Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which is necessary for the optimum function of your body. However, animal products are the most common sources of the essential amino acids needed by your body. If you prefer a vegan diet, eating foods with a complete protein is a bit challenging because only a few crops can provide all these vital nutrients. Most plant sources of proteins lack some or a certain amino acid. The good news is that you can combine different products to complete your dietary needs. The best part is that these pairings will not only nourish your body, but it will also create a tasty recipe. To give you a better idea, here are food combos for a complete protein.
1. RICE AND BEANS
A nutritious way to create a complete protein is by pairing rice with beans. Although already a popular vegan meat alternative, several kinds of beans have low amounts of the amino acid methionine but are high in lysine. Rice, on the other hand, is rich in methionine and low in lysine. So, combining the two products will result in a protein comparable to animal products. The difference is that you’re getting more fiber and fewer calories. Moreover, rice and beans contain carbohydrates and proteins that can help energize your body throughout the day for an affordable price.
2. PEANUT BUTTER AND WHOLE WHEAT BREAD
Spreading peanut butter on a piece of bread, preferably organic whole wheat, is a favorite snack in this list of food combos for a complete protein. Basically, most grains, including wheat, have high amounts of the amino acid methionine but lack lysine. Fortunately, peanut can supply this missing nutrient. Thus, these two products complement each other – in flavor and nutrition. However, the problem with most peanut butter products is their high-calorie content. So, you have to check labels and try to opt for those with minimal sugar and calories. Overall, a peanut butter sandwich is a delicious and satisfying snack to help you beat an afternoon slump or re-energize your body after a workout. You can also put some powdered cinnamon or sliced fruits to add a flavorful twist to your toast.
3. CHICKPEAS AND TAHINI (HUMMUS)
Chickpeas are good sources of plant proteins, but incomplete. This nutty-flavored legume is low in methionine. Fortunately, you can make a tasty spread or dip out of chickpeas that will lead to a complete protein, which is hummus. Remember, this popular veggie dip also has tahini (sesame seeds) as its main ingredient and sesame seeds are rich in methionine. An added bonus is that hummus is an excellent plant source of calcium, magnesium, and iron. So, you’re reaping a lot of health benefits by including this delicious product to your diet.
4. SPINACH AND ALMOND NUTS
Some leafy greens have proteins, albeit in small amounts. Take spinach as an example. This nutrient-dense veggie may provide around 2.9 grams of proteins per 100 grams, but it does not contain all the essential amino acids. In fact, adding nuts to your fresh salad recipes is one of the best food combos for a complete protein to help you get more nutrients and benefits from bitter greens. Keep in mind that tossing some nuts, like almonds, to your spinach recipes will complete and increase your food’s protein contents. In addition, the fatty substances (omega-3) in nuts can also help your body’s absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). Overall, this method is an effective way to make your veggies healthier and appetizing at the same time.
5. WHOLE GRAIN NOODLES AND PEANUT SAUCE
If you’re bored of constantly eating peanut butter sandwiches, there are various ways to use this nutritious bread spread. Recipes for thai-style noodles often involve a peanut sauce. Like the all-time favorite peanut butter sandwich, this pairing results in a complete protein due to the combination of a grain and a nut. You can also add other ingredients (veggies, herbs, and spices) to create a sumptuous, satiating, and nutrient-dense dish.
Eating a plant-based diet may pose some challenges, especially in getting your daily protein needs, but consuming complete protein plant foods, like soybeans and chia seeds, are not the only way to meet your dietary needs. These food combos for a complete protein can also help you obtain this vital macronutrient in a delicious way.
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