Proteins are building blocks of our body. Every cell in the human body contains protein. A healthy adult requires around 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight.
While non-vegetarians get almost all essential amino acids through their meals, vegetarians have to carefully plan their diet to avoid protein deficiency. Don’t worry if you are a pure vegetarian, here’s a list of protein rich foods for you:
1 . Soya
Soya, popularly known as tofu, is one of the best sources of proteins for non-meat eaters. It has a whopping 40% protein content and 20% fat, most of which is unsaturated or good fat. Soya is best eaten as chunks in a serving of around 50 gm in meals, or can be included in evening snacks in the form of soya sticks.
2 . Pulses
Protein rich pulses such as Chana (Bengal gram), Rajma, Lentils (daals) are a must- eat for vegetarians in lunch and dinner. They are part of our traditional diets since centuries. 100 grams of pulses typically give 20-25 gm of protein and is recommended in every meal.
3 . Whole grains
Whole grains such as Rice, Wheat, Ragi and Maize form most of the staple Indian diets. Whole grains find their way almost invariably in our breakfast, lunch and dinner and give 6-12% proteins. Make sure you are taking unrefined and unpolished versions to ensure maximum health benefits. Eat a large bowl of these (100 gm) during breakfast and lunch and a small serving (50 gm) at dinner.
4 . Milk and milk products
Milk, curd, butter, cheese and paneer are all tasty and nearly complete proteins, which are available in many options. Paneer is one of the best forms, as it has much less saturated fat than butter and cheese. You can have it as a curry in main meals (50 gm at a time is enough) or relish it with sandwiches. Protein content is around 18%.
5 . Nuts
It’s great to go nuts over nuts, as they give much value in small quantities (20% protein content). Pistachios, almonds, cashews and groundnuts are great protein sources, along with minerals. Words of caution though, do not eat more than a handful (50 gm) daily as mid-meal snacks, to avoid getting fat.
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6 . Vegetables
Though vegetables are well known for their fibre content, some of them like spinach and broccoli do help in supplementing our daily need of proteins. Having 2-3 small servings of 50 gm daily will give you 2-7% proteins.
7 . Dry fruits
Dried apricots and raisins being rich in proteins, are good to munch on as snacks, but don’t consume them in heaps, as they are rich in carbohydrates as well. Eat them in 25 gm servings in the evenings preferably, and they’ll give you around 5% proteins.
So, go ahead and include these protein rich super foods in your daily diet and reap the benefits.