The body needs proteins, before and after workouts. HealthifyMe senior nutritionist Neha Jain explains, “Proteins are the building blocks of our body. You need them for the daily wear and tear of muscles, to speed up recovery and to gain strength.”
While we all know meat and eggs pack a high protein punch, there’s this misconception that a vegetarian meal plan comes up short. While vegetarians often feel that they have fewer choices, there are enough options available for them to meet their daily protein quota, says Neha.
Here are Neha’s top high protein picks for people who follow an Indian vegetarian diet:
They’re high in protein and fiber, and low in calories. Snack on them boiled, toss them into salads or puree into a yummy hummus.
Protein punch 7.3 gm per 1/2 cup serving
#2 Kidney beans
Kidney beans are a chock-a-block with protein, carbohydrates and fiber. Paired with boiled or steamed rice, Rajma-Chawal is an all time favourite dish in the Indian household. Apart from being delicious, it’s a wholesome meal, which can be enjoyed in the form of a curry, as a topping in salads, in enchiladas or in the form of a spicy chili.
Protein punch 7.5 gm per 1/2 cup serving
Got milk? If you do, you’re sure to do well on your protein test. Apart from being a rich source of protein, milk is rich in calcium and ensures good bone health, strong teeth, a healthy immune system and glowing skin. Avoid full-fat versions; look for skimmed options that have been fortified with vitamin D.
Protein Punch 8 gm per 1 cup serving
#4 Cottage Cheese
Paneer is to India what cheese is to the rest of the world. High in casein, a slow-digesting dairy protein, paneer also offers you a good amount of calcium, keeps you fuller for longer and helps burn more fat. Reason enough to have more? Add it to a vegetable preparation, toss it into sauteed vegetables or eat as it is.
Protein punch 14 gm per 1/2 cup serving
Indians can’t do without their dals, be it arhar, urad or moong. A part of almost every meal, lentils are an easy and inexpensive way of amping up your intake of protein, fiber and essential minerals. Serve with a side of rice or roti for a complete meal.
Protein Punch 9 gm per 1/2 cup serving
#6 Green Peas
Not many vegetables are as rich in protein as this winter staple. You get the protein and fiber from frozen green peas too, so go ahead and stash a bag in your freezer. Make sure you pick up the bag and check how the peas have been frozen – if you can feel them, they’re good to go; if not, they have been thawed and refrozen into a big chunk. Try Matar Paneer to boost your protein intake.
Protein Punch 7 gm per 1 cup serving
#7 Mixed Seeds
Seeds add crunch and quite a bit of protein to your meals. Choose from sesame, sunflower, pumpkin or poppy seeds – as they’re all high in protein and healthy fats. Apart from salads, you can also add them to raita, cereal or homemade granola.
Protein Punch 5-7.3 gm per quarter cup serving
Neha’s high protein sample menu
Getting your fix of protein minus the meat may seem to be tough but it really isn’t. Neha’s curated a list of food items that are high in protein with their calorific value! Incorporate these in your diet today:
- 300 ml skimmed milk/100 gm curd, 25 gm oats/porridge with 10 gm peanuts and 2 gm sesame/sunflower/flax seeds – Protein 19 gm
- 30 gm sprouts – Protein 7 gm
- 30g chickpeas/kidney beans, 100 gm curd, 1 oats chapati – Protein 16 gm protein
- Besan paneer cheela – Protein 12 gm
- Rajma salad, oat bran chapati, paneer bhurji – Protein 16 gm
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