7 Complete Plant Based Protein Sources

February 04, 2016 0 Comments

7 Complete Plant Based Protein Sources

One of the biggest questions I often get asked is about plant based protein. Since starting the Well Nest Kitchen I've learnt many wonderful ways of adding plant based protein to meals. while There are plenty of plant based protein sources out there, you need to be aware of what protein sources to combine in order to make them "complete". What is complete protein you ask? The term "complete protein" refers to amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. There are 20 different amino acids that can form a protein. Within those 20 there are nine "essential amino acids" that the body can't produce, so we need to find them in food. So in order for a protein to be considered "complete" we need to make sure we eat these nine essential amino acids in roughly equal amounts.

The most efficient way of getting these essential amino acids is through meat and eggs. If you're a vegan, or would like to introduce more plant based foods to your diet it's important to know which plant based proteins to combine in order to get the complete balance.

Here are my top 7 complete plant based protein sources

1. Quinoa - this guy is an amino acid powerhouse offering all the essential amino acids in a healthy balance. It's also packed with fibre, iron, magnesium and manganese.

2. Buckwheat - Don't be put off by the name. Buckwheat contains zero wheat, or gluten. It's actually a relative or rhubarb. Buckwheat is becoming widely available and is incredibly cheap. Cook the groats to have as a side alternative to rice, grind them into flour and use it for baking, or try my favourite buckwheat soba noodles but make sure you get the 100% buckwheat ones that are a little bit more expensive than the buckwheat and wheat combo but 100% worth it.

3. Rice and beans - This is a Mexican staple, and for good reason. Combining rice and beans is the simplest and cheapest way of eating complete plant based protein. In fact it's actually on par with meat! You can also swap the beans for lentils or chickpeas for the same effect.

4. Spirulina + Grains or Nuts - Contrary to popular belief spirulina is not actually a complete protein because it lacks methionine and cystine. To rectify this, simply add some oats, nuts or seeds to your smoothie or protein balls and you're set.

5. Hemp seeds - With 10g of protein per 2tbs serving, hemp seeds are a great way to get your complete plant based protein on. It's also rich in magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium and a great vegan source of omega-3s.  Pop them on your breakfast, in your baking, when making pesto or even smoothies.

6. Chia seeds - Chia seeds are called a superfood for a reason. They are the hightest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, and also make the complete protein list. Use them to make puddings, thickening up smoothies, or as an egg alternative in your baking. Only downside of chia seeds is they get stuck in your teeth so check yourself after every time you eat them.

7. Amaranth - This is a super super super grain, well actually a super seed. Amaranth is up there with quinoa. It's gluten free and packed with protein, minerals and vitamins. It also contains lysine, an essential amino acid, making amaranth a complete protein.

 Image - the amazing Quinoa Stuffed Capsicum recipe by Damndelicious.net






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