Tips for including protein in a vegan diet

The term “complete protein” refers to amino acids, the building blocks of protein. There are 20 different amino acids that can form a protein, and nine which the body cannot produce on its own.

These are called essential amino acids; therefore, we need to consume them. To be considered “complete,” a protein must contain all nine of these essential amino acids in approximately equal amounts. Keep in mind that a healthy person with regular protein needs (1 gram per kilogram per day) don’t need every essential amino acid in every meal, if there are sufficient amounts of each amino acid every day.

Legumes like beans, chickpeas and peanuts are normally low in the amino acid methionine but high in lysine, while rice, wheat and corn are low in lysine and high in methionine. Every time legumes like beans, lentils, and peanuts are combined with grains like wheat, rice, and corn, they create a complete protein.

Ideal meal/snack combinations:

Grains with Legumes

Rice with lentils (1/2 of cooked lentils)

Rice with chickpeas (1/4 C cooked chickpeas)

Peanut butter sandwich (on whole wheat bread)

Blended beans with corn tortilla

Macaroni with enriched soy flour

Vegetable chili with cornbread

Bean soup with whole wheat breadsticks

Falafel (chickpea pancake) with whole wheat pita bread

Vegetable crepes with brown rice flour

Pasta salad with kidney beans

Legumes with Seeds

Hummus (chickpea and sesame paste)

Bean soup with sesame meal

Trail mix with toasted soybeans and pumpkin seeds

Other good sources of protein:

Quinoa cooked 1 cup, 8 g à excellent source of complete protein

Buckwheat cooked, 1 cup 6 g à not a type of wheat at all, but a relative of rhubarb

Brown rice cooked 1 cup, 5 g

Cooked beans ½ cup, 7 g

Tofu 1/2 cup, 7 g à the harder it is, the higher protein content

Hummus 4 Tbsp 5 g protein (100 kcal) and ½ pita pocket whole wheat 3 g = total 8 gr of protein

Peanut butter 2 Tbsp, 8 g

Tempeh ¼ cup, 7 g

Hemp seeds, 2 Tbsp, 10 g

Ezekiel bread, 2 slices, 8 g of complete protein

Higher protein vegetables:

  1. Peas
  2. Kale
  3. Spinach
  4. Broccoli
  5. Sprouts
  6. Mushrooms
  7. Brussel sprouts
  8. Artichokes
  9. Asparagus
  10. Corn

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