Protein for Vegetarians

April 24, 2011

Healthy Life, Proteins

Here are some combinations of plant proteins that will provide you with all of the amino acids you need:

  • Grains plus legumes. Try black beans and rice.
  • Nuts and seeds plus legumes. Lentil soup with a serving of almonds on the side.
  • Corn plus legumes. Try pinto beans in a corn tortilla.

There are lots of possible combinations.

  • Try whole grain pasta tossed with peas, almonds, and your favorite sauce.
  • Whole wheat toast with peanut butter will give you a complete protein.
  • Bean soup with whole grain crackers.
  • Corn tortillas with refried beans and rice.

Proteins provide you with the building blocks that you need to make to make and maintain your muscles, organs, and immune systems. Protein can also be used for energy when you don’t have enough carbohydrates in your diet.

Protein is made up of chains of individual amino acids. When you eat proteins, your body breaks them up into the individual amino acids (the building blocks).

Your body can make some amino acids, but there are some, called essential amino acids, that have to come from directly from your diet.

Animal protein sources provide all of the essential amino acids so they are called complete proteins. People who eat meat, fish, dairy products, or eggs get all of the essential amino acids each time they eat any of these protein sources.

Vegetarians and vegans rely on plant proteins to get their amino acids. Soy contains all of the essential amino acids, but other plant protein sources are incomplete proteins, meaning that they don’t provide all of the essential amino acids.

Vegans and vegetarians who eat a variety of plant proteins throughout the course of the day should get all of their amino acid needs met.


This site is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment!
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