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HomeFoodExploring Vegetarian Protein Sources: A Comprehensive Guide

Exploring Vegetarian Protein Sources: A Comprehensive Guide


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You Can Obtain Enough Of Protein From A Vegetarian Diet If You Know Where To Look. This Article Will Walk You Through The Many Types Of Plant-Based Protein, Their Nutritional Advantages, And How To Include Them In Your Diet To Get The Necessary Amount Of Protein.

The current population of India has become highly conscious about what they include in their diet and how they can create a balance between different nutrients for the best outcome.

Protein has always been a popular nutrient group for anyone looking to build and sustain a healthy body. However, the common misconception that most vegetarians have about the available protein foods in India is that their choices are limited to more than just a cottage cheese (paneer) diet to meet their protein requirements.

This is a clear indication that even with the growing need to consume protein-rich foods for a healthy body, the awareness around the availability of different high-protein veg foods in India still needs to be improved.

Need for A Good Vegetarian Protein Diet:

According to an online research survey, around 31% to 42% of the Indian population today is vegetarian. In 2022, the percentage of vegetarians in the Indian population stood at only 24%, clearly indicating the shifting preferences of the country’s people from meat-rich diets to vegetarian diets.

Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays an integral role in your day-to-day life. From metabolic and hormonal management to immunity and tissue regeneration, consuming a protein diet is crucial for a healthy body, regardless of the diet you consume.

A protein diet allows the body to form amino acids that are also called the building blocks for the body’s well-being. This diet also takes longer to digest, allowing the body to feel fuller for longer, and reduces cravings and binge eating to a bare minimum.

For most non-vegetarians, consuming meat alone fulfils a significant percentage of the recommended daily dietary intake of protein. For vegetarians, the options for high-protein vegetarian foods in India are plenty, but the list has yet to be discovered to many.

Recommended Dietary Allowance of Protein-Rich Food:

As per most dietitians and general physicians, the recommended protein intake for every individual should always range between 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight and 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

This range increases based on individual health goals like muscle building and regular workouts, etc. For example, for an individual who weighs 65 kilograms, the protein intake range would be between 52 grams to 117 grams.

Let us look at the recommended dietary allowance for different age groups and genders below.

Category Recommended Protein Intake (in Grams)
Children between the ages of 1 to 3 years 13 grams
Children between the ages of 4 to 8 years 19 grams
Children between the ages of 9 to 13 years 34 grams
Girls between the ages of 14 to 18 years 46 grams
Boys between the ages of 14 to 18 years 52 grams
Women between the ages of 19 to 70+ years 46 grams
Men between the ages of 19 to 70+ years 56 grams

Benefits of Protein-Rich Food for Vegetarians:

Reduces Cravings – Protein-rich food, when consumed daily, increases the body’s ability to reduce cravings for effective weight loss. When you eat a high volume of protein, it suppresses your appetite by reducing the amount of hunger hormone called ghrelin. This results in a lasting feeling of fullness, which prevents unnecessary food indulgence.

Promotes Fat Burn – When you indulge in high-protein vegetarian foods in India, the time taken to digest the protein is higher than other nutrients and requires more energy. This increases the metabolic rate for better and effective digestion, which results in faster fat burn of additional calories, helping you manage your weight better.

Improves Bone Health – One of the most essential nutrients, after calcium, that impacts bone health is protein. Regular consumption of protein in adequate quantity encourages the prevention of bone-related diseases like osteoporosis.

Increases Body Muscle Mass – Protein promotes muscular development, especially during workouts revolving around strength training. Additionally, protein also helps build and manage muscle mass to accommodate healthy weight loss through fat-burning only, without muscle loss.

Faster Recovery – Protein-rich foods are necessary as they provide the body with ample support to facilitate faster tissue repair and healing, fight infections, control internal wear and tear, and more. Especially for people with an active lifestyle or athletic outlook, consuming protein is a must.

Helps Reduce Blood Pressure – Other than improving the metabolic rate of the body and maintaining muscle mass while curbing hunger pangs, protein also helps reduce blood pressure, decreasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, etc.

List of Best Protein Foods for Vegetarians:

For anyone looking to adopt a vegetarian diet, you will be amazed to find the wide variety of protein foods in the Indian market today.

From protein-rich fruits and vegetables to multiple whole grains and seeds, the list of options can help you curate endless recipes in just a few quick steps.

Here is a detailed list to help you customise your vegetarian protein diet plan.

Legumes and Beans:

One of the best organic sources of protein is different types of legumes and pulses. The country’s favourite Rajma Curry (kidney beans) and Channa Masala (chickpeas curry) fall under this category. All the different kinds of lentils are also part of this group, and each of them offers a good percentage of protein for daily consumption.

Chickpeas- One cup of boiled or cooked chickpeas consists of approximately 14.5 grams of protein. They can be combined with salads, curries, or dips to make a tasty dish. They are also rich in calcium and fibre.

Red Kidney Beans (Rajma)- Each cup of boiled rajma has a protein content of approximately 15 grams. When combined with spices to make a curry, the protein value slightly increase and it can be added to a salad or cooked as a curry.

Lentils (Dal)- Every cup of dal/ lentils consists of over 18 grams of protein and can be eaten with any Indian bread or rice to make it a fulfilling meal. They are also a rich source of fibre, which promotes healthy digestion.

Black Kidney Beans- One cup of black kidney beans consists of around 16 grams of protein. They are commonly used in Mexican dishes but can also be added to different salads for a fulfilling meal.

Whole Grains:

Incorporating whole grains in every meal is an excellent way of giving your body all the proper nutrients in appropriate amounts. Most whole grains contain a good amount of protein to make the meal’s protein index higher to meet body requirements.

The common list of whole grains that fall under high-protein vegetarian foods in India includes-**

Quinoa- One cup of cooked quinoa without any salt and spices contains over 8 grams of protein. It is commonly consumed with some curry or as a base for different salads for evening snacks or dinner meals.

Oats- When you cook 1 cup of oats with some water, the protein content in the meal goes up to almost 11 grams. Oatmeal is commonly considered a breakfast food and is prepared by adding fruits, seeds, nuts, and healthy sweeteners to kickstart the day the right way.

Millets- There are over 11 types of millets available in India, including bajra, barri, kangni, jowar, etc. They are all consumed as either snacks after roasting them or as components to different salads. Additionally, people also grind the millets together to make chapatis (flatbread) out of it to eat with curries.

Barley- Along with being a great source of protein (over 4 grams of protein), barley is a rich source of magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, making it a great addition to your diet to fulfil your nutritional needs.

Seeds and Nuts:

When it comes to healthy snacking, consuming roasted or raw seeds and nuts is an effective way to give your body the right amount of nutrients every day.

Some of the top seeds and nuts that are a great source of protein include-**

Almonds- 100 grams of almonds has over 21 grams of protein. Individuals should consume at least 6 to 8 soaked almonds every day, giving them around 2.5 grams of protein.

Peanuts- For every 100 grams of peanuts, you get over 26 grams of protein. You can add them to Indian snacks like Bhelpuri or salads to add a crunch.

Cashews- The protein in 100 grams of cashews is around 18.2 grams. You can eat them raw, roasted, or add them to dips. An important thing to remember is that cashews also contain saturated fat, and thus, sticking to consuming 10-15 cashews in a day is recommended.

Walnuts- Often consumed in the form of pesto sauce, 100 grams of walnuts get you approximately 15 grams of protein. You can add them to salads or just soak them overnight to have them every morning for an energy and protein boost.

Sunflower Seeds- Roasted sunflower seeds are a great source of protein and contain over 19 grams of protein.

Pumpkin Seeds- Pumpkin seeds are commonly added to salads and smoothies for an instant protein boost, as they contain over 19 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Chia Seeds- Every tablespoon of chia seeds contains around 3 grams of protein. You can experiment with dishes like chia seed pudding and smoothies or dress your salads and oatmeal with chia seeds for added goodness.

Dairy Products:

Most people believe dairy products are only rich in calcium. However, many types of dairy products offer a high protein value post-consumption. The list includes-**

Cottage Cheese (Paneer)- One of the most popular high-protein veg foods in India is cottage cheese. Half a cup of cottage cheese contains around 14 grams of protein. It can be used to make curries, dips, salads, snacks, and much more.

Greek Yogurt- Every cup of Greek yoghurt contains over 23 grams of protein. It is very lightweight and gut-friendly and can be added to smoothie bowls, granola bowls, or even as a sour cream substitute for many meals.

Skim Milk- One cup of skimmed milk contains 8.75 grams of protein. Milk is also a rich source of calcium, which helps improve bone and teeth health.

Cheese- Other than being delicious and addictive, cheese is also a good source of protein if eaten in moderation. 100 grams of cheese contains around 22.9 grams of protein.

Vegetables and Fruits:

For all vegetarians, consuming fruits and vegetables is important to meet their body’s nutritional requirements. However, some vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of protein, and the list includes-**

Green Peas- Commonly consumed in curries and soups, one cup of green peas contains 8 grams of protein.

Spinach- 100 grams of raw spinach leaves, often used in salads, contain 2.9 grams of protein. You can consume spinach in soups, curries, and more.

Broccoli- This vegetable contains all the necessary amino acids and over 2.8 grams of protein per 100 grams. You can consume it in soups, salads, roasted snacks, pasta sauces, and curries.

Banana- 1 medium-sized banana contains 1.3 grams of protein and makes for a great mid-meal snack.

Guava- One of the most protein-rich foods in the world is Guava. Every cup of Guava gives you around 4.2 grams of protein.

Avocado- Known as a nutrient-packed fruit, one avocado provides the body with fibre, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and over 3 grams of protein. You can consume them as a dip, sauce, salad component, smoothies, and much more.

Vegan Alternatives:

If you are lactose-intolerant or allergic to some vegetables, nuts, seeds, or grains, there are many vegan options available for you that are rich in protein to help you meet your protein requirements.

Here are some alternatives.

  • Soy Milk
  • Tofu
  • Seitan
  • Soy


Legumes Are An Excellent Source Of Fiber And Protein. Peas, Black Beans, Chickpeas, And Lentils Are A Few Examples. They Are A Great Option For Vegetarians Because They Are Also High In Iron And Folate.

Seeds And Nuts:

Nuts And Seeds Are A Great Source Of Fiber, Protein, And Good Fats. Some Examples Are Hemp Seeds, Chia Seeds, Peanuts, And Almonds. They Are Also A Good Source Of Zinc And Magnesium, Among Other Vitamins And Minerals.


Quinoa Has All Nine Of The Essential Amino Acids, Making It A Complete Protein. It Has High Levels Of Magnesium, Iron, And Fiber As Well. Quinoa Can Be Eaten As A Side Dish Or As A Foundation For Salads And Soups.

Tempeh And Tofu:

Rich In Nutrients Are Soy-Based Products Like Tempeh And Tofu Within Protein. They Are A Good Source Of Calcium And Iron As Well. While Tempeh Can Be Marinated And Grilled, Tofu Is More Commonly Used In Stir-Fries And As A Meat Alternative.

Complete Grains:

In Addition To Being Strong In Protein, Whole Grains Like Barley, Oats, And Brown Rice Are Also A Good Source Of Fiber And Other Minerals. They Can Serve As A Side Dish Or As The Foundation For Meals.

Eggs And Dairy:

Dairy Products Provide A Good Amount Of Calcium, Vitamin D, And Protein, Including Milk, Yogurt, And Cheese. Another Complete Protein That May Be Prepared In A Variety Of Ways Is The Egg.


Brussels Sprouts, Spinach, And Broccoli Are Examples Of Veggies That Are Low In Protein Yet Nonetheless Beneficial To Your Daily Consumption Of Protein. They Are Also A Great Source Of Minerals, Vitamins, And Antioxidants.

Supplements With Protein:

Protein Supplements Like Whey, Soy, Or Pea Protein May Be An Option If You Have Trouble Getting Enough Protein From Diet Alone. But Whenever Possible, It’s Ideal To Obtain Your Nutrients From Entire Foods.

Including Sources Of Vegetable Protein In Your Diet:

• To Begin, Try Incorporating One Or Two Extra Protein Sources Into Your Meals Every Week.
• Try Out Various Cooking Techniques And Dishes To See What You Like.
• Mix Various Protein Sources To Make Well-Balanced Meals That Include All Of The Necessary Amino Acids.
• Pay Attention To Portion Sizes Because Meals High In Protein Can Also Be High In Calories.


Consuming Vegetarianism Does Not Need You To Give In On The Protein. You May Easily Meet Your Protein Demands While Eating A Healthy, Balanced Diet By Incorporating A Range Of Plant-Based Protein Sources Into Your Meals.

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