5 Amazing Vegetarian Protein Foods alternative to Egg- Indian Foods
In this article, we’ll explore five amazing vegetarian protein foods that are not only delicious but also healthier than eggs. Whether you’re a vegetarian, looking to reduce your egg consumption, or simply seeking alternative protein sources, you’re in for a treat.
1. Urad Dal – The Muscle Builder
Urad dal, often referred to as Black Gram, is a protein powerhouse that packs a punch. Just one serving (katori) of urad dal provides a whopping 15 grams of protein. But that’s not all; this pulse is also rich in essential micronutrients like magnesium, manganese, and zinc. Magnesium relaxes the muscles, manganese provides strength, and zinc helps boost testosterone. Urad dal can be a bit heavy to digest, but adding hing (asafoetida) and tej patta (bay leaves) to your preparation can make it more digestible. It’s a perfect choice for building muscle and a healthier alternative to eggs.
2. Green Moong Dal – Kid-Friendly Protein
Green moong dal is another vegetarian protein superstar. With approximately 14 grams of protein per serving, it’s an excellent source of plant-based protein. What makes it even better is its easy digestibility, making it suitable for both children and adults. You can enjoy it as a regular dal, sprouts, cheela, or even halwa. Just one serving of urad dal or green moong dal with a couple of chapatis can provide more protein than three eggs. Plus, studies have shown that excessive egg consumption can increase the risk of diabetes, while lentils, like moong dal, have been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes.
3. Bhuna Chana – The Protein-Packed Snack
Bhuna chana, or roasted chickpeas, is a nutritional powerhouse that offers 22 grams of protein per 100-gram serving. What sets it apart is its roasted nature, which eliminates anti-nutrients that can hinder protein absorption. Modern studies have also recognized the superior quality of protein found in bhuna chana compared to other plant proteins. Indian wrestlers have long sworn by this superfood, and you can enjoy it as a snack or even as a delicious chaat. Make sure to consume it with the skin to maximize your fiber intake.
4. Milk – The Versatile Protein Source
A glass of milk is a simple yet effective way to add quality protein to your diet. With approximately 10 grams of protein per glass, it’s a valuable source of essential nutrients such as vitamin D, B12, CLA, and omega-3 fatty acids. Milk can be considered a vegetarian alternative to non-vegetarian options. It’s an excellent post-workout option and has been shown to aid in muscle repair, increase strength, and reduce muscle soreness. You can also transform milk into various products like paneer (cottage cheese) and yogurt, further increasing your protein intake. Milk and milk products are not just rich in protein but also in protein enablers that promote lean muscle mass and reduce body fat.
5. Green Peas – The Complete Protein
Green peas might surprise you with their protein content. They are not only high in protein but also considered a complete source of protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. This makes them a prime choice for vegan protein powders, with studies suggesting their effectiveness is comparable to whey protein. Whether you incorporate green peas into dishes like aloo matar, gobhi, gajar, or pulao, they provide a flexible protein source. One classic dish is matar paneer, which can easily deliver 25 grams of protein in a single serving. Just remember that green peas can be gassy, so they are best suited for lunch according to Ayurveda.
6. Peanuts – The Protein-Packed Snack
Peanuts, often considered a snack, are a surprisingly rich source of protein. Just one handful of peanuts offers approximately 7 grams of protein. While peanuts are primarily known for their healthy fats, recent studies have highlighted their protein content. Peanut powder, in particular, has been shown to increase muscle mass and strength while reducing body fat. It’s a versatile ingredient that you can snack on, add to recipes like poha, or turn into peanut butter. What’s even more impressive is that regular consumption of peanuts has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease by 13%. It’s essential to consume them in moderation, though.
How Much Protein Do You Really Need?
Determining your daily protein needs can be a bit complex. Ayurveda emphasizes the digestibility of food rather than macronutrient counts. While modern studies offer varying recommendations, a notable long-term study suggests that 5-10% of your daily calorie intake should come from protein. You can easily meet these requirements with a typical Indian diet.
For example, if you consume 2 paranthas with curd for breakfast, aloo matar with 3 chapatis for lunch, dal rice for dinner, and half a glass of milk at night (amounting to an 1800-calorie diet), you’ll get around 43 grams of protein, easily meeting your needs. Of course, if your fitness goals require more protein, you can turn to the five protein sources mentioned above.
In conclusion, these amazing vegetarian protein foods not only offer a great alternative to eggs but also provide a wealth of nutrients and health benefits. So, make sure to incorporate these protein-rich options into your diet for a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- How much protein does an average person need daily? The protein requirement varies from person to person, but a general guideline is to get 5-10% of your daily calorie intake from protein. For most individuals, this can be easily met with a balanced diet.
- Can I get enough protein from a vegetarian diet? Absolutely! Vegetarian diets can provide ample protein through sources like legumes, dairy, and plant-based protein powders. The key is to include a variety of protein-rich foods in your meals.
- Are these vegetarian protein sources suitable for athletes and bodybuilders? Yes, these vegetarian protein sources are suitable for athletes and bodybuilders. They offer essential amino acids and can contribute to muscle growth and recovery when incorporated into a well-rounded diet.
- How can I make my diet more protein-rich while following a vegetarian lifestyle? To boost your protein intake as a vegetarian, include foods like legumes, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, and protein-rich vegetables in your diet. You can also consider using plant-based protein powders in smoothies and recipes.
- What are the health benefits of incorporating more plant-based protein into my diet? Plant-based protein sources are often lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than animal-based options. They can help support heart health, reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases, and promote overall well-being.