetables: Vegetables are a great way to round out the dish and feel more full without adding too much additional calories. Some of my favorites to add include shallots, onions, carrots, and mushrooms to name a few.
- Substituting, Portioning or Omitting High Calorie Ingredients: Some high calorie ingredients can be omitted or substituted without sacrificing the flavor of the dish too drastically. For example, heavy cream, which is often included in creamy mentaiko udon, can easily be omitted and substituted with plain greek yogurt.
Top 10 Healthy Udon Recipes
Chicken Yaki Udon is a delicious and simple protein packed Japanese stir-fried dish — complete with juicy chicken mixed with an umami soy-based sauce, chewy udon noodles, and a creamy egg.
So what does the nutrition profile for yaki udon look like? Is yaki udon healthy?
Let's take a look at the nutrition breakdown of the yaki udon:
Yaki Udon can be a very healthy dish, consisting of only 414 calories predominantly coming from the 33 grams of proteins from the chicken and egg and 47 grams of carbs from the noodles, making it a well-balanced and nutritious dish. The key to making this dish help rather than hinder progress towards your fitness goals is portioning each ingredient mindfully and using the right type of protein.
Check out my recipe for chicken yakiudon to see how I portioned this recipe.
Mentaiko udon is a popular izakaya dish made with chewy udon noodles mixed with a delicious umami mentaiko cream sauce that is both creamy and briny in taste. This dish is undeniably delicious. By making it with greek yogurt, you got you can have a lower calorie version of the dish.
So what does the nutrition profile for this mentaiko cream udon look like? Is creamy mentaiko udon healthy?
Let's take a look at the nutrition breakdown of the mentaiko udon:
Mentaiko udon can be a very healthy dish, consisting of 415 calories, with 17 grams of protein, 21 grams of fat, and 40 grams of carbs. This makes a great way to satisfy your cravings for this usually indulgent dish without breaking your calorie budget. The key to making this dish help rather than hinder progress towards your fitness goals is to substitute high calorie ingredients and portion control mindfully.
Check out healthy mentaiko udon recipe to see how I modified this recipe to be low calorie.
Kimchi carbonara udon is perfect for kimchi lovers and super easy to make. The salty, delicious Kimchi flavor paired with the creamy texture of an egg coated on the chewy udon noodles makes a truly mouthwatering recipe.
So what does the nutrition profile for kimchi carbonara udon look like? Is kimchi carbonara udon healthy?
Let's take a look at the nutrition breakdown of the kimchi carbonara:
Kimchi carbonara can be a yummy low calorie dish, consisting of 268 calories, with 13 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, and 43 grams of carbs.
Pair it with a poached egg for a creamy like texture and additional protein. Check out my recipe for kimchi carbonara to see how I made mine.
Japanese Curry Udon
This instant pot Japanese curry is one of my favorite weekday meals — paired with some juicy chicken thigh and some chewy udon noodles, this recipe makes for a well-balanced meal that is as easy as it is delicious. It's usually not very healthy as curry sauce usually has a high amount of fat and carbs. But with a few modifications, we can make it healthy and low calories.
So what does the nutrition profile for this curry udon look like? Is curry udon healthy?
Let's take a look at the nutrition breakdown of the curry udon:
This Japanese curry udon can be a very healthy dish, consisting of 440 calories, with 28 grams of protein, 11 grams of fat, and 56 grams of carbs, making a great well-rounded meal. However, the key to making this dish help rather than hinder progress towards your fitness goals is picking the right cut of chicken and portioning ingredients mindfully.
Check out Japanese curry udon recipe to see how I modified this recipe to be lower in calories.
Korean Miso Carbonara
A Korean twist on the popular miso carbonara, this delicious Korean Miso Carbonara Udon (aka Doenjang Carbonara) is deliciously creamy and umami. Best of all, this dish comes together in less than 15 minutes, perfect for when you’re in a hangry mood.
So what does the nutrition profile for this doenjang carbonara look like? Is doenjang carbonara healthy?
Let's take a look at the nutrition breakdown of the doenjang carbonara:
Korean miso (doenjang) carbonara can be a very healthy dish, consisting of 267 calories, with 14 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, and 37 grams of carbs, making it a delicious and low calorie dish.
Check out my Korean Miso carbonara to see how I put this recipe together.
Pepper Lunch with Udon
Pepper lunch is a popular meal, served on a sizzling plate with raw beef slices that you cook and mix into a delicious garlic soy and/or honey soy sauce, and is often served with an egg and udon noodles.
So what does the nutrition profile for pepper lunch udon look like? Is pepper lunch healthy?
Let's take a look at the nutrition breakdown of the Pepper Lunch udon:
This pepper lunch udon can be a very healthy well-rounded dish, consisting of 521 calories, with 33 grams of protein, 23 grams of fat, and 44 grams of carbs. Given the relatively higher calorie ingredients in this recipe, portioning the recipe carefully is key to making it fit-friendly.
Check out my healthy Pepper Lunch recipe to see how I put this recipe together.
Beef Sukiyaki with Udon
Nothing is quite as comforting and warming as a delicious pot of beef sukiyaki. Chock full of deliciously simmered vegetables and flavored beef slices, and paired with a poached egg and chewy udon noodles, I couldn’t ask for a more delicious, well balanced meal.
So what does the nutrition profile for beef sukiyaki look like? Is beef sukiyaki healthy?
Let's take a look at the nutrition breakdown of beef sukiyaki:
Beef sukiyaki can be a delicious and nutritious meal with mindful portioning; in my recipe, a serving is about 545 calories with 35 grams of protein, 20 grams of fat, and 54 gram of carbs. Given the higher calorie ingredients in this recipe, portioning is key to making this fit friendly.
Check out my low calorie beef sukiyaki recipe to see how I portioned this recipe.
Garlic Udon Noodles
Garlic shrimp noodles are a Southeast Asian favorite. Nothing is more satisfying than the umami garlic flavor coating the chewy noodles paired with the succulent shrimps and making it with chewy udon noodles makes this dish irresistible.
So what does the nutrition profile for garlic udon noodles look like? Is garlic udon healthy?
Let's take a look at the nutrition breakdown of this garlic udon noodle recipe:
This garlic shrimp udon can be a very healthy dish, consisting of 322 calories, with 34 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and 42 grams of carbs. By adding a decent amount of lean protein (ie. shrimp in this case), I'm able to make this high in proteins and low in calories.
Check out my low calorie garlic udon recipe to see how I put this recipe together.
Ssamjang Cream Udon
Ssamjang cream udon is a delicious fusion creation that combines the savory Korean ssamjang paste with some cream and chewy udon noodles. This dish is spicy, low calorie, and super easy to make.
So what does the nutrition profile for ssamjang cream udon look like? Is ssamjang cream udon healthy?
Let's take a look at the nutrition breakdown of the ssamjang cream udon:
This ssamjang pasta is a very low calorie dish, consisting of 295 calories, with 7 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat, and 38 grams of carbs. Given the lower protein content of this dish, I'd recommend serving it with a side of bulgogi grilled chicken thighs, which would only add about 160 calories while making this an overall well-rounded meal. By portioning higher calorie ingredients mindfully, I was able to make this a satisfying low calorie meal.
Nabeyaki udon is the classic Japanese comfort food -- full of vegetables, chicken, and chewy udon noodles served in a dashi-based broth, this recipe is as comforting as it is healthy.
So what does the nutrition profile for nabeyaki udon look like? Is nabeyaki udon healthy?
Let's take a look at the nutrition breakdown of nabeyaki udon:
Nabeyaki udon is a great healthy noodle soup dish -- one serving is about 383 calories with 32 grams of protein, 16 grams of fat, and 39 grams of carbs using the portions and ingredients above. I made this dish more protein focused by adding a good portion of chicken and a smaller amount of noodles.
Leave a Reply