Protein is one of the macronutrients. Macronutrients are the nutrients required by the body in macro or big amounts. Proteins are the nutrient required for tissue repair and muscle building.
Protein is also essential during a weight loss journey as lack of protein may lead to increased cravings which are usually a big issue for people on weight loss journey. Some diets which focus on taking just soups and salads are usually low on protein. People following such low protein diets for long periods face issues like loss of hair, brittle nails, irritable moods, overall weakness and fatigue throughout the day.
It might also lead to a compromised immune system, which is very important in current COVID times. Low protein can also lead to low exercise tolerance, and exercise is an important component of a good weight loss journey.
Now the question arises about the amount. How much protein should one ideally take? A normal healthy adult requires about 0.8-1g/kg body weight of protein daily. But when you are on a weight loss journey your requirements are a little increased to 1-1.2g/kg body weight per day.
Now some people sell you protein powders and make you believe how without these powders your protein requirements cannot be met. They portray these shakes and powders to be an utmost essential part of your weight loss journey.
That is not true. You can very easily meet your daily protein requirements by having a properly planned home-based meal.
Although these protein powders may be consumed only if you are not able to meet your needs from food. For which you should consult an expert to help you optimize your food to meet protein requirements and if needed help you make an informed decision on these protein powders.
Now, let us look at all food items we can consume to increase our protein. Food groups like dairy, pulses, meat, and nuts are a good source of protein. So if we include these in all our meals our protein numbers will be good enough.
For vegetarians options like milk, paneer, curd, buttermilk, soybean dal, soy products like tofu, soy nuggets, soya chunks, soya flour, beans like rajma, chickpea, Bengal gram, black-eyed bean etc., pulses like red lentil, green gram, red gram horse gram, sattusharbat, roasted chana, nuts and seeds like groundnuts, almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, vegetables like peas and beans.
Whereas for non-vegetarians in addition to the above options they have eggs, lean meat sources like chicken breasts, chicken liver, fishes like Katla, pomfret (white), rohu, seafood like prawn and crab.
Recipes using one or more above mentioned protein-rich food items should be included in each meal to increase the protein content of the diet.
You can visit Fitnera’sInstagram page for protein-rich recipe ideas or DM us to get a whole list of options.
About the author: Pragya Sharma
Hi there, I am Pragya Sharma, a dietitian by profession. I am on a mission to help people live healthy and happy life. I have done my PG Diploma and Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Delhi. I am a life member of organisations like the Indian Dietetics Association and the Nutrition Society of India.