Here are some of the best foods and food products for vegans and vegetarians to get their protein load on:
1. Soy: One of the most popular plant-based sources of protein is the humble soya, which is not a part of the traditional Indian diet, but is now being widely consumed around the world. You can include whole soyabeans in your diet by adding them to your salads or traditional curries and subzis.
2. Tofu: This pressed soy milk product has also been gaining traction as a dairy-free source of protein. It's added to salads, curries, pizzas, pastas and a host of other dishes, in the place of paneer and meats.
3. Lentils And Pulses: Just one cup of cooked lentils contains 18gm of protein and 15gm of fibre. Indian food already has a wide variety of dishes that use lentils as an ingredient. Lentils are eaten on an almost daily basis in some Indian households. All your dals like green gram, beans like rajma, chickpeas etc are examples of this.
4. Nuts: Nuts like almonds, cashews and pistachios are also great sources of protein. They are also sources of good fat and fibre and can also fill you up for longer.
5. Peanuts: Peanuts are often included in the category of nuts, but they are actually legumes. They can be easily added to a number of dishes like salads, curries or to a bowl of breakfast porridge or cereal.
6. Sunflower Seeds: One of the best seeds to eat for protein are sunflower seeds which contain 3.3gm of protein per 100gm. They can be roasted and eaten directly or added to sautéed vegetables, salads, smoothies, etc.
7. Sesame Seeds: A number of Indian sweets and dishes use the protein-rich sesame seeds. Some of the best examples of sesame seed sweet dishes are til gul laddoo, chikkis, gajaks, etc.
8. Quinoa: One of the grains that has recently gained the reputation of a superfood. It is also rich in protein and can be easily incorporated in your diet. Just a quarter cup of quinoa has as much as 8gm of protein.
9. Bajra or Millets: The ancient grain of bajra or millet is another great source of protein. Thankfully, Indian cuisines uses millets in a number of ways, from including it our dishes to making sweets out of it.
10. Oats: The healthy breakfast oatmeal is also a good source of protein. You can make plenty of dishes from oats including idlis, pancakes, energy bars and other snacks.
11. Kale and Spinach: Believe it or not, the amazing green leafy veggies of kale and spinach also happen to be rich in protein. What's more? They are also low on calories and great sources of antioxidants and a number of essential vitamins and minerals.
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