You have many reasons to make sure you are getting enough proteins from your everyday diet. Protein is macronutrient, and you need it in large amounts to stay healthy. The protein is composed of amino acids, and when it is broken in the human body, it fuels muscle mass, enhances immunity and contributes to metabolism. It is building block of muscles, bones, cartilage, blood and skin. It is needed to repair tissues and make body chemicals, hormones and enzymes.
Consuming foods rich in protein speeds recovery of muscles and tissues after exercise, reduces muscle loss, Builds lean muscles, curbs hunger and helps you maintain healthy body weight.
The protein requirement of an individual depends on many factors such as weight, activity level, physique goals, age and the current state of health. The Dietary Reference Intake of protein is 0.8 grams per kg body weight. In general, adult men and women need 56 grams and 46-gram of protein (daily protein requirement for teenagers are the same as adult men and women). Breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women need 71 grams of protein every day. The daily recommended protein requirement for babies is 10 grams and for school going kid is 19-34 grams.
Unlike fat and carbohydrate our body cannot store protein, and so it is essential to ensure you are getting an adequate amount of protein from your everyday meals.
Protein Rich Foods
Whenever we talk about protein-rich foods, animal foods come to our mind as they provide all the essential amino acids (Building blocks of proteins). However, there are a variety of protein sources for vegetarians too. Below we have enlisted top protein rich foods for vegetarians organised in 6 food groups. Have a look.
Dairy- Foods rich in protein
- Cottage cheese- A cup of cottage cheese contains about 163 calories and 28 grams of protein. It fulfils 58% of daily requirement of protein. It is also a good source of calcium. You can include cottage cheese in your diet in many ways. Add it to fruit or vegetable salad or your toast or merely enjoy it as its own.
*It is one of the best options for a vegetarian to fulfil the daily requirement of protein.
- Greek Yoghurt– A small bowl or 2/3 cup of Greek yoghurt gives 130 calories and 11 grams of protein. It fulfils 22% of the daily protein requirement. Besides protein, it is also rich in vitamin B12 and calcium. Being rich in probiotics it improves digestion and has a favourable effect on your guts. Include greek yoghurt in your meals.
* Make sure to have unsweetened greek yoghurt.
- Tofu– One-fourth block of tofu is rich in 117 calories and 12.8 grams protein. It fulfils 26 % of daily body’s protein need. Also, tofu is rich in iron and magnesium. It reduces the level of bad cholesterol and promotes good cholesterol. Thus, it is good for your heart.
*Tofu takes the flavour of the food in which it is cooked.
- Peanut butter- 4 teaspoons of peanut butter contains 188 calories and 7.7 grams of protein. It meets 15% of daily protein need. Regular consumption of peanut butter has also been found useful in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Make a habit of adding peanut butter to the bowl of your fruit salad.
- Milk- Milk is 20% whey and 80% casein. Both whey and casein are high-quality proteins. Whey is also known as fast protein as it is quickly broken down into amino acids. 1 cup non-fat milk supplies 8 grams protein and 90 calories along with 29% of daily calcium requirement. Consume one glass of non-fat and unsweetened milk two times in a day.
- Soy Milk– For those who are lactose intolerance, soy milk is the best alternative. One cup of unsweetened soy milk provides 7 grams protein and 80 calories. Soy milk comes from a plant source and is low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol. Consume milk with your breakfast cereal.
*If you are allergic to soy better avoid drinking soy milk.
*Females undergoing hormonal therapy better avoid soy protein or other soy-based products as they contain isoflavones.
Nuts Rich In Protein
- Almonds– 10 almonds supply you with 161 calories and 5.9 grams protein. It meets about 12% of your daily protein requirement. Almonds lower the level of bad cholesterol and reduce the chances of heart disease and cancer risk. Soak ten almonds in water. Leave them overnight and in the morning consume them.
- Pistachios– A cup of pistachios supply 685 calories and 25 grams of protein. It meets 51% of the daily protein requirement. Pistachios are also rich in folate, antioxidants and fibre. It promotes digestion. Merely add unsalted pistachios to yoghurt or salad.
- Walnuts– A cup of walnuts is rich in 765 calories and 18 grams of protein and meets 36% of daily requirement of protein. Regular consumption of walnuts is known to reduce the risk of gallstones. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and copper. Walnuts improve bone mineral density, combats epilepsy, enhances interneuronal signalling and reduce the risk of Alzheimer
- Pecans- A cup of pecan provides 10 grams protein and 753 calories. It fulfils 20% of daily requirement of proteins. Also, it promotes digestion, reduces the risk of stroke and is rich in antioxidants. Consume roasted pecans in-between meals.
- Cashews– An ounce of cashews supply 155 calories and 5.1 grams protein. It meets 10% of the daily protein requirement. Cashews are rich in iron, copper and magnesium. Consume a handful of cashews every day.
Seeds Rich In Protein
- Quinoa– A cup of quinoa supplies 626 calories and 24 grams protein. It meets 48% of the daily requirement of protein. Quinoa seeds are rich in quercetin and kaempferol. It is anti-inflammatory and has anti-cancer properties. Boil quinoa, add salt for taste and have it.
- Pumpkin seeds– A cup of pumpkin seeds supply 12 grams protein and 285 calories. It meets 24% of the daily requirement of protein. Also, it is rich in zinc and improves the health of the prostate in men. Pumpkin seeds also prevent diabetes and regulate the blood glucose level. Top salad with pumpkin seeds.
- Flaxseeds- 100 grams of flaxseeds provide 18 grams One cup flaxseeds provide 61% daily protein requirement. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibres and is a rich source of lignans. It lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and maintains normal blood sugar level. Flaxseeds reduce inflammation. Boosts immune system and is beneficial for maintaining reproductive health. Sprinkle a tablespoon of flaxseed to a cup of yoghurt or a bowl of salad.
*Do not exceed the intake of flaxseed more than five tablespoons in a day.
*Drink lots of water along with flaxseed consumption.
4. Hemp Seeds- An ounce of hemp seeds provide 161 calories and 9.2 proteins fulfilling the 18% of daily protein requirement. It is best for those who are allergic to soy. It is rich in essential amino acids and fatty acids. Consume a handful of roasted hemp seeds as evening snacks.
5. Sunflower seeds– 100 grams of dried sunflower seeds contain 21 grams of protein. Being rich in selenium sunflower seeds prevent cancer. Also, it contains bone-healthy minerals such as calcium, copper and magnesium. A cup of sunflower seeds fulfils 58% of the daily protein requirement.
Add roasted or raw sunflower seed to your toast or add sunflower seeds to yoghurt or salad. You may also add it to the soup.
Grains and Legumes Rich In Protein
- Lentils- One tablespoon of lentil supplies 3 grams protein and 42 calories. It fulfils 6% of the daily requirement of protein. Also, lentils are rich in potassium, fibre and folic acid. Add lentils to soup.
- Green peas- A cup of green peas is rich in 134 calories and 9 grams of It meets 17% of daily requirement of protein. Being rich in copper, iron, magnesium, vitamin K, calcium, zinc and manganese it prevents brain damage and also improves gastrointestinal health. Consume raw peas.
- Soybeans– A cup of soybeans is rich in 830 calories and 68 grams protein. It meets a 136% daily protein requirement. Soybean is the highest in protein among plants sources. It contains all essential amino acids and also is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and iron. Being rich in fibre it promotes bowel movements.
- Kidney Beans– A teaspoon of kidney beans supply 14 calories and 1 gram protein. It meets 2% of the daily protein requirement. Kidney beans are also rich in vitamin B1 and molybdenum. It prevents Alzheimer’s, improves memory and detoxifies the body. Combine boiled kidney bean with soups and salad.
- Chickpeas- A cup of chickpeas supply 269 calories and 15 grams protein. It meets 29% of the daily requirement of the body. Being rich in complex carbs, chickpeas is digested slowly and thus helps in controlling the blood sugar level. It is rich in fibre and improves digestion. Add boiled chickpeas to the salad.
- Green beans- 100 grams of green beans supply 1.8 grams of protein. It is also rich in fibre, vitamin A, K, C, folic acid, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, iron, silicon and calcium. Saute green beans with olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and consume it,
- Oats– A cup of oats provides you with 607 calories and 26 grams of protein and meets 53% of the daily protein requirement. It is a good source of soluble fibres. It prevents heart diseases, colorectal cancer and improves digestion. You can make oats porridge or add oats to yoghurt and consume it.
- Barley– A cup of barley supplies 651 calories and 23 grams of protein. It meets 46% of the daily protein requirement. Barley is rich in fibre. It aids digestion, controls blood pressure and promotes weight loss. Also, it offers protection against cancer. Eat bread that contains barley and whole grains. You can also cook barley and consume.
- Wheat Germs– A cup of wheat germs contain 414 calories and 27 grams protein. It meets up to 53% of daily requirement of protein. Being rich in vitamin E and antioxidants wheat germs fight free radicals. It also supplied zinc, potassium, thiamine and magnesium. Consume wheat germ with yoghurt.
- Telf and Spelt– Teff and spelt are ancient grains. Telf originates from an annual grass and is gluten-free. Spelt contains gluten, and it is a type of wheat. A cup of spelt and teff provides 10-11 grams of protein. Also, they are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, iron, fibre, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, manganese and B-vitamins. You can include teff and spelt in your diet by adding them to many recipes ranging from risotto to baked goods.
- Wild Rice- A cup of cooked wild rice supplies 7 grams of protein. It is a good source of magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorous, magnesium and B vitamins. Also, it is rich in fibre. Wash wild rice thoroughly and use plenty of water to cook it.
Protein Rich Vegetables
- Broccoli– A stalk of broccoli supplies 51 calories and 4.3 grams protein. It meets 9% of the daily protein requirement. Broccoli is considered the best food to prevent cancer. It is an excellent source of fibre and regulates blood pressure. It lowers the level of bad cholesterol and prevents heart diseases and diabetes. Being a rich source of vitamin K broccoli improves the calcium absorption and enhances bone. Saute broccoli in olive oil and consume it. You may also add raw broccoli to the salad.
- Cauliflower- A large cauliflower provides 210 calories and 16.6 grams protein. Thus, it meets up to 33% of the daily protein requirement. Also, it is rich in choline thus improves sleep and enhances Choline also promotes fat absorption. It contains vitamin K that encourages calcium absorption and makes your bone strength. Being rich in fibre and water it prevents constipation. Add cauliflower to salad or eat them boiled or saute with olive oil.
- Alfa- Alfa Sprouts- 100 grams of alfa-alfa sprouts gives 2 grams protein. One cup of alfa-alfa sprouts contains only eight calories. It is rich in fibre, vitamin C, manganese, folate copper. Add alfa-alfa sprouts to salad or sandwich.
- Mushrooms- 100 grams mushroom provide 6.2 grams of protein. It is packed with folate, vitamin D and vitamin B2. It is very low in carb (0.5 grams in 100 grams mushroom) and fat. Roast, stir-fry or grill mushrooms and include in your diet.
- Brussel Sprouts- A cup of Brussel sprouts supply 38 calories and 3 grams of protein and fulfils 6% of the daily protein requirement. It is one of the healthiest vegetables and is rich in iron manganese, potassium, choline, vitamin C, vitamin B, omega-3 fatty acids and fibre. Regular consumption of Brussel sprouts reduces the risk of cancer and heart diseases. Saute or roast Brussel sprouts and include in your diet.
- Asparagus– A cup of asparagus is rich in 3 grams protein and 27 calories. Thus, it meets 6% of your daily protein requirement. It contains asparagine. Asparagine is an amino acid that prevents urinary tract infection and is a natural diuretic. Also, asparagus is rich in vitamin E and improves the health of the Being rich in vitamin B6 and folate it acts as a natural aphrodisiac and boosts arousal. Asparagus may be consumed raw or steamed.
Protein Rich Fruits
- Avocados- 1 Avocado provides you with 322 calories and 4 grams protein meeting 8% of daily protein requirement. It is rich in folate and prevents the build-up of homocysteine that impairs blood circulation. Replace avocado with morning butter applied to your toast or add it to fruit salad.
- Apricots– An apricot contains 17 calories and 0.5 grams protein. It meets 1% of the daily protein requirement. Apricots also contain fibre, vitamin C, potassium and iron. Add dried apricot to fruit salad.
- Guavas- 1 guava provides you with 37 calories and 1.4 grams of protein. It meets 3% of the daily protein requirement. It is rich in fibre and promotes digestion. Being rich in vitamin C guava boost body immunity. Eat guava, add it to fruit salad or consume its juice.
- Banana- 1 large banana supplies 121 calories and 1.5 grams protein meeting up to 3% of daily protein requirement. Banana is a rich source of potassium and fibre. Eat it as fruit or make its smoothie.
- Tangerine- One large tangerine provides 64 calories and 1 gram protein meeting up to 2% of daily protein requirement. It is loaded with flavonoids, improves the blood flow and fights osteoporosis. Consume tangerines as evening snack or add it to salads.
Nutritional Yeast Rich In Protein
Nutritional yeast has a cheesy flavour. It is a plant protein. 28 grams of nutritional yeast provides 14 grams protein and 7 grams of fibre. Buy fortified nutritional yeast rich in magnesium, zinc, copper, B vitamins and manganese.
Sprinkle nutritional yeast on top of pasta, mashed potatoes, popcorn or add it to soups and steamed vegetables.
Egg:The Best Source Of High-Quality Protein
Eggs are rich in high-quality protein that has perfect Amino Acid Profile. Egg white of a large egg contains about 16 calories and 3.6 grams protein. It fulfils 7 percent requirement of daily protein. Egg white are high in protein and low in fat. It is one of the healthiest and nutritional breakfast. You can have a cup of egg white every day. One cup egg white will provide you with 26 grams of protein. If you are an adult you can eat one egg every day.
*Pregnant women should eat properly cooked eggs.
Meat Sources Of Protein
1. Ground Beef or Steak- An ounce of steak contains 76 calories and 7.6 grams protein. It meets about 15% of daily protein requirement. When you consume 85 grams of ground beef, you are provided with 23 grams proteins that is 45% of the daily value of protein. 3 oz of roasted beef contains 18-gram of protein, and an oz of beef jerky provides you with 13-grams protein. Ground beef is rich in amino acids that prevent the disease that causes muscle wasting. Also, they build and protects muscles. These amino acids strengthens connective tissues and reduces blood pressure.
2. Turkey Breast– A slice of turkey breast will provide you with 22 calories and 4 grams of protein. It fulfils 7% of daily protein requirement. One of the benefits of eating turkey is that it makes you feel full for a long time and prevents you from overeating. It is low in calories and fat and is rich in selenium. Opt for lean, organic and fresh turkey breast.
3. Chicken Breast- A half chicken breast is rich in 28 grams of lean protein and 142 calories. It is also rich in B vitamins and selenium.
4. Pork Loin– 3 oz or pork loin contain 23 grams protein, and only 2 grams saturated fat. It is also rich in vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and niacin.
Fishes Rich In Protein
1. Tuna- Tuna is a pure protein-rich source and is low in fat and calories. 20 grams of protein is provided by 85-gram of tuna which contains only 92 calories. Besides protein, tuna is also a rich source of B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and phosphorous. It is rich in selenium and has antioxidant properties. Tuna is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. There is small amounts of mercury present in tuna, but selenium protects against the mercury toxicity.
*Pregnant mother and nursing moms better avoid tuna
2. Tilapia- It is another popular yet inexpensive freshwater fish that is low in calories and fat but high in protein. 85-grams of tilapia fish is rich in 110 calories and 20 grams protein. Also, it is a great source of vitamin B, potassium, phosphorous and selenium
3. Pollock- Pollock is a mild flavoured fish. 85 grams of Pollock is rich in 20 grams of protein and provides 100 calories. It is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and choline. In comparison to any other fish, it is very low in mercury4. Cod- Cod is a cold water fish. 85 grams of codfish contains 20 grams of protein and provides 90 calories. Also, it is a rich source of vitamin B12, vitamin B3. Vitamin B6 and omega- 3 fatty acids. Codfish also contains minerals such as potassium, phosphorous, selenium and magnesium.
- Halibut- Halibut is a source of complete protein. It is rich in vitamin B12, B6, B3, potassium, magnesium and phosphorous. Also, it is a rich source of selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. A half fillet about 159 grams provides you with 42-gram of protein and 223 calories.*Halibut is, however, high in mercury so one should not eat it very often. Pregnant and nursing mothers please avoid it.
We have provided you with a big list of protein-rich foods for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Incorporate them into your diet to cover up your protein meets.