Indians eat less protein than the western populations, our traditional protein sources, eg. dal (pulses) are not as protein dense as animal products or soy products consumed liberally in eastern countries.

Find below some tips on making your diet protein dense, so avoid protein deficiency, maintain weight and add some variety to your diet

High protein food for vegetarians

Tip1: Replace dal with soy products (soy beans, chunks, granules or tofu) in some meals, to get much more protein for same amounts of calories and lesser carbohydrates

  • Add soya granules in your dal while cooking
  • Keep some soy chunks or granules ready in the fridge and add them in your soups, salads and noodles etc.
  • Replace half katori dal with 1/4th block of tofu in some meals

1/2 katori dal and ¼th block of tofu, both give nearly 100 calories, but dal gives 70% calories from carbs and 25% from proteins, whereas  tofu  gives 42% from proteins and 9% from carbs and rest from healthy fats (MUFAs and PUFAs).

Similarly, one serving (30 gms) of  soya chunks (Nutrela etc.) will give you 60% calories from proteins and 40% from carbs for same amount of calories  as ½ katori dal

Tip 2: Make nuts a part of your diet, but be careful to replace empty calories (e.g. unhealthy snacks) with nuts, rather than adding nuts on top, since nuts are calorie dense food

  • Nuts are good source of protein, fibre, minerals, vitamins and phytosterols, so include them as snack options, but one oz of nuts gives 170-180 calories, so eat in recommended portions sizes (1/2-1 oz)

1 oz of nuts is equal to

  • Almonds= 22
  • Walnuts=14 halves
  • Peanut= 50
  • Pistachios=50
  • Cashew= 16-18
  • Eat variety of nuts, because each has unique advantages, especially make sure your mix has almonds and walnuts, which have high quantity of vitamin E and omega 3 fats respectively

For non-vegetarians

Tip 1: Goat meat (commonly called mutton in India) is as healthy (even healthier) as chicken meat

Two oz serving of goat meet gives lesser fats and SFAs than same amount of chicken but more than three times as much iron and Vitamin B12,  so if you prefer ‘mutton’ go for it!

Tip 2: Eat lean meat, take off all visible fat from meat and skin from poultry (e.g.chicken)

Non lean beef provides nearly 45% more calories, 100% more fats,150% more saturated fats (SFAs) than lean beef for equal weight. Similarly non lean pork provides 30% more calories, 70% more fat and 90% more SFAs than lean pork

Leaner cuts: cuts from the hind of the animal (round, loin, sirloin of beef and loin, ham, spare rib, back rib of pork) have lower fat content, whereas cuts from front of the animal (chuck, rib, brisket, plate, short-loin of beef and shoulder, belly, Boston butt etc. of pork)  have highest fat content

Tip 3: Know the standard portion sizes of meat and stay within the recommended limits of intake to avoid getting too much of bad fats

1 serving of meat/poultry of fish= ½ cup cooked dal= 2 oz meat = 2 pieces of meat each of match box size

  • One kilo chicken (raw with bone) will yield nearly 8-9 two oz servings of cooked meal (each servings equivalent to ½ katori dal)
  • One kg mutton (raw with bone) will yield nearly 7-8 two oz cooked servings where as One kg pork (raw with bone) will give  8-9 servings

Tip 4: Eat eggs in moderation, if you have high cholesterol, high BP, diabetes or obesity

  • If you have high blood cholesterol levels, you are better off limiting your egg intake to less than two-four/week or consuming only egg whites; egg whites do not have cholesterol, so eating smart eggs (two/three egg whites + one egg yolk) in breakfast is a good idea!
  • For vegetarians (who eat eggs), one egg can be consumed every day safely, if they use low fat milk (double toned or skimmed)
  • For healthy adults and children eating only egg whites is not a good idea since egg yolk contain most of egg’s calcium, vitamins A, D, E, B1, B3, B12, folate, iron and zinc

Tip 5: Stay away from organ meats (liver, heart etc.) as far as possible, since they are very high in cholesterol and SFAs

Tip 6: Do not buy minced meat (keema) from the butcher, since they tend to mix fat (charbi) in meat for preparing keema

Tip 7: Eat processed meats such as salami, sausage etc. sparingly,

since they also can have high SFA and cholesterol content and even have added carbohydrates sometimes

 CHECK OUT: Our references for recommendations on diet