Recipes and Tips for Healthier Living and Smarter Budgeting

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Complete Proteins

What's the deal about complete proteins?

Complete protein is defined on Wikipedia as: "A source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all of the essential amino acids for the dietary needs of humans or other animals." There are differing opinions on how necessary it is for every meal every day to include all 8 essential amino acids (see here and here). But what I know from personal experience is that it is very possible to eat complete proteins without eating a lot of meat. The days I eat a peanut butter sandwich for lunch (on whole wheat bread, of course), I feel more completely full than days when I eat other types of sandwiches. The reason is because whole wheat bread + peanut butter = a complete protein. But as peanut butter isn't my favorite type of sandwich, this still isn't enough to keep me eating PB sandwiches every day... :)

Here is a chart and additional tips from that I find helpful:

Combine Grains and Legumes Combine Grains and Nuts/Seeds Combine Legumes and Nuts/Seeds
Peanut butter on whole-wheat bread Whole-wheat bun with sesame seeds Humus (chickpeas and sesame paste)
Rice and beans Breadsticks rolled with sesame seeds Trail mix (peanuts and sunflower seeds)
Bean soup and a roll Rice cakes with peanut butter
Salad with chickpeas and cornbread

Tofu-vegetable stir-fry over rice or pasta

Vegetarian chili with bread

Also, by adding small amounts of animal protein (meat, eggs, milk, or cheese) to any of the groups, you create a complete protein. Here are some examples:
  • Casserole with a small amount of meat
  • Salad with beans and a hard cooked egg
  • Yogurt with granola
  • Bean and cheese burrito
  • Oatmeal with milk


Carolyn said...

This could soon be my new favorite blog! :-) My husband, Dan, does all our shopping and he's the self proclaimed coupon king. We try to keep our grocery budget under 70 dollars a week. (And we almost always do. And that's for a family of 7.) We don't eat a lot of fancy things and we RARELY eat dinner out. My biggest problem is wanting to eat healthier foods. I've got some kids with sensory processing disorder, who, as a result, are picky eaters and are very reluctant to try new foods. I end up cooking a main meal and fixing sandwiches for the picky ones. It's very annoying. Thanks for putting this blog together! I'll be reading. :-)

Mommy Bee said...

I believe Quinoa is a complete protein itself, isn't it? I've been wanting to learn more about quinoa and how to use it


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