There is a common misconception that for vegetarians, protein choices are limited. While non-vegetarians get their protein from foods like chicken, salmon and eggs, there are many options for vegetarians, too, to have a balanced diet that is rich in protein.

Nutritionist Azra Khan lists some of the major sources of vegetarian protein, in case you are looking to make some dietary changes. Read on.

Lentils: In 100 g of lentils you will get 7-8 g of protein. It includes black lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, split peas, green lentils, black beans, etc.

Quinoa: It belongs to the amaranth family, and has all the essential amino acids. If you consume 100 g of quinoa, it will give you 9 g of protein.

Pumpkin seeds: If you consume them, one tablespoon will give you 5 grams of protein.

Curd: Easily available and consumed all through the year, you will get 9 grams of protein from a 100 gram curd bowl.

Paneer/Tofu: A classic alternative to chicken, if you consume 100 grams of paneer, you will get 16 grams of protein, and if you eat 100 grams of tofu, you get 8 grams of protein.

Keep in mind that protein deficiency can lead to a host of health problems, including issues with the hair, skin and nails. It can also cause a loss of muscle mass, since muscles are understood to be the largest reservoir of protein. In addition to that, not enough protein intake can weaken your bones, too, and make you prone to fractures.

In the formative years of a child’s life, protein-rich foods can build their immunity and help them grow; lack of protein can slow down growth and also make a person more susceptible to infections.

Protein-rich foods have to be consumed in certain amounts, and for that you can check with a dietician and customise your everyday meals.

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