There is always an emphasis on eating protein in our meals. But do you know why?
Why is protein so important?
Well to put it simply, Protein is an important building block of our muscles, cartilage, skin and hair. It helps us build and repair tissue and we need it for growth and maintenance. Apart from these structural functions, protein plays a very important role in biochemical reactions in our body in the form of enzymes, they form some of the hormones in our body (insulin, growth hormone etc) and they also bolster our immune health.
As Indians, our diets are rich in carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals. We are a grain rich society and we are not consuming adequate protein.
So let’s see how we can start including protein into our meals by starting with some Breakfast options.
High Protein Breakfast Smoothie
Start with a base of around 1 cup of frozen fruit like bananas/strawberries/Mango.
Add a scoop of your favourite protein powder to it.
Top it up with a tbsp of chia seeds and 1/4th cup instant oats (You can powder the oats beforehand if you prefer a smoother consistency).
Add this to your blender with ½ – 2/3rd cup milk (dairy/non-dairy) and blend till smooth.
While blending you can add some ice cubes if you want.
Enjoy a delicious chilled high protein breakfast.
Eggs are an inexpensive and versatile way to add some protein to your breakfast. Whether it’s an omelette, scrambled, poached, fried or boiled eggs, they are an easy and quick breakfast option you can reach out for.
Greek Yogurt Parfait
Opt for plain unsweetened Yogurt or better still make it at home by straining regular yogurt extensively to remove excess liquid whey and lactose that leaves behind a thicker-textured yogurt.
Take ¾ cup yogurt, a tbsp of chia seeds and 1 tsp of honey (or any sweetener of choice) and add them to a bowl and mix well.
Take your serving jar or container and add some fruit like berries, mango, banana, pineapple, kiwis etc. at the bottom and crush them a little with a fork.
Top your crushed fruits with the yogurt mixture and put it in the fridge either overnight or for 15 minutes.
Top it with some crushed nuts and seeds before serving!
Whether you are a Vegan, vegetarian or neither of these, tofu can be an excellent addition to your breakfasts. Make sure you add a lot of vegetables, herbs and seasonings to make it protein packed and delicious breakfast.
In a number of Indian households left over lentils/dals are used to knead whole wheat flour and make some delicious parathas. Be sure to add some vegetables to the parathas and pair them with a bowl full of homemade curd.
Fluffy Oats and Yogurt Pancakes
Try this delicious way of combining oats and yogurt for a delightful breakfast!
Whisk 2 large eggs with a spoon of butter. Once combined and smooth whisk in 1 ¼ Cup of yogurt. Keep aside.
In another bowl mix the dry ingredients together – 1 cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup oat flour, ¼ cup flaxseed powder.
Add this to the yogurt mixture and stir until combined. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes. If it is too thick or not of pouring consistency you can add 1-2 tbsp of milk.
Heat a pan over medium heat and pour ¼ cup batter. Cook on one side until bubbles form and break and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook on the second side until done.
Serve warm with some fresh fruit.
Paneer stuffed moong dal chilla
Grind the Overnight soaked moong dal along with green chillies into a smooth paste, having pan-cake like consistency. Add finely chopped ginger, garlic, coriander to the batter. Add some spiced like cumin, turmeric, and salt. Mix them all up and keep aside.
Heat your pan with a drizzle of oil added to it. Pour a ladle full of this batter to the heated pan and spread to make a circle. Flip when one side is cooked. Once cooked completely, remove from the pan and add a big spoon full of filling* in the centre. Roll it and enjoy with a homemade mint dip.
*Filling: Grated Paneer, Chopped onions and Chopped tomatoes
Protein Banana Pancakes
Egg whites, protein powder and ripe bananas make up this complete and wholesome meal.
In a bowl – beat 2 egg whites for a good 2 mins until they form soft peaks.
In another bowl mix the 2 egg yolks with 1 large banana, a pinch of cinnamon powder, ¼ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, 2 scoops whey protein powder. Mix this up nicely and then add it to the beaten egg whites. Gently fold the mixture until everything is well combined.
Your pancake batter is ready.
Heat your pan over low heat. Scoop 1/4 c. of the mixture onto the pan and cook for 60-90 seconds on each side.
Serve immediately with a topping of creamy greek yogurt and fresh fruit.
Overnight Oats and Chia pudding
Simple, quick, protein rich breakfast for busy mornings.
Combine 1/3 Cup rolled oats, 1 tbsp chia seeds and a sweetener of your choice in jar. Add ½ cup milk of choice to the mixture and stir it well. Refrigerate this mix overnight.
If the pudding is really thick in the morning you can top it up with a little more milk.
Add fresh fruits like chikoo, mango, and banana on top. And garnish it some chopped Almonds and walnuts.
Bonus protein: You can also add half a scoop of your favourite whey protein to the mix.
- Quinoa Breakfast Porridge
A vegetarian/vegan recipe made with the ancient grain
Quinoa is a good vegetarian source of protein and is naturally gluten free, making it a better option for people who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease.
Combine 1 cup uncooked quinoa and 2 cups of milk (dairy/non-dairy) in a saucepan.
Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add Sweetener of choice and a pinch of cinnamon powder and heat for another 5 to 6 minutes, until quinoa is soft.
Once cooked, stir in some chopped strawberries (or any fruit you like), some chopped nuts and garnish with cacao nibs for a sweet morning treat.
You can also add your favourite protein powder to it for some extra protein.
Egg and Chicken Veggie Wrap
This one definitely doesn’t need any explanation. You can use your left over dinner Chapatis or make them fresh. Add a fried egg, boiled shredded chicken and some finely chopped veggies for the filling. Protein rich, satiating breakfast option!
Peanut Butter and Banana Toast with Chia Seeds
This one is an absolute go to when running short on time and a quick energy boost is needed. You know what would make this even better? Ezekiel bread. Or any bread that is made of sprouted grains.
Simple Poached Egg on Avocado Toast
If you are someone who loves poached eggs, this delicious creamy combination is for you.
All you need are 2 eggs, 2 slices of whole grain bread & ½ an avocado. A simple salt & Pepper seasoning with some fresh herbs like parsley or thyme and your wholesome breakfast is ready!
Chicken and Cheese Sandwich
You can never go wrong with a chicken sandwich. Low effort and absolutely fulfilling.
Heat some oil in a pan on medium flame and add some chopped garlic to it. Sauté it for a couple of minutes and then add some chopped tomatoes, basil leaves, Italian seasoning and black pepper and mix it well.
Add your shredded boiled chicken to this mix and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add a tbsp of grated cheese and mozzarella cheese each and cook it for two more minutes before turning off the heat.
Take a slice of your bread and put this mixture on top. Top it off with more cheese and put the other slice of bread on top.
Now you can toast this sandwich either in an oven or your trusty sandwich maker. Enjoy it with your morning coffee!