What's The Fuss About Protein

A certified dietitian, Jyoti Agrawal Pillai, shares what makes proteins so important. If you are looking at including protein in your diet and don't know where to begin, here are some suggestions for complete protein combinations.

Why does everyone talk about protein? What makes it so important?

Protein works as a building block for our body. Each and every cell, blood, muscle, skin, and hair needs protein for its growth and repair. Therefore it becomes crucial for you to make sure that you have protein in all three main meals. When combined with other macronutrients, the best is manifested.

How much protein does an adult need?

According to EAR for Indians, an adult needs 0.75gm of protein per kg per day.

For example, an adult who weighs 65 kg will need almost 48 gms of protein per day. This requirement can easily be met through combinations mentioned in this blog.

If you are one of those who do not want to complicate food with numbers, here is one easy way. When you serve your plate, divide it into four parts. Your plate should look like this:

1/4th cereals (roti/rice)

1/4th cooked vegetable

1/4th of vegetables in the form of salad

1/4th protein (dal/soya/paneer)

A vegetarian can easily achieve their daily allowance of protein with some mindfulness. Following tips make it easier with meal plans and high-protein combinations for you to follow

  • Breakfast: you can have one gram flour and ragi vegetable chilla with some paneer or tofu stuffed in it alongside some green chutney.

  • Lunch: roti/rice with a bowl of moong/lobia/rajma and a bowl of curd alongside some fresh salad. This can easily give you 20 gms of protein or more depending on the quantity.

  • Dinner: bring together a vegetable spinach khichdi using rice and split green gram with a bowl of besan kadhi or curd.

Other examples of protein rich combinations are:

  • Poha with a bowl of brown chana curry or salad

  • Rice, dal with vegetables

  • Rajma chawal with curd

  • Chickpeas/white matar with vegetable aloo tikki ( shallow fried)

  • Vegetable daliya with moong vegetable and curd

Power tips:

  • Sprouting legumes and pulses enhances its amino acid profile and makes it easily digestible.

  • Bring together cereals and pulses to make it a complete protein.

Some vegetarian sources of protein are -

  • pulses and legumes

  • dairy

  • soy and its products

  • peas

  • mushrooms,

  • quinoa

  • nuts and seeds

  • and even cereals

Some of the best non-vegetarian protein sources are eggs, chicken and fish. Skinless chicken and chicken breast should be preferred if you are looking for a low fat option. You can have rice or roti or even a bread toast with it as your meal. Do not forget to add vegetables, raw or cooked as a part of your non-veg meals as they are low in fibre.

Jyoti Agrawal Pillai can be found on instagram @nutricoach.jyoti

About her: Not a believer of fad diets with short term goals, her approach leans towards sustainable and long term lifestyle changes. She believes in healing not only through nutrition but also considering other aspects like physical, emotional and mental well being.