... Lose weight while eating your favorite South Indian Meals.

Written by: Dr. Marc Morris Ph.D CSCS, and Shobana Arvind

How to Eat 100+ Grams Of Protein With South Indian Vegetarian Choices

... Lose weight while eating your favorite South Indian Meals.

Written by: Dr. Marc Morris Ph.D CSCS, and Shobana Arvind

Embarking on a weight loss journey as a South Indian vegetarian often involves navigating the many misconceptions surrounding protein.

Many individuals, eager to shed unwanted fat, remain fearful about incorporating more protein into their diets, or feel confused over what foods to eat to get in more protein and reach their goals.

Today, we're breaking down those myths with the help of Coach Shobana, a seasoned nutrition expert from South India, who was able to lose 7kg herself by eating the foods in this article.

#1 Paneer

When it comes to Indian cuisine, the spotlight often falls on Paneer. From Paneer Tikka to Paneer Butter Masala, it's a protein-packed delight.

However, not all Paneer is created equal. Paneer has a high calorie and fat content. This varies based on the brand and type of milk used to make it.

Generally speaking, Paneer contains around 12-20g of protein per 100g. To have a healthy balance of calories and fats, consider limiting your portion size to 50-80g so you can add other low-calorie components to your meal to make it balanced.



Simple marinades, grilling, or sautéing with salt and pepper can elevate Paneer.

My go-to meal is a combination of Paneer Parata and Grilled Paneer, a delicious duo that played a role in my 6 kg weight loss journey through the Dr. Marc Method.


Favorite Brands

Some of my favorite brands are Milky Mist, Amul, and Akshayakalpa.

#2 Milk and Curd

Most South Indians kick start their day with coffee or chai with milk and sugar. Milk provides around 3g of protein per 100ml, but the fat percentage is high depending on your choice of milk.

While you don’t have to cut milk out entirely and drink straight black coffee or tea, I would recommend swapping for a low-fat milk to keep you in a calorie deficit.

Curd is another significant part of South Indian cuisine, specifically homemade. For every 100g of curd you are getting 3g of protein.



Curd finds its way into various South Indian dishes like Raitas, Mor Kozhambu, Avial, and Kadis.

A cup of curd accompanying idli, dosa, or parathas can significantly boost your meal's protein content!


Favorite Brands

My favorite brands vary by location. In Tamil Nadu we have Aavin and in Karnataka we have Nandhini.

Note: I indulge in milk sweets and Payasams. However, I also acknowledge that they are rich in sugar and ghee.

Additionally, curd is a staple in our household, enjoyed with every meal. While low-fat or fat-free versions are yet to be available, it’s important to note that you can still enjoy these desserts while maintaining a balanced diet.

Want to Learn More?

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#3 Soy

For those exploring non-dairy options, soy products emerge as protein-rich alternatives. Soy milk offers 4-5g of protein per 100ml, making it an excellent choice for vegans. 

Plant-Based Curd: 

Tofu, a plant-based powerhouse, steals the spotlight with an impressive protein content. Clocking in at approximately 15g of protein per 100g, this unassuming ingredient has shown to be a substantial protein source.



The potential uses of tofu are endless. Whether marinated and grilled, sautéed with personalized seasonings, or seamlessly integrated into vegetable stir-fries, tofu has proven to be an adaptable protein source.

For a unique twist, consider grating it to craft a flavorful masala for your masala dosa, providing a delightful alternative to traditional potato fillings.

There are so many other possibilities with tofu. Mash tofu with boiled chickpeas or garbanzo beans, blending in onions, garlic, green chilies, and salt. Shape into patties, generously brushed with oil, and baked to perfection in the oven. The possibilities are as diverse as your culinary imagination.


Favorite Brands

There are a very few brands of tofu available commonly in India. One brand that I have found the most accessible near me is Briya’s.

#4 Lentils

Lentils hold a special place in South Indian cuisine, featured in sambars, kootus, rasams, and side dishes.

While lentils are primarily carbs with about 60-70%, they still offer 6-7g of protein per 100g when cooked. For people who eat lean animal protein, lentils will be considered purely a carb. However, vegetarians count lentils as a protein even though there is a lower percentage.



Preparing lentils may take some time, but the payoff is totally worth it.

First, soak the beans overnight, then either boil or pressure cook them.

You can toss them straight into salads for a crunchy twist or sauté them with seasonings and a bit of grated coconut for extra flavor.

Sprouting lentils gives them a nutritional boost. I keep a mix of sprouts and various cooked beans in my fridge, and I turn them into salads by sautéing 100-150g with green chillies, onions, and salt. This mix becomes my go-to source of complex carbohydrates, replacing rice or rotis in my meals.

Favorite Brands

There isn’t a specific brand I prefer for lentils, but opting for organic varieties ensures a high-quality source.

#5 Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt, a personal favorite of mine, takes center stage with 7-8g of protein per 100g.

The bacterial processing differs from homemade curds, resulting in a higher protein percentage.



Versatile and delicious, Greek yogurt can be blended with fruits, cereal, oats, or whey protein for a high-protein breakfast. It also serves as a base for raitas, kadis, dips, and even pizza toppings.

This has been a favorite breakfast of mine for the past two years.

Favorite Brands

Epigamia and Milky Mist are readily available options.

Putting It Into Action


Breakfast (39-40g Protein):

I like to start off my day with a breakfast powerhouse, a blend of Greek yogurt, soy milk, whey protein, and an assortment of fruits.

This concoction packs a substantial protein punch, contributing around 39-40g to my daily goal.

Lunch (32g Protein):

My usual lunch has a few staple ingredients. A generous serving of mixed sprouts, lentils, beans, and homemade yogurt lays the foundation, offering a wholesome dose of nutrients. To elevate the protein content, I will add some couta or Dal, incorporating a bit more lentils into the meal.

This carefully curated lunch contributes approximately 32g of protein to my daily intake.

Dinner (34g Protein):

As the day winds down, I will indulge in a dinner featuring a non-negotiable element - 200g of tofu stir-fried with vegetables.

This tofu-centric dish not only satisfies the taste buds but also provides a robust 34g of protein, bringing my daily total to an impressive 105g on this particular day.


Consistency is the Key:

What has made my approach so successful is consistency in my meals. While the specific components may vary, the strategic use of Greek yogurt, soy milk, lentils, beans, and tofu forms the backbone of my protein-rich diet, while allowing myself to stick to my South Indian roots.

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