I recently became a vegetarian and was always hungry until I learned to incorporate essential protein sources into my diet.

In general, there are 20 different amino acids (essential nutrients for the body) that form a protein and nine that our body can’t produce on its own.  These 9 essential amino acids are essential to obtain from the diet to give our bodies a complete protein.

Eggs and tofu are the two common meatless complete proteins that we usually consume, but there are 7 other complete proteins that can be consumed on a daily basis.

 

7 Complete Protein Sources:

 

  1. Quinoa (Click for Meditteranean Quinoa Salad Recipe)

 Protein:  4 grams per 1/2 cup

Rich in fiber, protein and minerals.

 

  1. Buckwheat

Proteins:  3 grams per 1/2 cup

Buckwheat is not actually a grain, but comes from the rhubarb family.  Recent studies are finding it to be helpful in lowering blood cholesterol, improving circulation and controlling blood glucose levels.

 

  1. Soy

Protein:  10 grams per 1/2 cup ( firm tofu), 15 grams per 1/2 cup ( tempeh), 15 grams per 1/2 cup ( natto)

When it comes to protein content, the harder the tofu the higher is it’s protein.

 

  1. Rice & Beans

Protein:  3.5 per 1/2 cup

Subbing lentils, chickpeas or other type of legumes for the beans produces the same effect.  The combination is a great way to load up on protein and carbs after an intense workout.

 

  1. Peanut Butter Sandwich

Protein:  7.5 grams per 1 slice with 1 Tbsp. of Peanut butter

Anytime a legume, nuts or nut butter is combined with a grain, a complete protein is born.

 

  1. Hempseed

Protein:  5 grams per 1 tablespoon

Great source of fiber, Omega-3s, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium. Because they are low in lysine, it’s great to use them as supplements.

 

  1. Chia Seed (Click for Basic Chia Pudding Recipe)

Protein:  2 grams per 1 tablespoon

They are the highest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids and they contain more fiber than flax and nuts. They are rich in minerals and antioxidants.  Just like hempseed, they are low in lysine and great to use as supplements.

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