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19 Protein-Rich Foods You Must Include In Your Diet For Good Health

With so much buzz around the word ‘protein’, you must have definitely wondered what role it plays in your health. Well, protein is one of the six essential nutrients that are necessary for our body to function properly and to maintain overall health. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the major structural component of every cell in the body, and are found in muscles, bone, skin, hair, and every other tissue. Since they are essentially the body’s building blocks, it is imperative to include protein-rich foods in your diet.   

Not sure which foods qualify as protein-rich foods? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Below, we have listed some examples of protein-rich foods that include protein-rich food for vegetarians, protein-rich food for weight loss, protein rich food to gain weight, and protein-rich foods for pregnancy. 

Also Read: Homemade protein shakes

Protein Rich Foods For Vegetarians

When we think of protein-rich foods, we often think of chicken, meat, or eggs. It’s true that most non-vegetarian foods are good sources of protein, but that doesn’t mean there are no options available for vegetarians. There are many vegetables as well as dairy products that are excellent sources of protein. Below are some protein-rich foods for vegetarians that you can include in your diet!   

Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt
Unsplash– Greek Yogurt

A 100 gram serving of Greek yogurt provides 10 grams of protein, making it a good source of protein. Not just protein, Greek yogurt is also rich in vitamin B12, riboflavin, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc. Besides, it is easy to incorporate Greek yogurt into your diet. Just add it to smoothies, or use it in dips. This protein rich food is both yummy and healthy!  

Lentils

Lentils are nutritious staples in Indian households, and for good reason! They offer numerous health benefits and are a great source of plant-based protein. 100 grams of boiled lentils provide about 9 grams of protein. Besides protein, lentils are also good sources of iron, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and zinc. 

High Zinc Vegetables

Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds
Unsplash– Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are slowly and steadily gaining popularity as people are becoming aware of their many health benefits. These seeds are packed with protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and may also support weight loss. You can easily incorporate this protein-rich food into your diet by either adding them to your smoothies, salad dressings, or even making chia seed jam!   

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is one such protein-rich food that is popular among athletes and those who want to gain muscle mass mainly due to the high protein content. 100 grams of cottage cheese provides approximately 11 grams of protein and contains relatively fewer calories. Apart from protein, cottage cheese is also a good source of B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and selenium. 

Vitamin D Rich Foods For Vegetarians

Quinoa

Quinoa may seem like a tiny seed, but it is packed with healthy nutrients, especially protein and fiber. What makes this protein-rich food unique is that it contains all nine essential amino acids that your body can’t make on its own, making it a complete protein. Since quinoa is gluten-free, it can also be safely consumed by people who suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease. 

Tofu

Tofu is yet another source of plant protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. It is a great protein-rich food to add to your diet and will keep you fuelled up for longer. It is also packed with other vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, manganese, selenium. A 100 gram serving of tofu contains 8 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fat. 

Fiber Rich Foods

Almonds

Almonds
Unsplash– Almonds

Almonds make for a yummy snack to munch on whenever you feel a pang of hunger, and they also make for amazing protein-rich food for vegetarians. Almonds provide 7 grams of protein per 1/4cup (35 gram) serving. Almonds can be eaten as a snack or can also be added to smoothies or sweet dishes.    

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of protein, and a 100-gram serving of these seeds provides 19 grams of protein. Pumpkin seeds make for a tasty and healthy snack that you can munch on! They are not just foods rich in protein, but are also packed with healthy fats, fiber, magnesium and other important nutrients. 

Potassium Rich Foods

Protein Rich Foods To Lose Weight 

Consuming foods rich in protein may have an effect on your appetite. When you eat protein-rich foods, you are likely to feel satiated for longer, thereby reducing binge eating. You’ll likely notice a major reduction in hunger, and hence you automatically eat fewer calories. Including protein-rich foods in your diet can help you suppress your appetite, promote fullness and increase metabolism, thereby aiding in weight loss. 

Eggs

Eggs
Unsplash– Eggs

When it comes to protein-rich foods, one can’t miss mentioning eggs! You’ll notice that eggs are often included in the diets of athletes, fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders, mainly because they are high in protein. 100 grams of eggs will provide you with 13 grams of protein, making it an excellent protein source. You can include eggs as a part of your breakfast along with fruits and veggies. It is likely to keep your hunger satiated for longer. 

Beans And Legumes

Beans and legumes are an integral part of every Indian household, so incorporating these protein-rich foods into your diet won’t be difficult! Beans such as kidney beans, black beans, and legumes such as peas, lentils, chickpeas are good sources of protein and fiber. Consuming beans and legumes can keep you fuller for longer, and may also help you avoid untimely hunger cravings. 

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower are low in calories, and high in fiber. They also have a substantial amount of protein, and the combination of fiber and protein can help you feel full for a longer time. Besides protein and fiber, cruciferous vegetables are also rich in other essential nutrients that are good for your health.

Green Peas

Green peas are a good source of vegetable protein, and are also high in fiber. Besides, they are low in fat and have no cholesterol, making them a great protein-rich food to lose weight. 

Protein Rich Foods To Gain Weight 

There are certain foods that are excellent sources of proteins and important healthy fats that can help with building muscle and gaining weight. If you’re looking to gain weight, below are some protein-rich foods that you can include in your diet.

Milk

Milk
Unsplash– Milk

Parents are often trying to coerce their kids to drink a glass of milk daily, and it’s not for no reason! Milk is a complete food in itself and contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, numerous vitamins, and minerals. It is also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin. One cup of whole cow’s milk contains 152 calories and about 8 grams of protein. For those who don’t consume cow’s milk and follow a plant-based diet, soy milk is a good alternative. Soy milk is also high in protein and contains less fat than cow’s milk. 

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is your go-to healthy source of protein, especially if you’re trying to gain weight. It contains healthy calories and is also rich in protein and fiber. You’ll find a lot of gym lovers and athletes including peanut butter in their diets and that is mainly because it is a powerhouse of nutrients and fuels your body. A 100 gram serving of peanut butter contains 25grams of protein, making it a food rich in protein. 

Red Meat

Red meat is high in protein, and can help with building muscle mass and gaining weight. Apart from protein, red meat also contains healthy fats, making it an excellent protein-rich food to gain weight. 

Cheese

Cheese
Unsplash– Cheese

Who doesn’t love cheese? It is a delicious ingredient that most people relish in sandwiches, pizzas and more! Cheese is an excellent option for those trying to gain weight and load up on protein simultaneously as it is a good source of fat, protein, calcium and calories. 

Salmon

Salmon is a fatty fish that is also a good source of protein and is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Besides, this protein-rich food is also high in other nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, potassium and iron. Apart from salmon, other fatty fishes that are excellent sources of protein include salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout. These not only contain protein, but also important healthy fats.  

Protein Rich Foods For Pregnancy

Protein is an essential nutrient not just for you, but also for your baby’s growth and development throughout your pregnancy. During pregnancy, eating protein-rich foods such as lean meat, eggs, soy products, yogurt, beans, legumes etc can be beneficial. Apart from these, here are some of the best protein-rich foods that moms-to-be can include in their diet. 

Chicken Breast

Chicken breast
Unsplash– Chicken breast

Chicken breast has an impressive amount of protein, and a 100-gram serving provides 31 grams of protein, which is relatively high. It is a great source of lean protein, meaning it has relatively low fat and saturated fatty acids. This protein-rich food for pregnancy is a great way of meeting your body’s protein requirements without consuming too much fat. However, depending on how it is cooked, its fat and calorie count can differ. You can choose to roast, poach or grill the chicken instead of deep-frying it if you’re looking for a low-calorie option.

Nuts And Seeds

Nuts and seeds that are high in protein include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashew nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds. These nuts and seeds are not just protein-rich foods, but they are also high in dietary fiber. They make for great snacks that you can relish whenever you feel hungry. Just make sure you’re not allergic to the nuts and seeds before you consume them. 

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Featured Image: Unsplash

20 Dec 2021

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