Do you think that a vegetarian diet can’t meet your daily protein requirement? Many research studies have proved that a well planned vegetarian diet can provide you all the vital nutrients including proteins.
How much protein do you need every day?
According to National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is one gram per kilogram of body weight. So the amount of protein needed by the average Indian per day is approximately:
60 gm for a man who weighs 60 kg
55 gm for a woman who weighs 55 kg
However, the recommended daily allowance of protein for infants, teenagers and pregnant women are slightly different as the requirement of protein during childhood and pregnancy is higher. As per the NIN, here is the RDA of protein based on the weight of the average Indian child and woman:
For infants (0-6 months): 6.26 gm
Infants (6 -12 months): 14.20 gm
Children (1-3 years): 16.70 gm
Children (4-6 years): 20.10 gm
Children (7-9 years): 29.50 gm
Pregnancy and lactation
For pregnant woman: 78 gm
For lactating woman (0-6 months): 74 gm
For lactating woman (6-12 months): 68 gm
Here are some easily available vegetarian foods rich in proteins*:
1. Soya bean: 100 gm of cooked soya bean provides you around 37 gm of protein, which is equivalent to around 60% of the recommended daily allowance for a healthy adult. So if you are a vegetarian, ensure you make the most this food to load your protein intake.
2. Cheese and khoa: Who doesn’t like cheese? Cheese and khoa are one of the good sources of protein for vegetarians. 100 gm of cheddar cheese/khoa can give you 27 gm of protein. Add cheese to your salad or on your bread to enjoy a protein-rich breakfast.
3. Skimmed milk: A glass of skimmed milk is what you need to start your day with to ensure good amount of proteins. 100 gm of skimmed milk can provide you around 27 gm of proteins. You can also use whole milk powder to get the same amount of protein.
4. Legumes, beans, lentils and peas: Dal is a term used to refer to any lentils, pulses and beans including chole, rajma and green peas. It is one of the staple sources of protein and you can get 23 gm of proteins from 100 gm of cooked dal. But, eating the same old yellow dal or sambar or black dal every day can get a bit boring. So to get proteins from dal, stock your kitchen with different varieties of pulses such as green gram, red gram, black gram, bengal gram and lentils. You can also add sprouts and include foods like besan chila, idli and adai in your daily diet. .
5. Groundnuts, cashew nuts and almonds: Feeling hungry? Have a handful of roasted or boiled groundnuts or much few cashew nuts or almonds to satiate your hunger. Yes, nuts are rich in proteins and are regarded are one of the best sources for vegetarians. 100 gm of groundnuts can give you around 20 gm of proteins.
6. Paneer: Paneer is also a good source of protein for vegetarians because just 100 gm of paneer has around 19 gm of protein. So ensure you add paneer to your diet either as a paneer sandwich, paratha, curry or just add paneer cubes to your salad.
*Approximate values from NIN
Nutritive Value of Indian Foods-2012 & Indian Food Composition Tables-2017, ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad.
Murray RK, Bender DA, editors. Harper’s Illustrated Biochemistry. 28th ed. McGraw Hill LANGE; 009.
Nutrient requirements and recommended dietary allowances for Indians: A report of the expert group of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) (2010).