A common food misconception is that protein can only be found in meat. This is totally wrong. Protein is everywhere! Just because you’re on a meat-free diet doesn’t mean that you’re depriving yourself of the essential building blocks of protein.
For those non-meat eaters, here are some plant-based protein sources that you can play with for a complete meal:
- Quinoa. This is one of the healthiest foods on earth and NASA even hopes to grow it for space flights! It has a nutty and crunchy flavor and is usually a good substitute for rice. Quinoa is full of iron, fiber, manganese, and magnesium aside from protein. This can be baked into muffins, cookies, or tossed into salads.
- Soy. This is a go-to alternative to meat. Soy is a complete protein. You can consume it in different ways, be it soy milk, tofu, natto, or tempeh.
- Beans and rice. These two are the simplest and cheapest vegan meals. These are also great sources of protein. Beans are high in lysine and low in methionine, while rice is high in methionine and low in lysine. So, together they create a protein-packed meal.
- Hummus and pita. Pita is similar to that of rice, it is low on lysine. But when it is paired with hummus, it gives complete protein to the meal. Chickpeas have a similar component to legumes so you can always play around with hummus. You can test out other beans like edamame as an alternative.
- Chia. This is an excellent source of protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. It can be eaten whole and can be added to different meals, smoothies, hot or cold drinks, yogurt or cereal. Chia is also satiating and helps in reducing inflammation and in lowering cholesterol.
These are just a few of the different plant sources of protein. You can be creative with your meals to make sure you get the nutrients that your body needs. What’s important is you have fun and learn in the process of giving yourself a healthier alternative to meat.