A lot of foods contain protein, however, all of them are not complete protein sources. For a food to be considered a complete protein source, it should contain all the nine amino acids that are essential for your body. They include:
All these amino acids are important building blocks of protein. Even though your body can synthesize some of them, you should acquire all these amino acids from your diet.
Various animal products like fish, beef, dairy products, eggs, etc. contain all these amino acids. Hence, they are considered complete protein sources.
However, all nine amino acids are not present in many plant-based foods. But it does not mean that you cannot acquire all these building blocks of protein from your vegan diet.
Some of the complete sources of protein for vegans and vegetarians are listed below. Including them in your diet can help to acquire all the nine amino acids that are required for the synthesis of protein.
This ancient grain is one of the best plant-based sources of protein. It is similar to couscous in appearance but has a crunchy texture.
Even though this plant-based food acts like whole grain, it is actually a seed that is obtained from a plant called goosefoot. As quinoa is not obtained from grasses, similar to other grains and cereals, it is actually considered a pseudocereal. It is also naturally gluten-free.
One cup of quinoa offers almost 8 grams of protein. Hence, it is a great option to add to your plant-based meals for acquiring your daily requirement of protein.
In addition to providing all the nine amino acids, quinoa can provide many other nutrients like magnesium, zinc, iron, and fiber.
You can use quinoa instead of rice in many recipes. It can be cooked with plant-based milk for creating a creamy, healthy breakfast porridge.
Edamame, Tofu, And Tempeh
Soy products are well-known protein sources. Some of them include edamame, tofu, tempeh, etc.
Tofu is created from coagulated soy milk that is converted into white blocks. It comes in varying levels of softness including soft, firm, and extra-firm.
A 3-ounce serving of tofu contains almost 8 grams of protein. It is also high in calcium, potassium, and iron.
Tempeh, a product made from fermented soybeans, is nuttier and chewier than tofu. This soy product will have additional ingredients like grains and seeds to create a dense cake. Three ounces of tempeh offers 11 grams of protein.
Edamame is whole and immature soybeans that have a green color and a slightly grassy and sweet flavor. You can steam or boil them for adding to your plant-based recipes. They can also be enjoyed on their own as a healthy snack. It is also possible to add them to soups, salads, and grain bowls.
It is another pseudocereal that can provide you high amounts of protein. It is a gluten-free cereal that can be used in a variety of recipes. Similar to quinoa, amaranth has a delicate, nutty flavor and it retains its crunchy texture even after cooking. One cup of cooked amaranth can provide you about 9 grams of protein.
In addition to high amounts of protein, amaranth can provide you a lot of other nutrients like magnesium, manganese, iron, and phosphorous.
One cup of amaranth can give you more than 100% of your daily requirement of manganese, which is an important mineral that is crucial for brain health.
Even though buckwheat is not as high in protein as amaranth and quinoa, it is still a complete source of protein. This is also a pseudocereal that has a nutty flavor. You can cook it like oatmeal or you may ground this cereal into flour and use it in baking.
One cup of this plant-based food can provide you about 6 grams of protein. It can also provide a wide array of other essential minerals like manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, and iron. Hence, it is an excellent option to add to your vegan diet.
This is a blue-green algae which is a popular supplement among people who follow plant-based diets. You can get spirulina in the form of tablets. It is also available in powdered form which you can easily add to your smoothies, soups, salads, and granola bars.
A tablespoon of dried spirulina can give you almost 4 grams of protein.
If you are looking for plant-based protein sources to add to your vegan diets, the above options can be suitable for you. These plant-based foods are complete protein sources that can provide you all the nine amino acids. Hence, make sure to include them in your vegan recipes to get the proteins required by your body.