Vegetarian Protein Rich Foods:
The hunt for protein-rich foods especially in Indian Vegetarian Cuisine is now on a higher side. With lots of aspirants for weight loss and many moving towards healthy lifestyles, I have been asked to make a post of Vegetarian Protein Rich Foods along with recipes suitable for all ages. The information below has been collected from various resources and provided to the best of my knowledge. The information mentioned here can never replace medical practitioner advice. Always consult your doctor and proceed as per his/her advice.
What is protein?
Before we get into the protein-rich recipes, let’s see the answers for some of the basic questions about proteins. Proteins are one of three major macronutrients which our body needs(The other two being carbohydrates and fats). They are the building blocks of our body and they are composed of amino acids.
Why do we need protein-rich foods?
Proteins are essential to building the cells of the body and ensures proper growth. They repair and maintain the cells of the body. Our body needs proteins every day as they don’t store it.
How much protein do we need daily?
A recommended level of protein ranges from 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight [2.2 lbs.] to 2 grams of protein per kilogram for very active athletes. The amount of protein each person needs on a day to day basis differs. The protein requirement is largely dependent on the metabolism and activity level of every individual.
Are protein supplements a good option?
Supplements can only be supplements which you can choose based on proper medical advice for a temporary duration. As I always keep saying anything which is processed and packed, not local and traditional can’t be the right source of nutrition. Rely on naturally available local, seasonal, traditional foods for daily requirements.
My personal take on protein-rich foods:
Even before I sat down to read and research to write about this topic, my constant answer for protein-rich foods would be all our legumes ( urad dhal, toor dhal, moong dhal, chickpeas, groundnuts), millets, traditional rice varieties and not quinoa or avocado or even flax seeds. The reason being, the former is our own traditional and local food which we have been eating for ages whereas others are not natural or locally cultivated. I would say always, our breakfast of idly with sambhar and chutney is the perfect complete meal with more confidence. Idly is made of rice and urad dhal (Carbs +Protein+Calcium), Sambhar is dhal, spices, vegetables (Protein, Vitamins & Minerals). Cooked with gingelly oil or added with chutney we get the essential fats too, tempered with curry leaves which is loaded with iron. Our body needs carbohydrates too. The only issue here is the inactive lifestyle we follow which doesn’t let the carbohydrates to get burnt. What more would you need to make it wholesome, healthy and nutritious with idly? But with growing fad diets we would be happy to choose some packed museli or that foreign quinoa or two minutes oats to idly or dosa or roti. I am so against any fad diet. Now after having read through several articles and research papers to pen down this post, my idea on our foods being wholesome or idly being the king of breakfast has got even more proof.
Vegetarian Protein Rich Foods:
Here is the list of foods which are high in protein and then we shall check out the recipes in no particular order. Click the recipe name or the recipe image to get step by step procedure along with detailed images.
Black Gram Dhal/Whole Urad dhal:
This is my good to go ingredients for both calcium and protein. With skin, nutrition is more. I am adding below the recipes of both skinned and white.
White Soyabean is said to be great in protein content and so is tofu. Here are some recipes with white soya bean and tofu.
The controversy around soy/tofu consumption:
Tofu is basically from soy milk and is said to be an alternative to cows milk. It is similar to paneer or cottage cheese. It is a rich source of proteins and fibres. It is heart-friendly as it reduces LDL cholesterol. It is said to reduce the chances of cancer, diabetes and improves bone health. It is nutrient-dense. After a lot of reading all that I would conclude about tofu, consumption is It is safe it is not processed/genetically modified and moderately used. And all the controversies or cons of soy is only with the genetically modified and processed soy products. Natural soybean as such or unprocessed tofu will do no harm. It can be a rare ingredient.
Red Soya Bean/Rajma Beans
Moong(Green/yellow) & Toor Dhal:
This is a pulse variety used daily in most of our kitchens and here are some recipes with them. Sprouted green moong being my topmost favourite.
Each millet is a powerhouse of nutrition and you can find 40 millets recipes to be included daily here.
Millets can be used in a variety of ways to make idly, dosa to even cakes and cookies. They are not just good in protein but also rich in calcium and minerals too.
In my post on Amarnath cookies, you would find a line saying it satisfies daily protein requirements. This is nothing but thandu keerai or mullai keerai in Tamil
Brown Rice and traditional rice varieties:
Here is brown rice biryani recipe. Many of our traditional hand pound rice varieties are very much rich in protein
Vegetables & Greens:
All beans like cluster beans, french beans, broad beans, mocha, karamani and green leafy vegetables like moringa leaves, agathi keerai, curry leaves, ponnangani keerai, mint and coriander are also sources of protein. Yam, Arbi , green peas and jack fruit seeds also have good amount of protein.
Dry Fruits, Nuts & Seeds:
The most favourite in this category is groundnuts. Other than that sunflower seeds, sesame seeds,pista, cashews, walnuts and almonds have a good amount of protein. Taking a bowl of peanut sundal or having some plain roasted peanuts or soaked almonds or adding some sunflower seeds to your salads will help a lot.
Milk & Milk Products:
Though I am totally away from milk, I do include milk products in my daily food. Most of the protein-rich suggestions for milk-based products would be cheese (processed) and greek yoghurt. But since they are not preservative free /natural or homemade. So I would prefer homemade natural ones like curd, paneer and cheese
Some Paneer Recipes are here
Choose the recipe based on your health and age.
All of the recipes can be given to babies above 6 months(except sugar, salt, honey & milk)
Always have a word with your doctor before introducing any new food to your baby.
I am not an expert or a professional and this will not replace any doctor’s advice.
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