Protein – A well-known but missing nutrient in the Indian diet

Figure this, you try opening a particularly well-wrapped package and crack! You chip a fingernail. You’re too tired to function for the day. Hair-fall is another woe troubling you. Cold and flu always seem to follow you around! Well, all these could be signs of a diet deficient in protein.

Not just these, low protein in the diet can affect your sleep (all your sleep hormones are proteins too), result in a sluggish metabolism due to muscle loss (hello chronic fatigue), and can even make you vulnerable to diabetes (makes insulin less effective).

8 reasons why the sedentary working individual needs proteins:

  • Better immunity
  • Improved strength and muscle mass
  • Better metabolism to keep excess weight away
  • Better skin, hair, nails.
  • Help you sleep better
  • Re-energize and fight off fatigue
  • Keep your blood sugar levels in check

If you think a protein-rich diet is only for those who pump iron in the gym, then you’re wrong and you’re not alone! A survey titled ‘Protein consumption in the Diet of Adult Indians: A General Consumer Survey (PRODIGY)’ found that 9 out of 10 people consume inadequate amounts of protein a day. As much as 93% of the people don’t even know how much protein they need to consume!

The Indian Council of Medical Research has pegged the protein needs for an average sedentary individual at 1 gram of protein per kilo of body weight! So for a man weighing 60 kilograms, he requires 60 grams of protein intake, even if you sparingly workout! 

“Thumb rule: Ensure 25% of your plate is made up of proteins. “

Here are a few practical ways to up the protein consumption from the diet:

  1. Complementary proteins: As a vast majority of Indians are vegetarians, they can get their share of protein by including a combo of cereals and pulses into their meals. So dal-rice, khichdi, Pongal, idli, dhokla, chapati-usal, chole-puri are some examples of complementary sources of protein.
  2. Nuts are an underrated source of protein and good fats. You could include them in your diet as whole snacks or as a powder in oatmeal, chapatis or drizzled over dal.
  3. Low fat dairy is another great protein option. Your day to day dairy products would include milk, buttermilk, curd or paneer.
  4. Try and insert millets like ragi, bajra, jowar in your diet. If you can source it, quinoa is also a great and complete source of protein by itself.
  5. Other great ways to meet your protein requirements are protein-rich snacks. Things like protein bars which are easy to carry and consume or healthy protein chips that are tasty and filling too. RiteBite’s protein crisps are extruded (not fried) and made with multigrain. Hence they serve as an ideal balance to your diet as complimentary proteins.

So there you go, a quick guide on how to improve your protein intake and your quality of life! Cheers to a healthy productive day