9 Protein-Rich Foods To Include In Your Daily Diet
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Our body needs proteins for various reasons, including repairing muscles and improving our immunity, since proteins are essential for the production of antibodies, which are crucial for the immune system to identify and neutralise pathogens like bacteria and viruses. Each gram of protein gives you 4 calories of energy. It makes us feel satiated so that we can reduce our calorie intake. 

Incorporating protein-rich superfoods into our daily diet isn’t difficult. There are a number of food items that are protein-rich. In an Indian meal as well, adding protein-rich foods is easy and many of these foods are already part of our Desi diet. While it was earlier believed that vegetarians have a tough time finding protein-rich items for their diet, this does not hold true today. With the growing awareness of the importance of protein in daily meals and the easy availability of global foods in the Indian market, there are plenty of options for protein-rich vegetarian food too.

Here are some vegetarian and non-vegetarian options for you to choose from if you want a diet that includes proteins.


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Quinoa is a great option to add to your everyday meal. It is called a complete protein since it has all nine essential amino acids that our body cannot produce on its own. A cup of cooked quinoa has about 8 grams of protein. It is high in fibre and helps digestion. It is also rich in magnesium and iron and contains antioxidants. In the last five years or so, quinoa has become easily available in India.

Cooking quinoa is not difficult. You will need to combine the quinoa and water in a pot. Bring it to a boil, cover it, and reduce the heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes. You can use quinoa as a substitute for rice or pasta, add it to salads and soups, or even eat it as breakfast porridge with fruits and nuts.


Lentils, pulses or dal are excellent plant-based protein sources. There are about 18 grams of protein in one cup of cooked lentil or dal. Apart from protein, lentils are also rich in iron and folate, which are good for energy production. Lentils are low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates and will help you get sustained energy.

Indians love their dal anyway. Dal rice and dishes prepared from dal, such as sambar or khichdi, are eaten across the country. In most Indian households. This is already part of everyday meals. You can also add lentils  to soups, stews, and curries, or use them in salads, as a filling for wraps or as a stuffing, for example, in Dal Ka Paratha.

Yoghurt (Dahi)

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Yoghurt or dahi, is also found in most Indian homes. Dahi chawal is soul food in many Indian communities. One cup of yoghurt  has about 10 grams of protein. It contains probiotics that are great for improving your gut health. Yoghurt is also rich in calcium, vitamin B12, and other essential nutrients. For those who don’t like milk, yoghurt is a great way to get protein and calcium.

Apart from dahi rice, you can also eat the curd plain or with fruits and nuts. Yoghurt can also be in smoothies, raitas, or lassis. Marinating meat with yoghurt makes the meat soft and delicious and is also a great way to add yoghurt to the dish. Adding yoghurt to a curry also gives it a delicious, tangy flavour while increasing the protein content of the dish.


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Chicken, particularly the breast piece, is a lean protein source. Every 100 grams of chicken has about 31 grams of protein. It is rich in essential amino acids and low in fat, especially when skinless.

Chicken takes a short time to cook and can be used in many ways. In India, the most common ways to use chicken are by making chicken curry, tandoori chicken, or chicken biryani. You can also boil, grill or bake chicken to cook a healthier meal. You can also use boiled and shredded chicken as a filling in salads, wraps, or sandwiches.


In India, eating almonds is always recommended for improving memory. In many Indian homes, almonds are soaked overnight, peeled in the morning and then eaten. However, others believe that almonds should be eaten with the skin. Almonds are rich in protein and healthy fats. It is high in vitamin E, which is good for skin health. It also has magnesium, which supports muscle and nerve function.

Almonds can be eaten as a snack and easily carried around for long commutes and midday snacking. This also helps reduce hunger and eventually helps with weight management. You can also add almonds to salads and soup, breads and other baked goods; use almond butter as a spread; or add almond milk to smoothies.

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Eggs are an excellent source of protein. There are 6 grams of protein in one large egg. Eggs contain all nine amino acids, and that’s how they got the tag ‘complete protein’. They are easy to cook, easily available and affordable.

You can cook eggs in many ways. They can be half-boiled, hard-boiled, poached or scrambled. You can also make a plain omelette or ones with multiple fillings, such as mushrooms and cheese or onions and tomatoes. The boiled eggs can be added to curries or chopped and used in salads and sandwiches. You can also use them to bake cakes, cookies, pastries and other goodies.


Chickpeas or chana, are also very popular in Indian cuisine. One cup of cooked chickpeas  offers 15 grams of protein. Chickpeas are high in fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, and phosphorus. and can help regulate blood sugar levels.

In India, chickpeas are used in a curry in dishes such as chana masala. It is also boiled and used in chaats. Roasted chana makes for a great crunchy, healthy snack. One of the most popular dishes made with chickpeas is the creamy hummus, which can be eaten as a dip, added to salad dressing or even used as a sandwich spread.

Cottage Cheese

Paneer or cottage cheese, is high in protein. Half a cup of paneer has about 14 grams of protein. Paneer is rich in the kind of protein that digests slowly and is ideal for muscle repair. It is also a good source of calcium and B vitamins and is low in fat and calories. 

Paneer can be eaten raw or cooked. In India, paneer is always a part of festive and special meals. You can make a curry with paneer, marinate it and grill it along with vegetables on a tandoor.  You can also add it to salads or use it as a filling in sandwiches. Paneer also works well in vegetarian savoury, baked dishes.


Fish is known to have high-quality protein. There are about 22 grams of protein per 100 grams of fish. Indian fish such as Rohu, Hilsa, Pomfret, Mackerel, and Salmon are full of protein. Fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. It also contains essential nutrients like vitamin D and B12. 

You can cook the fish by grilling it to make tandoori fish, baking it in a casserole or pie, pan-frying it lightly with seasoning or even cooking it the Indian way in a curry. You can also use it in dishes such as fish biryani or fish kebabs.