Complete Proteins and a Plant-Based Diet

by Anna Victoria in Recipes + Nutrition

By now, many of you know that getting in enough quality protein daily is important for not only reaching our fitness and body composition goals but for maintaining overall health and wellness also!


Proteins are created by compounds called amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids necessary to build and repair tissues in the body. Animal proteins, such as eggs and meat, contain all nine essential amino acids, and therefore are complete proteins! Most plant-based protein sources do not contain all of the essential amino acids, so it is important to make sure that you are eating a variety of healthy plant-based foods daily. But do you have to eat them at every single meal?

Veggie Chickpea Bowl — Fit Body App Recipe

Many people believe the myth that you have to eat plant-based protein foods together at the same time to create complete proteins, but this isn’t true! For example, beans contain protein (amino acids) but do not contain all of the essential amino acids. Rice has the amino acids that beans are lacking. When eaten together, the body is getting in all 9 essential amino acids, therefore able to make complete proteins! But here’s the kicker, the rice and beans don’t have to be eaten in the same meal, as the liver actually controls the concentration of amino acids in the body, and different amino acids can be paired together later on to form complete proteins.In theory, if a person is eating a balanced diet with a variety of plant-based foods they are likely getting in all nine essential amino acids daily, which is what matters! 

Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos — Fit Body App Recipe

Some Plant-based Proteins that have complete proteins on their own: 

• Quinoa
• Soy
• Chia seeds
• Tofu
• Tempeh
• Edamame 

Some food combinations that make complete proteins: 

• Peanut Butter and whole grain bread
• Rice and beans
• Almond butter and rice cake
• Hummus and whole wheat pita  


Keep in mind that there are a variety of different ways to be healthy and get in enough protein daily! If you are a vegan or vegetarian struggling to get adequate protein, check out the meal plans in your Fit Body app, or try out new recipes using plant-based protein powders! The protein in vegan protein powders are complete, so no need to worry about combining any other foods with them!

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