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Tofu vs. Paneer -- Which is healthier?

Wondering which is healthier? Read to find out!

Written by Poorva Chavan |Updated : February 9, 2015 1:09 PM IST

We Indians love paneer and it is the most widely consumed dairy product in India. While paneer is known for its various health benefits like a good source of protein and a rich source of calcium, slowly making its way into the Indian kitchen is tofu. Tofu is made from curdled soybean milk and looks similar to paneer. Whereas, paneer can be easily made at home by curdling milk, preparation of tofu is not as simple. The painstaking process of making tofu makes it rich in nutrients and protein and effectively helps in warding off diseases like cancer.

Protein content: Paneer is widely known for its high protein content. 100 g of paneer contains 18.3 g of protein which makes it an excellent source of protein for vegetarians. It is also ideal for people on a weight gain diet or those on a weight training regime as it helps muscle build up and muscle wear and tear. Tofu on the other hand has only 6.9 g of protein as it is made from soy milk. You may like to read about 7 signs you need to eat protein rich foods.

Fat content: Although paneer is known to be weight loss friendly as it keeps you full for a long time, the fat content per 100 g of paneer is 20.8 which way higher than tofu as it only contains 2.7 g of fat per 100 g. Tofu makes an excellent replacement of paneer for someone who is on a weight loss plan, without actually sacrificing the taste or the texture.

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Calories: Paneer is high on calories when compared to tofu. A 100 g serving of paneer has 265 calories whereas tofu on the other hand only has 62 calories again proving its potential as an ideal weight loss food.

Carbohydrate content: Paneer although made from milk has lower carbohydrate content than tofu. A carbohydrate content of 1.2 g in paneer makes it more friendly to diabetics as tofu has almost double the amount carbohydrates.

Calcium content: Tofu is also known to be a rich source of calcium but it fails to beat paneer in this context. A 100 g serving of paneer has 208 mg of calcium whereas that of tofu contains 130 mg of calcium making paneer more useful to build strong bones and teeth.

Iron content: Tofu is also rich in iron whereas paneer reduces the bioavailability of iron. Iron is essential to maintain blood hemoglobin levels and tofu can be included in the diet by someone who suffers from anemia.

Which is healthier?

In the context of the nutritional information of both tofu and paneer it seems that paneer can be substituted with tofu for someone on weight loss plan. Although avoiding paneer completely would not be feasible due its other health benefits like high protein and calcium content. Consumption of paneer in moderation is advisable over completely shunning it. Diabetics on the other hand could refrain from switching to tofu from paneer because of the carbohydrate content although consulting a doctor before doing this would be advisable.

How to incorporate tofu in your diet

Tofu is easily available in the market nowadays and you can try making a tofu stir fry. You can always include your favorite vegetables. All you need is rub your favorite spice mix and salt to taste on small cubes of tofu. Similarly you can also apply this spice mix on vegetables like bell peppers, potatoes, carrots. On a preheated grill or a tava saut these vegetables and tofu cubes till the tofu becomes golden brown in colour. Garnish with some lemon juice and coriander leaves. Whereas, paneer being a staple in India household, many delicacies like palak paneer or matar paneer are regular visitors of the dining table. Palak paneer is packed with god ness from the palak or spinach in it. It is rich in iron and also a good protein source. Read more about 6 healthy reasons to eat more palak paneer.

You may like to know about Paneer vs. Cheese - which is healthier?

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