Protein, as we all know, is needed for proper muscle growth and repair. In addition it helps the slow release of carbs into the bloodstream preventing sudden sugar spikes. On a typical diet plan, protein is almost always sourced from meat but what would one do on a plant based diet?
The answer is not as difficult as it may seem. In fact, there are quite a few plant based foods that qualify as complete proteins and nearly all foods, including greens and veggies contain some form of protein. If you include a variety of nutrient dense, whole foods into your meals, you will be getting your share of protein.
In addition, plant based protein sources, when compared with animal based sources are more alkalizing for the body. This means greater freedom from disease, experiencing less aches and pains happier moods, better sleep and improved memory and concentration.
Some of the best protein sources that you can include in your plant based diet can be from the following foods:
Quinoa: Where most grains are considered to be inadequate as complete protein sources because they lack sufficient amounts of certain amino acids, quinoa stands in contrast as it qualifies as a complete protein. It has all the essential amino acids making it an ideal meat substitute on the plant based diet.
Buckwheat: Contrary to its name, buckwheat is not a type of wheat but a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb. Like quinoa, the protein in buckwheat is of a high quality containing all essential amino acids.
Chia: Chia seeds are an excellent protein content, supply fiber, calcium and omega 3s to the diet. The seeds can be used in food, not as a supplement but as an alternative to processed grains like white bread because it is a much healthier whole grain that offers better nutritional value.
Soy: Soy is another complete protein option for people who choose to follow a plant based diet. However, stay away from processed varieties as these do not deliver the same nutritional benefits. Along with being a complete protein, soy also provides fiber and healthy omega 3s and is naturally cholesterol free and low in saturated fat.
You can also combine certain incomplete proteins together to get the benefits of a complete protein meal.
One of the simplest plant based meals doing just that is a combination of rice and beans. In fact, every time legumes like beans, chickpeas or lentils are combined with grains such as rice or corn, a complete protein results. Such plant based meals can be an excellent substitute for meat dishes!
Another food combination to make a complete protein meal is hummus and pita. Since chickpeas have a similar amino acid profile to most legumes, and the protein in wheat is similar to that of rice, the combination will have a similar effect of making a complete protein meal. This can be combined with an assortment to vegetables to further complete the meal.
For your meatless Mondays, try these alternatives. Enjoy!