We’re going to again stress the fact that Indians are deficient in protein. You can read a blog by our expert Saurabh on this here. But this blog is not about the deficiency, but rather it’s about how one can easily get enough protein through small changes in diets. By making high protein foods a part of your schedule.
It is also important to understand why you need protein. Protein are essentially amino acids, which on breaking up aids in muscle wear-tear and building, metabolism and immunity strength. Without focussing on why it’s important, let’s see which commonly available foods are rich in protein and can be easily included in our diets.
Lentils & pulses
What we commonly call “Daal” or “chana” (chickpeas) are surprisingly rich protein foods. With over 15 gm of protein in a cup, this makes around 25-40% of daily protein intake for a person. Similarly, various lentils ( tuar daal, moong daal, black daal ) and grams ( rajma, chana, kidney beans ) are a great source of protein. You can read more about yellow daal’s nutritional fact sheet here.
So next time while having your lunch or dinner, do think – Where is my daal? Or add 2 scoops of sprouted beans during your snack rather than unhealthy snacking.
Note: Not only are these good in protein, but also rich in fibre, iron, and vitamins. Hence makes is easy to digest and light on stomach. ( of course well cooked)
We have lot of dairy products in our daily diet. Products such as: curd/ yogurt, paneer ( cottage cheese), cheese and milk are great sources of protein. Focus on specific aspects of it – while having lunch or dinner, add a raita( yogurt with veggies/ fruits or spices ) to it, or focus on paneer more rather than gravy next time you go out in a restaurant.
Note: these are also great sources of calcium generally making up for your bones as well. Also, if you’re buying a yogurt next, do look for a low fat version.
Nuts & Seeds
Highly underrated and unrecognized, but common dry fruit nuts are super protein rich. They also contain a good amount of healthy fats, which helps the body – skin as well. Also, they are easily available and make great munching/ snacking option. So are seeds such as: sunflower seeds or sesame seeds. Keep a jar of mixed dry fruits – a mix of almond ( badam), cashew ( kaju) pistachio, walnuts (akhrod) and even groundnut ( moongfali) at your work desk – munch them while you’re thinking of snacking unhealthy biscuits or fried stuff. You can also add them to your morning bowl of muesli or cornflakes.
Note: They will make up for your lost protein content, as well as good fats and are energy packed – that means make great for traveling, hiking etc.
Another commonly available source of India, vegetarian protein is soya or tofu. They’re easily available and can be made into a number of Indian curries as a substitute for paneer or potato.
Whole Grains/ Old grains
This is important – there were some grains part of our diet but have recently been overlooked. These include – oats, bajra (millets) whole wheat and ragi. They have a higher fiber content as well making them very easy to digest.
Oats contain around 16 gm of protein/ 100 gm compared to 12 gm in wheat atta. Millets have similar proteins but are rich in vitamin B & magnesium.
Note: Make laddoos, with these. Also, replace your wheat atta with a multigrain atta to get more protein and fiber now in your chapatis!
At the end we would like to highlight the fact that these sources told above are easily available and can be included in your diet. The question you should ask while having a meal is – where is my protein! Ask this for a week and you’ll unconsciously include high protein in your diet. So – keep munching nuts, eat whole grains and get your body up and running to take care of your hectic schedule!