Whether you’re following a meatless diet or cutting back on meat, protein is still a building block necessary to your health. Here’s how you can make complete proteins a part of your daily diet – easily!
The science part:
• Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are also called the building blocks of all proteins. These amino acids are present in different combinations in the body.
• A complete protein consists of all the essential amino acids.
• The essential amino acids are those which the body cannot make on its own and has to be supplemented through diet.
Now the fun part:
• Designing complete proteins is as easy as picking one food from colum “A” and matching it up with one food from column “B”.
• Example: Red beans and rice
Column “A” :
• Whole wheat
• Other Legumes
• Nut butters
• Soy – Roasted soy nuts are a good substitute for nuts
Fun Food Fact: Peanuts are considered a legume if boiled or raw and a nut when roasted!
Here are some complete protein recipe ideas:
Protein Rich Snack Mix – adapted from a Betty Crocker™ recipe
8 cups Rice Chex® cereal (gluten free)
1/2 cup salted soy nuts (roasted soybeans)
3 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon chil powder (optional)
1 cup mixed salted nuts (optional)
1 bag fat-free butter-flavor microwave popcorn, popped (3 ounces) – Substitute fresh popcorn prepared on the stovetop or using a hot air popper
1/3 cup shredded or grated Parmesan and Romano cheese blend (or just Parmesan)
Pre-heat oven to 300° F.
In large bowl, mix cereal and soy nuts.
In a small bowl, mix oil, vinegar, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring to coat. Stir in popcorn until well mixed. Spread in ungreased large roasting pan.
Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Stir in cheese until well mixed. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until mixture is toasted. Spread on waxed paper to cool, about 10 minutes. (Cereal will crisp as it cools.) Store in airtight container.
Edamame and Sweet Corn Succotash
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 green onions, sliced, white and green parts separated
1 cup corn kernels (2 ears corn)
1 cup shelled frozen edamame
1/2 cup chopped red or green sweet pepper (substitute sliced hot red pepper according to taste)
1 cup steamed green beans
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons unsalted butter – optional
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil (substitute marjoram or oregano)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Add white part of green onion and cook until fragrant and starting to brown slightly, about 1 minute.
Stir in corn, edamame, sweet pepper, salt, and black pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes
Remove from heat – stir in butter (optional).
Sprinkle top with remaining green part of green onions and fresh herbs.
1 cup water (you can substitute low-sodium vegetable broth)
1/2 cup long-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped unsalted cashews – or salted cashews and leave out the salt)
Combine water, rice, and salt in a small saucepan; cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; stir in green onions and cashews.
Making sure your diet contains complete proteins is as easy as combining some foods from column “A” and column “B”.