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How to increase protein intake in a plant based diet

Diving into Mondayyyyyyy like…. Ok so my brekky isn’t this today unfortunately, HOWEVER before you pass this off as a fruit salad, I wanted to break down PROTEIN in this meal for you.

The common misconception is that we need a big chunky protein source (most identify as eggs, bacon, chicken, fish, beef or protein powder) in order to have ‘protein’ in a meal.

This isn’t actually true.

Proteins are comprised of essential amino acids.

Essential amino acids are those amino acids the body cannot synthesise and need to be obtained from the diet.

Plant foods contain essential amino acids, they may not contain all of them in one plant ingredient e.g. mango versus chicken, but they contain some of the essential amino acids we require to build a protein.

Bananas, hemp seeds, chia seeds, peanut butter also deliver different essential amino acids to the meal. The essential amino acids from different plant based ingredients in your meal then team together to form complete proteins.

FOOD DIVERSITY / varied diet is how you will naturally build all essential amino acids into a meal and your diet throughout the day.

Think about that as you shop, prep and cook because diversity is what makes the difference.

So whilst this meal may look like just ‘fruit salad’ through the variety of ingredients I’ve built in all essential amino acids so that this meal also delivers protein to my body too.

Yes there is fruit but also hemp and chia seeds, linseed and peanut butter which are rich sources of essential amino acids too.

So whilst I totally understand no one has the time to build pretty rainbow bowls at every meal, I do encourage you this week to think about diversifying the plants on your plate and adding in just 1-2 extra ingredients e.g. a sprinkle of hemp, a portion of quinoa or a small handful of lentils, that can help to diversify the protein and deliver nourishing micro nutrients to your plate too.

Small steps for change are much easier and more sustainable than trying to overhaul everything all at once.

Food for thought, Jacq xo

Jacqueline Alwill

Jacqueline is an Accredited Nutritional Medicine Practitioner specialising in family and early childhood nutrition and gut health. She writes for several media publications, hosts a regular nutrition segment on Channel 7 and in 2016 published her first book, "Seasons to Share" (Murdoch Books). Jacqueline is passionate about working with corporations and brands to support and educate their community and audience and is currently a media spokesperson and ambassador for Remedy Drinks, Eimele Australia, Woolworths, Kitchenaid and Nutrition Director at Bondi Bubs Wholefoods. She is mum to Jet and outside her working hours you'll find her with her family in the surf, on the beach, or out and about in nature.

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