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Protein is an important macronutrient (or food group) that most of us do not get enough of. The other macronutrients (food groups) are carbohydrates and fat – we usually know where to get those from.
Protein is an important building block in the body, and its most well-known role is to build and repair muscle tissues. But it does so much more.
Protein is involved in most of the processes that occur within the body, and is important for many reasons including for the health of your bones, skin and hormones.
Proteins are made up of many amino acids, and each of these does many important jobs.
To fuel our daily activity, maintain good health, build muscle and lose excess fat, you need adequate amounts of protein. As a bonus, protein-rich foods keep you fuller for longer, so enough protein in the diet means fewer urges to snack on unhealthy foods.
It can be relatively harder to get enough protein as a vegetarian, but not impossible. Here are the high-protein vegetarian options you can pick from:
In addition to the high-protein options noted above, the following vegetarian foods have some protein and can help add a little more protein to your diet.
Lentils, beans and other legumes contain protein but also a relatively high amount of carbohydrates. In fact, the amount of carbohydrates they contain is much more (typically 3 to 5 times more) than the protein content. Take a look at the examples below:
This should be kept in mind so that you do not rely on them as your main source of protein. They can however certainly help to give you a little more protein in addition to the other high-protein options we have noted above.
The main non-vegetarian options of protein rich foods are:
Here is a summary of the high-protein foods you can pick from as well as how to measure a portion of these foods. Note – In the below paragraphs, when we refer to ‘1 fist’ we mean that you should measure the food against your fist and that size of serving is a portion of protein.
Aim to get at least 1 portion of protein with your lunch and dinner each day for good health and weight loss.
As part of a protein-rich diet for weight loss or for general health, you can plan to have a combination of at least two of the above sources of protein across 2 meals of the day. Here are some combinations that can be part of a protein-rich diet for weight loss and health, depending on your meal preference:
Eating a variety of protein foods is important
Protein is made up of amino acids. So when we say our bodies need protein, what we actually mean is we need to ensure we are getting all the amino acids our body needs. There are 20 amino acids in all, of which 9 are considered essential i.e. our body cannot manufacture them. These are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. We don’t need the same amount of each of these – we need a lot more of leucine, for example.
In order to ensure we are getting as complete a profile of amino acids as possible, eat a variety of protein-rich foods.
As an example, 10 kinds of vegetables, legumes, lentils, eggs, meat, milk, curd, cheese, seeds, nuts – if you consume all of these over the course of a week, you are doing great. All of these foods have protein in varying amounts and your body will combine them as required.
Here is a list of Indian dishes that are high-protein and that you can add to your daily diet.
Boiled egg curry
It is helpful to know how much protein you should aim for in a day.
It is recommended that you aim to get a minimum of 0.8-1 gram of protein per kg of body weight.
This means that if you weigh 70 kgs, you should aim to get 55-70 grams of protein each day. The ‘Dietary guidelines for India’ published by the National Institute of Nutrition also suggests a protein intake in this range.
This can seem like a big challenge, but let us show you how you can get close to this even with a pure vegetarian diet.
We have noted below a day’s diet plan along with the approximate protein content in grams against each meal. This protein-rich diet plan focuses on Indian vegetarian foods.
As you can see it is certainly possible to get enough protein in your diet with some advance planning. The key is to recognize the importance of protein-rich foods and be sure to include at least one such food in each of your main meals. Use the protein-rich foods noted in this article to add more protein in your daily life.
Use the ideas in this article to add more protein rich food for weight loss into your daily diet. As we have shown, protein rich food for a veg or non-veg eater are plenty. The key is to include them as part of your daily meals on a consistent basis.
If you’re reading this, we know that your health is a high priority for you.
At Daily9 our focus is helping you achieve weight loss in a way that lasts. Without doing anything extreme and by sticking to the Indian way of eating. You will see that in the food ideas and diet plan provided above, we have focused on Indian cuisine (along with a few examples of international protein-rich dishes) and simple yet delicious recipes. This is a practical approach that recognizes the reality of our busy daily lives. In our program we recognize this fact and help you make better choices while also enjoying it. This makes Daily9 easy to follow in the long run and helps you with both weight loss and weight maintenance.
We’ve worked with thousands of Indian men and women and understand the unique challenges they face when trying to lose weight or find a weight loss diet plan. You can see some of our success stories here. TheDaily9 systemis proven to work with weight loss and also many health conditions that Indian men and women face like digestive issues, diabetes, PCOS, thyroid, fatty liver and joint problems from excess weight.
Most importantly, the Daily9 weight loss diet plan is practical and suits an Indian family environment.
If you’re looking for a scientific and practical approach to weight loss, take a look at theDaily9 coaching program. It’s the only program that helps with weight loss and weight maintenance.
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