Proteins for active vegetarians (quick food recipes)

…outside of India.

When I was in India, I never cared about the food I used to eat. I had a trustworthy cook and a menu chart on the fridge. Based on the week’s recipes, there was a list of raw materials which were delivered at our door step. My task was mostly food management, dinner guests management and overall supervision. Breakfast was usual items like upma, poha, sandwich, paneer parathe, besan chille. Lunch meals had lentils/beans or paneer item and dinner was some junk stuff like fried rice, paav bhaaji, pasta, etc.

When I shifted to Singapore, without getting help in cooking & cleaning, I started eating out. Also I tried experimenting with non vegetarian food. Meat and fish didn’t suit my digestive tracks and Chinese preparations didn’t suit my taste buds. I had to lose quite some weight to be able to do justice to dragon boating, a weekend activity without which life seems dull and incomplete. When I started tracking my food intake, I realized more than 70 pc of my food intake was carbs, and less than 10% was proteins. Ideally, I needed to take 50 g of proteins out of which I wasn’t even taking 10 g!

Thus started my journey as a health conscious person who is “conscious” about what she eats. So these are the things that are very quick and easy to make and can keep you fit and healthy!

  • Vegetable soup in chicken broth: easiest of recipe which makes up a good dinner meal

Recipe: garlic, ginger, chilles, onions sauteed in little olive oil, boil chicken broth and add all vegetables you want to eat: carrots, beans, brocolli, zuccini, tomatos, potatos, peppers. The key ingredient is celery which gives a unique flavor to the whole thing. I love this soup and have it for 5 meals in a week. The best thing about this recipe is you just have to chop all veggies and freeze them once in a month. After that you can simply make fresh batch of soup every week using the frozen veggies reducing total time spent in preparation and cooking to 7 mins!

soup

  • Mozzarella cheese, eggs: morning meal

I make sure I have good protein intake in breakfast. A glass of milk has about 8g of proteins (15% reqd). 2 boiled egg whites has 12 g (and only 80 cal). Sometimes I replace egg by mozzarella slices which has 8g protein per slice. Total time to prepare & cook: 5-10 mins.

cheese

  • Scrambled eggs (spicy) in microwave

Food for me is a mood lifter. Unless I love something I can’t eat the same thing every day. Hence, I need to make my eggs interesting. Sunny-side-up, omelette without oil are a few ways. But the easiest and simplest way is to simply put all the raw ingredients (egg white, olives, chillies, etc) in a bowl and microwave for 3 mins while stirring once. You can eat in the same bowl, no cooking vessel to wash! Total time to prepare & cook: 5-10 mins.

  • Greek yoghurt: gives 10 g of protein for every 100 gm of serving

This is a friend’s recipe. Simply add fruits which you don’t like to eat otherwise in flavoured greek yoghurt or add honey in plain yoghurt and enjoy a delicious snack which is supremely nutritious! Takes about 5-10 mins to prepare including the time to chop the fruits.

yoghurt

I break my protein intake as: 20 g breakfast (eggs + milk), 20 g lunch (lentils/beans 2 bowls boiled with salt), 10 g supper (yoghurt), additional 5-10 g in case of another glass of milk

In traditional Indian recipes, proteins are given no significance, when actually they are a crucial component of your diet if you need to build your strength and want to be fit. In Singapore, I realized even vegetarian dishes are served with mushrooms or eggs, making the dish worthwhile! For vegetarian Indians, a conscious effort is required to ensure every meal has enough protein portion. I am happy with the results of change in my diet so far. I find myself much fitter than I was 2 years back, than I was 6 months back! I am able to survive the 3 hours of rowing training happily! :D

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