Weight Management 4 MIN READ 17678 VIEWS November 6, 2017

Tofu vs Paneer – Which is Healthier?

Written By Rohini Nag

Tofu vs Paneer - Which is Healthier?

In Tofu vs Paneer, making a choice, of which is healthier between the two, can be made easy if you know the difference. Both Tofu and Paneer have their own nutritional advantages. Let's read to understand better!

You ask yourself should you go for tofu or the readily available paneer, I mean what difference does it make? For any person who is not really counting calories for fitness and monitoring diet, the choice between Tofu vs Paneer, might be limited to simply taste. However, for people who

  • have a set fitness goal to achieve – Weight Loss; Weight Gain; Muscle Building, or 
  • are making/following a diet plan, or 
  • are Vegan or Vegetarian searching for a specific nutritional intake,

the choice between Tofu vs Paneer is a very impotant one. 


Well, because Tofu and Paneer are different in lots of aspects ranging from nutritional value to the source where they come from to the calories they provide and lots more…

To start this conversation let us understand how tofu is different from paneer.

  • While paneer aka our Indian cottage cheese is made of milk protein, tofu is made of soybean milk curdled into a low fat block.
  • Paneer however can have processed cream to soften its texture which can give you some fattening results. Tofu is considered one of the readily available foods in the vegan section 
  • If you are looking for retaining your natural milk diet then perhaps switch to skim milk to make paneer at home and avoid the fat.

These are simple differences between tofu and paneer with garden variety health benefits. 

Tofu vs Paneer – Understanding the product 
Let’s say that you want a lighter diet but want to retain the same taste of your daily lunches. In the meantime you also want to have a decent amount of calcium, magnesium and potassium in your meals so you go to paneer. If you try tofu you not only get your calcium and protein intake but a significantly lighter meal because tofu will occupy less of your calorie space. Soymilk, remember? 
Tofu can be beneficial for those who are lactose intolerant so that way you can balance your meals for a desirable calcium intake. It is readily available in supermarkets so you don’t have to stress about making it at home unless you want to. Tofu and paneer both look similar but tofu is also rich in nutrients. If you are a vegetarian you can try using tofu in salads/ stir fried veggies/ soups/ curry to alter your diet from paneer for a few weeks and feel the difference. However there is no such thing as trying tofu alone can break even your calcium and protein intake and balancing it with paneer can give the same results.  

Image source: hubofawareness.com

Tofu vs Paneer – Making the Choice 
The choice and selection of tofu can be made of the basis of the firmness or softness of the soy blocks. It really depends on your own taste and what you are cooking with the tofu. Lighter tofu is usually the softer ones that are less fatty. If you are using tofu to make sizzlers or grills then probably go for the firmer ones. Regular soft textured tofu can be used for salads or with veggies. Paneer might not make much of a difference in making the choice so to speak. If you want regular paneer then the blocks made of cow milk or cream milk should be ready to use given their fattiness has little variation. Tofu qualifies as a healthier option for heart-patients and diabetics over the regular market paneer. Tofu contains essential amino acids and vitamin B1 which passes the nutrient test too. 

Which is Healthier?

Here the word healthier does not literally mean that one is healthy and the other is junk. It is simply about making a more informed choice between Tofu and Paneer keeping in mind caloric values, nutritional factors and fitness goals. Let us quickly see what tofu and paneer tell us for you to make a healthier choice if you are looking for some options. 

  1. More Protein: Tofu has more protein than paneer because of the complex process of its making. It retains protein more than the moderate protein content in paneer. 
  2. Milk and Soy: If you have allergies to soybeans you should probably avoid tofu and go with paneer instead. Tofu is made of soymilk and paneer is made of whole fat milk or cow milk. However, if you are a vegan, then you should go with tofu as it is one of the best vegan sources of protein.
  3. Calorie Values: Paneer can contain over 300 calories in a 100gms and an additional 200 from its fat. Tofu contains calories under 100 and no added fatty calories. 
  4. Zero Cholesterol: Tofu proudly stays at 0 cholesterol levels whereas paneer can go up to 90mg in a 100gms. 
  5. Nutritional Values: Tofu contains necessary nutrients other than calcium such as amino acids and vitamin B1. Paneer also has contents of magnesium and potassium. 



Bottom Line:
A healthy choice between Tofu vs Paneer means an informed fitness decision and not that one is healthy and other is junk food. And for an even stronger decision and better results, It is best to consult a dietitian or your general physician and get a personalized diet plan that suits your body and lifestyle. 

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