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Is Beans and Rice a Complete Meal?

Is beans and rice a complete meal? Of course it is!! In fact beans and rice is the vegan equivalent of the classic carnivore meal of meat, potatoes and a vegetable side. How, you ask?

Well first, I think most people would agree that a complete meal includes foods from different food groups (like fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, dairy). So starting with grains. Rice is clearly the grain in the beans and rice meal. In the carnivore meal, the potato, though it is technically a vegetable, provides starch (or “complex carbohydrates”) to the meal in place of grains.

And you probably know, beans and meat are both considered “protein foods”. Are you worried about claims that plant protein is inferior (or “lower quality”) to animal protein? You can relax about that for two reasons. One is that the combination of beans and rice creates what is called a “complete protein”.  It’s all about the balance of “amino acids“, the building blocks of protein.  Beans are high in the amino acid lysine but low in methionine.  Rice is the other way around – low in lysine but high in methionine. So eat the two together and you are good. BUT the really cool number two reason you can relax, is that your body combines protein building blocks all by itself! In other words, people used to think you had to eat complementary proteins like beans and rice at the same time. But nutritionists have found that as long as you eat a varied diet, you don’t need to worry a lot about it.

Okay so what about this vegetable side I was talking about? Did you know that according to dieticians, beans can be considered a protein food OR a vegetable? Aha, so there is your vegetable! The key is that you eat more beans than rice. Think about them serving two jobs on your plate. Of course your beans and rice are an even MORE nutritious complete meal if you add additional vegetables, fruits and (if desired) vegan or dairy cheese, sour cream, etc.

There are several things your bean and rice complete meal will have that the carnivore equivalent won’t. One of course is that it has no animal products. That means no cholesterol and no saturated fat, good news for your heart. The other is it will have lots of healthy prebiotic fiber, thanks to those miraculous beans. And the carbohydrates in beans have a very low glycemic index. That means they won’t spike your blood sugar – while eating your complete beans and rice meal, but even the meal after that! Read more about the miracles of beans and lentils here.

So are beans and rice a complete meal? Well Yeah! And Yumbini has it all figured out for you: more beans than rice, ready in 6 minutes. We even added some extra veggies for you, with tons of ideas for more. Eat up, and ENJOY!

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