Know your non-veg protein food options in Indian food

Animal protein sources or meat proteins were considered superior to plant proteins sources because they are not dense sources of high quality protein. Also they are only sources of vitamin B12 in diet (along with milk) and very important sources of better quality iron, vitamin A, vitamin B2, B6, Zinc etc.

However,  now they are treated more or less equal or even inferior to plant proteins.  This is due to awareness about bad impact of animal meat on heart disease, because of its saturated fats and cholesterol content and lack of fiber.

Find out a bit more about which are good non veg protein sources in Indian diet

Animal meats

One has to take care of the following in meat consumption

  • Consume lean meat: trim all the visible fat on meat and go for leaner cuts in beef, pork and lamb
  • Poultry should be consumed without skin
  • Goat meat, called mutton in India, trimmed of visible fat, is as healthy in terms of fats as chicken and has nearly three times higher content of vitamin B12 and iron. In fact it is classified as game meat (which are meats containing less fats) by the American nutrition agencies
  • Do not exceed your limit for the day for meat consumption, check out your daily allowance
  • Choose methods of cooking which do not add hidden calories: gravies made with ghee, butter, cream or too much oil
  • Avoid consuming organ meats such as liver and processed meat such as sausage and salami regularly, since they could have added animal fat or carbs

In India, we often cook meat on bone, in which case an understanding portion size can be a challenge, here are some rough estimates

  • One kilo raw chicken with bone will yield nearly half kilo cooked boneless chicken or 8-9 two oz servings ( each equivalent to ½ katori dal)
  • One kg mutton (raw with bone) will yield nearly 400 gms cooked boneless meat ( ~ 7 two oz servings)
  • one kg pork will give nearly half kilo of cooked pork (8-9 two oz serving)


Eggs are called complete food for a good reason. They have good quantity of  best quality protein and nearly all vitamins and minerals: especially vitamin A, B2, B6, B12, iron and zinc. But eggs have very high cholesterol content. 1 egg has more cholesterol than the daily limit for cholesterol in DASH eating plan for people with BP and high cholesterol. Therefore most diet plans restrict the intake of egg to 2-4 eggs per week

But for children and adults with normal cholesterol and no heart disease, restricting eggs in the diet is not needed. Nearly everyone can eat one egg/day. In addition, eating smart eggs can help you increase protein in your diet. Smart egg means a mixture of 2=3 eggs from which egg yolk is removed totally or only one yolk is left

Milk and milk products

due to awareness about impact of animal meat on heart disease, because of its saturated fats and cholesterol content and lack of fiber content,

In the Indian scenario, where low fat milk is often not available or preferred, substantial amount of SFA and cholesterols can be added to diet with milk. This means you can eat less eggs, animal meat or cheese. This are important sources of proteins, vitamins and minerals.  Therefore, people who eat eggs and meats regularly, should switch to low fat milk (toned, double toned or skimmed)

Low fat milk and paneer or curd made with eat are all healthy protein sources, but full fat milk or its produts add too much saturated fat in the diet, which is bad for both weight management and heart risk management

To get practical tips on choosing your proteins, go to ‘How to choose best protein food sources

Also read ‘Proteins: why do we need them and how much is good for the body?’

To know about milk and dairy products, go to: ‘Tips on intake of milk and dairy products

CHECK OUT: Our references for recommendations on diet