Protein is a nutrient that is needed by each and every cell in our body. It is present everywhere - hair, skin, muscles, bone, and almost every organ. It is present in the hemoglobin that carries oxygen and all the enzymes in the body. At least 10,000 proteins make your body and keep the body functioning. Some proteins are produced by our body while some other kinds must be obtained from food.[1]

Meat is not the only source of protein. Protein can be obtained from almost all types of foods in at least a small amount. Try building your meals with the foods which are rich not just in protein but also in a variety of other nutrients.  

Here’s how you can do this to ensure you get your daily quota of protein without breaking a sweat

Lentils and beans

These are rich in proteins, magnesium, potassium, fibre, and folate. There are many different types of beans and lentils available and are easy to prepare. Incorporate them in soups, salads, rice or other dishes for your daily dose of protein. [2] 

Nuts and nut butters

All nuts are healthy; they provide protein, vitamin E, healthy fats and selenium. Snack on these nuts as it is or add nuts or nut butters to different dishes such as breads, muffins, oatmeal, salads, rice and smoothies. [2] 

Tofu and tempeh

Tofu and tempeh, both soybean products, are rich in proteins and antioxidants. Additionally, they may be fortified with calcium. Tofu is available in different textures from soft, ricotta like to extra-firm while tempeh is similar to the extra-firm tofu and can be used as a substitute.[2]

Things you can try 

For breakfast, add nuts, seeds and whole grains in your food. You can also add beans, vegetables and tofu. For lunch and dinner, you can make sandwiches, salads and soups with tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, seeds and nuts. You can prepare dishes containing lentils or stir-fried tofu or tempeh and serve it with whole grains and vegetables. 

For snacks, use plant-based or regular dairy in your cereal and tea or coffee. Snack on nuts and seeds. Use regular milk or plant-based milk along with nuts, fruits and seeds in your smoothies.

Along with the plant-based proteins have 2-3 servings of dairy and dairy products every day. Check out food labels and buy foods that are rich in nutrients, including protein.[3] 

Plant-based proteins are considered healthy because along with protein, they also contain other nutrients like cancer-fighting phytochemicals and fibre, which are absent in animal proteins. They do not have any cholesterol and are low in fat. Dairy products, although not plant-based, are rich in proteins too. Meat substitutes are also a good source of protein. 

You can easily meet your daily requirement of protein with these protein-rich sources even if you are vegetarian.[4] 


Health benefits of almonds - why you should eat them everyday [Internet]. Available from:

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Protein [Internet]. Available from: (Accessed on 2020 Jan 22). 

Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Protein Foods for Your Vegetarian Child [Internet]. [Updated on 2019 Mar]. Available from: (Accessed on 2020 Jan 21). Oldways Vegetarian Network. Vegetarian Protein Food Sources [Internet]. Available from: (Accessed on 2020 Jan 22). 

Bishop T. Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein? Down to Earth [internet]. [Updated on 2019 May 13]. Available from: (Accessed on 2020 Jan 22).