Protein is one of the most crucial macronutrients that aid in the good functioning of our bodies. You can yield tens of benefits from adding protein-rich foods to your diet, including building muscle mass and quick weight loss.
Thankfully, numerous food choices are available on the market that caters to all kinds of food preferences—vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and even vegan.
However, living in India, cost becomes a concern! Many protein sources can be too costly for regular intake, which defeats the purpose. Don’t worry! We have squeezed out the best protein sources that are affordable and accessible.
But first, what kind of proteins must one consume for better health and wellbeing?
Which Proteins To Consume?
Proteins are primarily categorized into two types of amino acids: non—essential amino acids and essential amino acids. Our bodies naturally produce non-essential amino acids. Therefore, you aren’t required to obtain them through diet.
On the other side, essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body and must be procured from food sources. There are 9 essential amino acids to be precise—histidine, isoleucine, lysine, leucine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, threonine, and valine. Food sources that fulfil your need for all the 9 essential amino acids are complete or whole protein.
Often, but not always, the protein derived from animal products is complete. At the same time, protein offered by plant-based sources is incomplete in the sense that it doesn’t contain all the essential amino acids.
Therefore, if your diet choice is free of animal sources, you must include more than one plant-based protein source to obtain complete nutrition.
List Of 10 Protein-Rich Indian Food that you should count on:
1. Peanut Butter
The easiest way to add more protein to your diet is by having peanut butter. Not only is it commonly available in Indian grocery stores, but it is also absolutely affordable. You can choose the best peanut butter of any brand you trust. One serving of peanut butter can increase your protein intake by 8 grams!
However, peanut butter is still an incomplete source of protein as it does not contain methionine. Rest assured, it has all the other essential amino acids, making it a viable source of protein.
You can consume peanut butter by slathering it on chappatis or bread, add some jam, and you’re set! Your snacking time can’t get any better.
Everyone knows how eggs are an excellent protein source, but did you know that they are also nutrient-dense? Not only do you receive about 6 grams of protein per large egg, but your body also gets all the necessary minerals, healthy fats, and vitamins it requires for overall growth.
Adding eggs to the diet can also pave the way for sustainable weight loss and reduced calorie intake. Multiple studies suggest that people who consume eggs in their breakfast tend to stay full toward the day. This helps mitigate binge-eating episodes, ensuring you don’t stuff your body with unnecessary calories.
There’s another study that suggests that the reason eating eggs suppresses hunger is due to a hormone called Ghrelin. This hormone is responsible for better insulin response and stabilizing blood sugar. Higher protein intake and weight loss, what’s better than this?
Also Read: Egg Protein Vs Whey Protein
Milk obviously has to be on the list. Since childhood, we were forced to drink milk by our parents for better health and stronger bones. However, milk is an excellent source of whey protein & casein, even for adults. If you aren’t lactose-intolerant or vegan, you can indulge in milk and milk products freely!
Milk is a complete source of protein and is highly accessible and affordable in India. If you are worried about the fat content in milk, you can easily hop onto skimmed or low-fat milk. Many kinds of flavoured milk have also entered the market, making them enjoyable yet healthy.
A glass of milk can be a good option any time of the day. It provides a good serving of minerals, vitamins, and proteins that keep you going through the day. Some people suggest that drinking milk at night can bring sound sleep, so it’s a win-win!
When it comes to protein, everyone trusts animal protein that comes from meat! Chicken is one of the most popular choices of meat for non-vegetarians. But do you know why it is preferred so much? It’s not just the taste!
Chicken is far cheaper than other groups of meat protein like red meat or beef. You can easily find it in the stores, and it’s easier to cook as well.
Yes! You can receive about 31 grams of protein from 100 grams of chicken breast! Therefore, if you consume multiple times a day, you will not need any additional dietary intake to complete your protein requirement.
Chicken is one of the best complete sources of protein. It contains more than 15 amino acids which include all the essential ones in large amounts. You can also receive a good amount of minerals and vitamins from the meat to boost your overall wellbeing.
The best way to cook the chicken to yield maximum benefits is to stick to smocked, grilled, or low oil methods.
5. Masoor Ki Daal (Lentils)
Lactose intolerant? Vegetarian? Vegan? Lentils are the best source of proteins in these cases. In every 28 grams of serving, you can receive about 7 grams of protein. Sadly, they aren’t complete sources of protein, as they don’t have cysteine and methionine.
Not to worry, in order to cover this up, you can add more whole grains to your diet, like rice or chappati. This combination of vegetarian food sources provides you with a complete balance of all 9 amino acids by covering up each other in suitable proportions.
Yes, almonds are famous for having a lot of fats. However, alongside this, their composition makes them rich in protein as well. If you were to take an example, around an ounce of almonds will give you 8 grams of high-quality protein. Almonds are low in carbs, thereby not adding too many calories to the diet.
You can find around three types of almonds in the Indian market, namely—Gurbandi, Mamra, and California. We do not suggest California almonds as they are heavily processed in order to get the sweet taste.
When talking about cheap protein sources in India, one simply cannot miss out on Soybeans. These protein powerhouses are great for vegetarians and vegans. Not only that, they contain all the essential amino acids even though they are plant-based. An individual can get proper nutrition from them.
Yet, there are downsides to soybeans as well. According to some studies, large consumption of soybeans can reduce a hormone called testosterone in men. Some other studies suggest that soybeans can threaten the risk of breast cancer in women.
Honestly, we couldn’t find any solid or consistent research into these claims, so we ask you to be careful of yourself.
8. Cottage Cheese/Paneer
Who doesn’t like paneer? Indians love a hefty serving of butter paneer with naan! This obsession actually keeps our protein intake manageable. Try to make paneer dishes in your home, it’s cheaper, and you will have control over the ingredients that go in. You wouldn’t want to imbalance your nutritional intake.
Paneer ranks on the list for a complete protein source because it is made from milk. It is also low in calories and tastes delicious! However, if you are lactose-intolerant, I wouldn’t recommend it to you.
An alternative to meat and dairy, pea protein works best for everyone! If you are lactose intolerant or trying to lose fat, you can choose to add pea protein into your diet.
They are very cheap in the market and do not bring the added risk of fattiness or cholesterol. Not only are they low in loss, but you can also literally add them to any meal.
Also Read: Pea Protein vs Whey Protein
Health buffs mainly know Oats as they have slow carbs, but, they’re a great source of protein as well. You can have oats for breakfast, and they’ll keep you full for the entire day. You can find them in varieties in different stores and for very cheap.
If you are not too fond of adding more sugar and additives to your diet, you can opt for rolled or cut oats. The one thing we love the most about this protein source is that it does not take hours to make it!
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need protein supplements (always) to increase your protein intake. And neither does it have to break your bank doing so! Protein-rich foods are available in India that are suitable for all dietary preferences and budgets.
By increasing your protein intake, your body will stay full for longer, making it easier for you to lose weight. If you are a gym enthusiast, a higher protein intake will help you recover and gain more muscle mass.
All in all, from peanut butter to chicken, you can choose from several sources available on the market. Choosing protein sources from the list will help you healthily increase your protein intake.