Proteins are not as easy to come by as carbs, and require more dedication (read, a rewiring) in our approach to food. The lack of protein in the diet is a bit more concerning for Indians, where a large part of the diet is carb-heavy.
It shouldn’t be so hard to convince people to eat proteins. They're vital for muscle health, and muscles are important for good health. You've probably heard fitness enthusiasts say it a million times: the body needs 2 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight to build and maintain muscle. Studies have found that good health in our older years is associated with a higher percentage of musculature. The more muscle you have, the healthier you will be, and for longer. This is important because muscle tissue changes with age. Sarcopenia is a "condition characterized by loss of muscle mass, strength, and function in older adults." According to the Cleveland Clinic, "You gradually begin losing muscle mass and strength sometime in your 30s or 40s." The National Library of Medicine in the US found that "One of the most striking effects of age is the involuntary loss of muscle mass, strength, and function, termed sarcopenia." That’s right, we lose muscle as we age. The best way to stave off such a devastating depletion of vitality? Exercise and muscle-building We’re not talking about muscle-building competitors here; we’re talking about athletic physiques. And to not lose muscle, you need more protein.
Globally, protein consumption is at an average of 68 grams per day, but India is far behind at 45 grams per day. The average healthy male, who weighs around 70 kilos, should try to get at least 60 grams of protein per day to ensure there is no muscle loss in the body. Women should aim for around 50 grams of protein per day. Yet, even with the sheer range of choices these days, it appears we’re more slaves to our taste buds than wiser with knowledge, and it shows: most of the food we consume is high in carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. Consequently, we’re on the brink of an obesity epidemic across the world. How many times have you successfully resisted a plate of French fries? Not that fries aren’t awesome, but they’re also not great when consumed frequently.
Proteins are not as easy to come by as carbs, and require more dedication (read, a rewiring) in our approach to food. The lack of protein in the diet is a bit more concerning for Indians, where a large part of the diet is carb-heavy. A 2017 general consumer survey in India showed that "73 percent of Indians are deficient in protein while above 90 percent are unaware of the daily requirement of protein." So, here are 5 simple sandwich recipes you can use in your daily routine to add some much-needed protein to your breakfast (or any other meal where you’re okay having sandwiches):
1) Egg Sandwich:
The conventional egg burji sandwich is one of the easiest options to make at home. Some days we give in to boredom and switch over to tastier foods, but sticking with this sandwich is rewarding in terms of protein. It’s pretty simple to make as well:
• Heat oil in a pan, then add turmeric and red chili powder.
• Break open 2 eggs and drip the ingredients into the pan. Cook on a medium flame, and mix the ingredients well.
• After a few minutes, the eggs will look scrambled. Break it into smaller pieces with the ladle.
• Serve hot.
This burji contains 12 grams of protein and just 7 grams of carbs. Have it with two slices of toasted whole-wheat bread for a total of 18 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat, and 33 grams of carbs. At 330 calories, this is a light, filling breakfast that will give you your morning dose of protein.
2) Grilled Chicken Sandwich:
Everyone’s favorite sandwich from college days remains a great source of morning protein. Soft chicken with a few greens and vegetables and some sauce Well, these days, we use whole-grain bread and fewer sauces because of their high sodium content, but the love remains the same.
Making a grilled sandwich at home takes 20 minutes or less.
• 1/2 cup boiled and chopped chicken (skinless chicken breast)
• 2 slices of whole-wheat bread
• 1/4 red bell pepper
• 2 tsp butter
• 4 lettuce leaves
• 1/2 tsp chaat masala
• 1/4 capsicum
• Cut the chicken into smaller pieces and add it to a bowl.
• Cut the red bell pepper into smaller pieces and add it to the same bowl.
• Add a pinch of chaat masala and salt to the mix in the bowl.
• Add the butter to the slices of bread. Place the lettuce on the slices.
• Add the chicken mix from the bowl onto the bread slices.
• Apply any remaining butter to the tops of the bread slices.
• Place in a microwave and grill for a few minutes. (3–4 minutes should be enough.) Or you can grill them in a griller for ~4 minutes.
That’s it. Your grilled sandwich breakfast is ready. One such sandwich contains over 20 grams of protein. If you choose to leave out the butter, your sandwich will contain less than 7 grams of fat and 300 calories, making it a very good addition to your cooking skillset.
3) Peanut butter sandwich
Peanut butter is tasty as hell and packed with protein and good fats. It’s a great addition to your breakfast and makes for a protein-rich option in the mornings, after a workout, or just an evening snack. We’d recommend skipping the chocolate-flavored varieties and choosing natural, unsweetened peanut butter to keep your sugar consumption low, which is a good thing. Instead, add a banana for some of that sweetness.
1 banana (sliced thin)
4 slices of whole wheat bread
2 tbsp natural, unsweetened peanut butter
Toast the bread until the slices are the right amount of crispy for your taste. Spread the peanut butter on the bread. Add the banana slices to your sandwich. You can add a pinch of salt in case you need to balance the sweetness of the banana. It’s really that simple. The peanut butter and bread give you 14–15 grams of protein, and the banana adds sweetness as well as healthy potassium to your breakfast. This sandwich is a great cure for hangovers, so your Sunday mornings can be headache-free with this combination. It is also vegan.
You can always replace the banana with jam or fruit preserves, then grill the sandwich for a good, old-fashioned grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
4) Hummus and Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this recipe; hummus is filled with plant protein and tons of important micronutrients. This sandwich provides an impressive 22 grams of protein, making for a very filling breakfast or snack. And it takes just about 10 minutes to prepare.
• 4 slices of whole-wheat bread
• 2 tbsp butter
• 4 slices of cheddar cheese
• ½ Cup fresh Spinach
• 4-5 tomato slices
• Salt and pepper
Add the hummus to one side of each slice of bread. Drop the cheese slices, tomato, and spinach in between two bread slices. Add some butter to the outside of these bread slices, and grill the sandwich in a pan or skillet until they turn a light brown. The cheese should have melted
5) Veggie sandwich with Greek yogurt
Yes, a sandwich with Greek yogurt, to make up for all the mayo-based sinning we’ve done over the years. 100 grams of Greek yogurt contains 10 grams of protein, compared to 100 grams of mayo, which contains just one gram of protein. This sandwich, with four slices of whole wheat bread, gives you over 20 grams of protein and takes very little time to prepare
• 4 slices of whole-wheat bread
• 1 cup Greek yogurt
• 1 onion (small)
• 1/2 bell pepper (choose your favorite color)
• 1 carrot (small)
• ¼ tsp Chili powder & Pepper
• Whisk the Greek yogurt in a bowl, then add the chili powder and pepper.
• Add this spread to your bread slices.
• Add the bell pepper and carrot to your sandwiches.
• Toast the bread or grill it with a hint of butter for taste.