It’s easy to get enough protein without eating animals, but the doubters often have another concern: Are these meat-free protein sources “complete?”
Courtesy of Greatist.com
There are plenty of reasons to eat more meat-free meals: They’re nearly always cheaper, lower in calories, and better for the environment. It’s easy to get enough protein without eating animals, but the doubters often have another concern: Are these meat-free protein sources “complete?”
The term “complete protein” refers to amino acids, the building blocks of protein. There are 20 different amino acids that can form a protein, nine of which that the body can’t produce on its own. These are called essential amino acids — we need to eat them because we can’t make them ourselves. In order to be considered “complete,” a protein must contain all nine of these essential amino acids.
Yes, meat and eggs are complete proteins, and beans and nuts aren’t. But humans don’t need every essential amino acid in every bite of food in every meal they eat; we only need a sufficient amount of each amino acid every day . Most dietitians believe that plant-based diets contain a wide variety of amino acid profiles and that vegans are virtually guaranteed to get all of their amino acids with very little effort .
Still, some people want complete proteins in all of their meals. No problem — meat’s not the only contender. Eggs and dairy also fit the bill, which is an easy get for the vegetarians, but there are plenty of other ways to get complete proteins on your next meatless Monday. Here are some of the easiest:
6. Mycoprotein (Quorn)
7. Rice and Beans
8. Ezekiel Bread
10. Hummus and Pita
11. Spirulina with Grains or Nuts
12. Peanut Butter Sandwich
To find more information, tips and recipes for each of these complete proteins, visit Greatist.com.