Finding protein-rich Indian foods is not that difficult. There are many foods available in India that comes with high protein. These foods are not only pocket friendly but also a great source of protein. The high protein Indian foods you are going to know can easily be included in your breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack.
But before going to the lists of protein-rich Indian foods, let’s have a look at why protein is essential, and what is its daily limit.
Importance of Protein in Your Diet
Protein is a macro-nutrient that means you need it in a large quantity to stay healthy. It is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of bones, muscles, skin, and tissues. They are also crucial for energy regulation, immune function, haemoglobin and enzymes production, and hormone synthesis.
Including protein in your diet also provides many fitness benefits
- Helps recover from muscle fatigue after exercise.
- Reduces muscle mass decline.
- Builds lean muscle mass.
- Aids in digesting foods.
- Helps suppress hunger.
- Manages healthy weight.
How much Protein to Consume in a Day?
Not getting a minimum quantity of protein can lead to stunting, anemia, physical weakness, edema, vascular dysfunction, and impaired immunity.  So, you need to consume enough protein to avoid concerned problems.
According to the WHO, the daily recommended intake of protein according to the age is as follows:
- Infants: 2.5 g protein/kg body weight per day for the age of 0 to under 1 month, 1.8 g protein/kg body weight per day for the age of 1 to under 2 months, and 1.4 g protein/kg body weight per day for the age of 2 to under 4 months.
- Children between 4 months and 12 months: 1.3 g protein/kg body weight per day.
- Children between 1 year and 4 years: 0.82 g protein/kg body weight per day.
- Adolescence: 0.70 g protein/kg body weight per day for males and 0.68 g protein/kg body weight for females.
- Adults < 65 years (Both Men and Women): 0.8 g protein/kg body weight per day or 55-57 g protein per day for men and 47-48 g protein per day for women.
- Adults ≥ 65 years (Both Men and Women): 1.0 g protein/kg body weight per day or 67 g protein per day for men and 57 g protein per day for women.
- Pregnant Women: 0.9 g protein/kg body weight/day in the second trimester and 1.0 g protein/kg body weight/day in the third trimester.
What are the Protein Rich Indian Foods?
1. Egg Whites
If you do not want to spend much to get the protein, then not look anywhere else than eggs. Getting protein from eggs can be considered as the most affordable Indian food source of protein. Furthermore, not only the price but the diversity in nutrition, and easy digestibility make eggs an excellent source of protein.
The white liquid of eggs which is also known as egg white is made up of approximately 90% water and 10% protein with having a high amino acid score and a high net protein utilization rate. Egg whites are also a complete source of protein and contain all essential amino acids that are required in muscle building and weight loss. Additionally, an observation on rats has revealed that even cooking cannot destroy the net protein utilization of egg whites.
Every standard Indian hen’s egg white provides
6 grams of protein, 17 calories, 0 g of total fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 0 g of carbohydrate
How to Include Egg Whites in Your Diet?
You can use 4 – 5 egg whites and 1 whole egg to make an omelet or bhurji and include in breakfast with your other favorite food.
2. Chicken Breast
Chicken breast is another commonly used Indian protein source for weight loss and muscle gaining. This is because chicken breast is the best part of the chicken to get lean protein. Chicken breast contains more than 40% essential amino acids of total amino acids with a good amount of BCAAs. Even the protein quality of chicken is higher than other poultry meat. Moreover, the chicken breast being low in collagen, a type of structural protein that affects the digestibility of food, makes it an easily digestible food.
100 grams of roasted chicken breast contains
30.2 grams of protein, 129 calories, 9 g of total fat, 75 mg of cholesterol, 0 g of carbohydrate
How to Include Chicken Breast in Your Diet?
Grilled chicken breast can be the best option to include in your diet. You can eat it at lunch or even at dinner.
Fish is an excellent source of high-quality animal protein and amino acids and is easily digestible food for people of all ages. It is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which is beneficial for heart health. That is the reason, it is considered a key component of a cardioprotective diet. Furthermore, a study has revealed that daily supplementation with a low dose of fish protein may have beneficial effects on glucose levels, LDL-cholesterol, glucose tolerance, and body composition in overweight adults. Fish is also an important source of various nutrients such as iodine, selenium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.
100 grams of fish contains
22 grams of protein, 206 calories, 12 g of total fat, 63 mg of cholesterol, 0 g of carbohydrate
How to Include Fish in Your Diet?
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week as part of a healthy diet.  You can use grilled fish and add it to a salad or in a sandwich.
Paneer is a good choice for getting the best quality of protein, especially for vegetarians. It is also a rich source of all nine essential amino acids. Eating paneer can make you fuller for longer as it releases energy slowly and thus could be a good option for weight loss. It also contains calcium which is beneficial for bone health.
100 grams of paneer contains
20 grams of protein, 296 calories, 22 g of total fat, 80 mg of cholesterol, 5 g of carbohydrate
How to Include Paneer in Your Diet?
You can combine paneer with palak (spinach) to make a nutrition-rich gravy-based palak paneer.
Lentils, commonly called daal, is a frequently used food in every Indian dish. They are known to be an abundant source of plant protein and essential amino acids. Besides, they have the highest percentage of insoluble dietary fibers as compared to other pulses. They are a good source of prebiotics which help to maintain healthy intestinal bacteria and prevent gut-associated diseases. Lentils are also a great source of iron which is sometimes lack in a vegetarian diet. Moreover, lentils also contain a bioactive component called “Polyphenols” a type of antioxidant which is beneficial to prevent the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.
100 grams of lentil contains
9 grams of protein, 116 calories, 4 g of total fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 20 g of carbohydrate
How to Include Lentils in Your Diet?
Lentils are easy to cook and can be easily added to meals as Daal. Cook lentils with water or broth for about 15 – 20 minutes and add onions, tomatoes, and spices like garlic, turmeric, coriander, and cumin as lentils cook. Eat cooked lentils in meals with roti or rice.
6. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a very famous food among bodybuilders and weight loss enthusiasts. This is because peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats. It also contains fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
Although peanut butter is not a complete protein as it does not contain the essential amino acid methionine, adding peanut butter with whole-grain bread can make a more complete protein meal, as the bread contains the amino acid methionine. Additionally, it provides 20 amino acids and is the biggest source of a protein called “arginine”. Consuming peanut butter can make you feel fuller for a long and improve satiety which will be helpful to avoid eating unnecessary foods.
2 tbsp of peanut butter provide
8 grams of protein, 188 calories, 16 g of total fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 6 g of carbohydrate
How to Include Peanut Butter in Your Diet?
Take 2 tablespoonfuls of peanut butter and spread over wheat or brown bread and have them in breakfast.
Oats, due to their low-cost protein and amino acid balance, have become an indispensable Indian food source in muscle building and weight loss diets. They are rich in many essential amino acids such as methionine, cysteine, threonine, isoleucine, tryptophan, valine, leucine, histidine, methionine, phenylalanine, and tyrosine. They also contain a high amount of globulins (a salt water soluble storage protein) which is 80% of the total oat protein. [3, 4]
Oats are rich in carbs, fiber, and fat than most other grains and an excellent source to balance vitamins and minerals need. Oats provide various health benefits, but lowering blood sugar and cholesterol level are some of the famous ones.
100 grams of oats provide
11 grams of protein, 374 calories, 8 g of total fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 60 g of carbohydrate
How to Include Oats in Your Diet?
Take half a cup of dry oats and mix with a bowl of hot milk. Add sliced fresh fruits (like banana or apple), nuts, and seeds to make it further healthier.
Makhana is generally considered auspicious and often offered to gods during an Indian festival or religious functions. They are mostly consumed as snacks or when fasting due to their nutritive value. Makhana is a good source of plant-based well-balanced protein with 16 types of amino acids. Some of them are leucine, isoleucine, cysteine, methionine, glutamine, and arginine. Besides, it is an easily digestible food and provides healthy nutrients such as carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, and dietary fiber. Makhana is also a very good source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous.
100 grams of makhana contain
7 grams of protein, 350 calories, 2 g of total fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 77 g of carbohydrate
How to Include Makhana in Your Diet?
The best way to eat makhana is raw or roasted. You can also make kheer, raita, or curry.
Almonds are high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They are naturally gluten-free and are a great option for a gluten-free diet. Almonds are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Moreover, consuming almonds are helpful in increasing the feeling of fullness. This makes almonds a smart snack option to keep hunger at bay. They also provide various health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, high blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
1 ounce (28 grams) of almonds contain
6 grams of protein, 161 calories, 14 g of total fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 1 g of carbohydrate
How to Include Almonds in Your Diet?
Take 8-10 almonds and soak them in the water overnight and eat them in the morning after removing their skin.
Chickpeas are prominently consumed in Indian foods because India is the world’s largest producer as well as accounts for 70 percent of the world’s total production. Chickpeas offer lots of nutrition and are one of the best vegetarian sources of protein. They are also rich in fiber, healthy fats, calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, and folic acid. The main proteins found in chickpeas are albumins and globulins with this glutelin and prolamin are also available.  Additionally, heating also significantly improves the protein quality of chickpeas. Adding them to other foods improves their nutritional value as chickpeas help to destroy or reduce anti-nutritional content acrylamide. 
100 grams of chickpeas contain
19 grams of protein, 364 calories, 6 g of total fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 61 g of carbohydrate
How to Include Chickpeas in Your Diet?
Chickpeas are very versatile and easy to add to the diet. Use boiled chickpeas and add them to salads, or soups or prepare chickpeas curry cooked in olive oil with onion, garlic, and black pepper.
Curd is an amazing fermented dairy product and is one of the healthiest foods that any bodybuilder or weight loss enthusiast could have. It is high in protein that helps in muscle repair and replenishes energy after exercise. Generally, low-fat curd contains more protein than its higher fat counter products. The protein type of protein in curd are casein and whey containing 80% casein and 20% whey. Both casein and whey are rich in all nine essential amino acids and easy to digest. It contains probiotics that aid in healthy digestion and promote gut health. Besides, curd is a good source of calcium, iodine, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.
1 cup of home-made cow curd contains
7 grams of protein, 142 calories, 6 g of total fat, 1 mg of cholesterol, 1 g of carbohydrate
How to Include Curd in Your Diet?
Eat one cup of curd daily with your favorite food. You can also add honey, fruits, seeds, and nuts to make it further healthier. You can eat curd at any time of the day, for your breakfast, lunch, or dinner.