The type of protein that adults should focus on is lean protein, from a variety of sources. This can include lean cuts of poultry and meat, and fish. I would also encourage “plant-based” proteins for both vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
Plant- Based Proteins
Plant and vegetables that give you a good source of protein include beans, peas, and lentils, (legumes), whole grains, nuts seeds, and soy based foods (such as tofu). For vegetarians and Vegans, getting enough protein is essential to ensure proper nutrition.
The Downside with these plant-based foods, however is that most aren’t complete sources of protein. A “complete protein” is made up of all 9 essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. If a protein food only contains some of theses essential amino acids, such as whole grains or beans, it is then considered an “incomplete” protein.
Building A Complete Diet
The best way to offset these insufficiencies in plant- based proteins is by eating a varied diet. At meals, an idea is to pair different types of plant- based proteins. This ensures that even if one source is missing a certain amino acid, the other source does provide it, and vice versa.
Mixing incomplete with complete proteins …
is another option. All animal sources of protein (like meat, poultry, fish and dairy products) are considered complete. Certain plant-based foods, such as the soy based foods and quinoa, also feature all of the essential amino acids.
Ideas for pairing Proteins
When you start to get creative, the possibilities for pairing portions are basically endless. Here are a few examples of easy, yet delicious ideas:
Whole grain beans such as a whole grain pilaf with beans and greens,
Beans and nuts such as veggie chilli with mixed beans, cashews, and sweet potatoes,
Whole grains and nuts such as whole wheat noodles with peanut sauce and chopped nuts.
Dairy and whole grains such as cheesy, whole-wheat pasta.