As the world shifts towards a more sustainable way of life, many are looking for more plant-based protein sources and so the food industry has been encouraged to provide consumers with alternative choices in terms of protein. With an increase in vegan, vegetarian and more recently flexitarian diets, it is important to know the differences and similarities between plant and animal-based protein.
Protein - A Quick Summary
Protein is one of the main nutrients that makes up a well balanced diet. Protein plays a role in many important functions in our body, so it is important that we include it in our diet. Plant-based protein comes from a variety of sources such as quinoa, soybeans, lentils, beans, nuts and tofu. Animal-based protein includes the more traditional sources, such as meat, eggs, fish, cheese and milk.
Animal-based protein sources are what typically come to mind when the term protein is discussed. We often refer to these proteins as a 'complete' protein source, as they contain all 9 essential amino acids that our bodies need to obtain from our diet.
From a nutritional perspective, with some sources such as red meat, it is advised not to consume large quantities of both unprocessed and processed red meat as they have been linked with adverse health effects. Reducing the amount of red meat as a protein source can be beneficial for our bodies. When opting for animal-based proteins try to include nutritious sources into your diet such as chicken, turkey, eggs or salmon.
There can be a slightly negative perception of plant-based proteins, with some assuming that they do not provide a good source of protein, however, this is not the case. Plant-based protein sources can have a significant quantity of protein present while also providing additional nutritional benefits. Although many plant-based sources are 'incomplete' in terms of their essential amino acid content, soybean and pea protein are 'complete' proteins just like animal-based sources.
Plant-based proteins are not solely for vegetarians or vegans. They are a great protein source to incorporate into a traditional omnivore diet. Eating plant-based 1-2 days per week is often recommended and forms the flexitarian diet.
Some Plant Based Meal Options
Snacks - Hummus and pita bread, Nuts and Seeds
While both protein sources have their pros and cons, the main aim should be to ensure that you have a well balanced diet made up of a protein source, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruit and vegetables. Why not try incorporate a few of these options into your diet and reap the benefits of both plant-based and animal-based protein!
Stuck for plant based meal ideas?
Here at GourmetFuel we have a range of healthy, plant based options as well as traditional protein based meals to ensure you get an adequate protein intake from tasty, nutritious sources. We have a range of plant-based protein sources with our most recent addition, tofu, providing a significant protein content to our vegetarian and vegan meals. Why not try a few and see how you get on!