The body needs proteins, before and after workouts. HealthifyMe senior nutritionist Neha Jain explains, “Proteins are the building blocks of our body. You need them for the daily wear and tear of muscles, to speed up recovery and to gain strength.”

While we all know meat and eggs pack a high protein punch, there’s this misconception that a vegetarian meal plan comes up short. While vegetarians often feel that they have fewer choices, there are enough options available for them to meet their daily protein quota, says Neha.  

Here are Neha’s top high protein picks for people who follow an Indian vegetarian diet:

#1 Chickpeas

They’re high in protein and fiber, and low in calories. Snack on them boiled, toss them into salads or puree into a yummy hummus.

Protein punch 7.3 gm per 1/2 cup serving

#2 Kidney beans

Kidney beansKidney beans are a chock-a-block with protein, carbohydrates and fiber. Paired with boiled or steamed rice, Rajma-Chawal is an all time favourite dish in the Indian household. Apart from being delicious, it’s a wholesome meal, which can be enjoyed in the form of a curry, as a topping in salads, in enchiladas or in the form of a spicy chili.

Protein punch 7.5 gm per 1/2 cup serving

#3 Milk

Got milk? If you do, you’re sure to do well on your protein test. Apart from being a rich source of protein, milk is rich in calcium and ensures good bone health, strong teeth, a healthy immune system and glowing skin. Avoid full-fat versions; look for skimmed options that have been fortified with vitamin D.

Protein Punch 8 gm per 1 cup serving

#4 Cottage Cheese

Cottage CheesePaneer is to India what cheese is to the rest of the world. High in casein, a slow-digesting dairy protein, paneer also offers you a good amount of calcium, keeps you fuller for longer and helps burn more fat. Reason enough to have more? Add it to a vegetable preparation, toss it into sauteed vegetables or eat as it is.

Protein punch 14 gm per 1/2 cup serving

#5 Lentils

Indians can’t do without their dals, be it arhar, urad or moong. A part of almost every meal, lentils are an easy and inexpensive way of amping up your intake of protein, fiber and essential minerals. Serve with a side of rice or roti for a complete meal.

Protein Punch 9 gm per 1/2 cup serving

#6 Green Peas

peasNot many vegetables are as rich in protein as this winter staple. You get the protein and fiber from frozen green peas too, so go ahead and stash a bag in your freezer. Make sure you pick up the bag and check how the peas have been frozen – if you can feel them, they’re good to go; if not, they have been thawed and refrozen into a big chunk. Try Matar Paneer to boost your protein intake.

Protein Punch 7 gm per 1 cup serving

#7 Mixed Seeds

Seeds add crunch and quite a bit of protein to your meals. Choose from sesame, sunflower, pumpkin or poppy seeds – as they’re all high in protein and healthy fats. Apart from salads, you can also add them to raita, cereal or homemade granola.

Protein Punch 5-7.3 gm per quarter cup serving

Neha’s high protein sample menu

Getting your fix of protein minus the meat may seem to be tough but it really isn’t. Neha’s curated a list of food items that are high in protein with their calorific value! Incorporate these in your diet today:  

  • 300 ml skimmed milk/100 gm curd, 25 gm oats/porridge with 10 gm peanuts and 2 gm sesame/sunflower/flax seeds – Protein 19 gm
  • 30 gm sprouts – Protein 7 gm
  • 30g chickpeas/kidney beans, 100 gm curd, 1 oats chapatiProtein 16 gm protein
  • Besan paneer cheela – Protein 12 gm
  • Rajma salad, oat bran chapati, paneer bhurji – Protein 16 gm

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Written by Neha Jain

Neha Jain

She may have multiple degrees to back her expertise, but Neha Jain believes there’s nothing complex about nutrition. There is no magic formula for a healthy diet – the trick lies in balancing a variety of food groups and ensuring you’re eating the right portion size. With an MSc in Food and Nutrition from Delhi University and diplomas in naturopathy and yogic sciences, Neha is also a certified diabetes educator with extensive experience in endocrinological disorders and weight reduction, having worked with renowned endocrinologist Dr Ambrish Mithal in Delhi. Her goal is to help people find easy ways to make healthy choices, and believes HealthifyMe has simplified her task with its technology. Neha’s made the right choices for her family – she’s helped her husband control his high cholesterol levels and borderline diabetes by changing the meal plan at home, and introducing him to regular exercise – and now she’s hoping to ‘healthify’ you too.

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    • Hi Akash,

      Please download the HealthifyMe app and enjoy a 7-day free trial. You will also be able to free consultation call with a diet or fitness coach. They will be able to help you with your protein intake.

    • Eat 8 chapati per day 3 morning , 2 lunch time nd 3 in dinner one chapati contain 3 gm of proteins , total 24 gm and eat 100 gm of soyabeans dal , 35 gm proteins, 35 +24 =59 gm of proteins

    • Hi Mamta,

      Please download the HealthifyMe app and enjoy a 7-day free trial. This will also enable you to schedule a free consultation call with a diet coach, who will help you.

      Looking forward to hearing back from you.

  1. Hi Neha…
    Being a vegan it’s really difficult for me to fulfill my daily requirement of protein, precisely my protein intake has be 160 grams.
    I am trying my level best to achieve it but can’t cope up with my hectic schedule. How many meals should I make in order to fulfill my daily need.
    Regards: Dheeraj Sharma

    • Hi Dheeraj,

      Ideally, you should have a minimum of 6 – 8 meals in a day, including your pre and post workout meals. You can fulfil your daily protein intake by consuming products made out of soya, like soya chunks, soya bean curd or tofu. You may also substitute normal milk with almond or peanut milk. If needed you can also take protein supplements that do not contain dairy.

  2. Hi in my case my kidney is loosing protein approx 1300-1500 and dr recomend me to take protein in
    My daily routein so pls suggeat me that how and how much in which way i can take protein

    • Hi Deepika,

      You must consume at least minimum 0.7 to 0.8 g per kg body weight high quality protein like milk and its products, lean portions of meat, soy products, etc.

  3. hii mam I wana get 60 grm protein frm my diet so what should i eat??? I can’t eat egg becoz my hv another issue with egg, plzzz do suggest me

    • Hi Rahul,

      Here are a few vegetarian sources of protein that you can consume, dals, lentils, sprouts, milk and its products, soy products, mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, hummus, and nuts.

  4. Thanks for sharing this useful information.The protein found in foods is used by every part of the body to develop, grow and function properly.

  5. Very good article written by Naha Jain. She has summarily given 7 high class Indian vegetarian proteins. A good article to read and adopt for Indian as well as world veggies ! ( Mandira Bhattacharjee (alongwith my husband RJ Bhattacharjee), from Kolkata, India.

  6. Comment:hey i wnt to knw how cn i make my body build up my weight is too less how to gain weight without fat give me d name of food which i hv to include in my daily diet plz help yarr

    • Hi Rahul,

      Your situation calls for expert help and a personalised diet and wprkout plan. The best way you can get access to this is by downloading the HealthifyMe application and our certified diet and fitness coaches will be more than happy to assist you.

      Hope this helps!

  7. Mam,i need 212g protein,318g carbs and 79g fats per what can i add to my diet to maintain the above requirement.
    pls suggest me mam

    • Hi Rahul,

      Your diet needs to be planned in order for you to get the required amount of nutrients. There is no ready foods which can give you the mentioned amount of nutrients. If you are looking for some help with respect to a personalised diet, our coaches at HealthifyMe will be able to assist. Please download teh HealthifyMe app and reap teh benefits of personalised services.

      Hope this helps you!