16 Complete Protein Pairings with Whole Wheat Bread

Summary:

  • Whole wheat bread contains a moderate amount of protein - about 3.5 grams per slice.
  • However, whole wheat bread provides only 1 of the 9 essential amino acids sufficiently - it is a little low on histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine.[1]
  • Whole wheat bread pairs well with carrots, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, spirulina or dijon mustard to create a complete protein profile. [2] More whole wheat bread pairings and detailed analysis below.

A complete protein is a protein source that "contains adequate proportions of the nine essential amino acids" that our body can not produce on its own.

World Health Organization [2], National Academy Press [3]

We analyzed the amino acid composition of whole wheat bread, and found both vegan and vegetarian pairings with whole wheat bread that creates a complete protein profile. Read on to discover new combinations of foods to enjoy!

Details on how we calculate complete protein profiles.

image of whole wheat bread source

Amount of Protein in Whole Wheat Bread

A decent source of supplementary protein, a single slice of whole wheat bread contains 3.5 grams of protein, or about 7% of recommended daily values. [1]

To get the adequate amount of protein with whole wheat bread alone, you will need 14 slices of whole wheat bread (374 grams) for an average female, or 17 slices of whole wheat bread for males. [4] That's about 992 calories.

Full nutritional profile for whole wheat bread
USDA Source: Bread, multi-grain (includes whole-grain)

Macronutrients in 1 slice (26g) of whole wheat bread:

% of RDV Amount
Calories
3.4% 69 kCal
Carbohydrates
0% -
Total fat
1.7% 1.1 grams
Protein
6.9% 3.5 grams

Essential Amino Acids in Whole Wheat Bread

Proportionally, whole wheat bread does contain abundant amounts of 1 out of the nine essential amino acids. However, whole wheat bread is a little short on histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine.[1]

To have adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids with whole wheat bread alone, you will have to eat 24 slices of whole wheat bread (623 grams) for an average person. [2]

That's about 67% more whole wheat bread to compensate for the lack of histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, compared to the protein requirement alone.

The amount of each essential amino acid in 1 slice (26g) of whole wheat bread:

Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [1] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
6.9% 3.474g
Histidine
8.2% 0.051g
Isoleucine
9.8% 0.084g
Leucine
7.6% 0.145g
Lysine
4.4% 0.075g
Methionine
4.2% 0.036g
Phenylalanine
6.8% 0.101g
Threonine
7.8% 0.07g
Tryptophan
12.4% 0.032g
Valine
9.6% 0.103g

More Complete Protein with Whole Wheat Bread

Top vegan pairings with whole wheat bread include:
  1. Carrots
  2. Pumpkin Seeds
  3. Chia Seeds
  4. Spirulina
  5. Dijon Mustard
  6. Spinach
  7. Pistachio
  8. Cashews
  9. Flaxseeds
  10. Avocado
  11. Wheat Germ
Although dairy and eggs are generally considered complete proteins, some types of vegetarian food pair more efficiently with whole wheat bread. These include:
  1. Sour Cream
  2. Caramel
  3. Mayonnaise
  4. Yogurt

Vegan 1. Carrots and Whole Wheat Bread


image of carrots
image of whole wheat bread

Low in protein, carrot is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, which is complementary to whole wheat bread.

A ratio of 0.5 slice of whole wheat bread (14g) and 2.8 carrots (205g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 15:1 of carrot to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for carrots
USDA Source: Carrots, raw

Table of amino acids of 0.5 slice whole wheat bread and 2.8 large carrots :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [5] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
7.5% 3.7g
Histidine
17.3% 0.11g
Isoleucine
23.5% 0.2g
Leucine
15.1% 0.28g
Lysine
14.4% 0.25g
Methionine
7% 0.06g
Phenylalanine
11.9% 0.18g
Threonine
47.6% 0.43g
Tryptophan
16% 0.04g
Valine
18.1% 0.2g

Vegan 2. Pumpkin Seeds and Whole Wheat Bread


image of pumpkin seeds
image of whole wheat bread

Pumpkin seed is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, complementing the profile of whole wheat bread.

For example, 1.4 slices of whole wheat bread (37g) and 0.4 cup of pumpkin seeds (24g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 0.6:1 of pumpkin seed to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for pumpkin seeds
USDA Source: Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, without salt

Table of amino acids of 1.4 slice whole wheat bread and 0.4 cup pumpkin seeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [6] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
18.7% 9.3g
Histidine
31% 0.2g
Isoleucine
40.1% 0.35g
Leucine
30.5% 0.58g
Lysine
25.4% 0.43g
Methionine
17.4% 0.15g
Phenylalanine
24.3% 0.36g
Threonine
29.1% 0.26g
Tryptophan
47.3% 0.12g
Valine
46.2% 0.5g

Vegan 3. Chia Seeds and Whole Wheat Bread


image of chia seeds
image of whole wheat bread

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, chia seed is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, which is complementary to whole wheat bread.

A ratio of 0.7 slice of whole wheat bread (17g) and 0.9 ounce of chia seeds (24g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 1.4:1 of chia seed to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for chia seeds
USDA Source: Seeds, chia seeds, dried

Table of amino acids of 0.7 slice whole wheat bread and 0.9 oz chia seeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [7] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
12.7% 6.3g
Histidine
25.9% 0.16g
Isoleucine
29.1% 0.25g
Leucine
22.7% 0.43g
Lysine
16.7% 0.29g
Methionine
19.4% 0.17g
Phenylalanine
21.1% 0.31g
Threonine
24.4% 0.22g
Tryptophan
49.1% 0.13g
Valine
27.7% 0.3g

Vegan 4. Spirulina and Whole Wheat Bread


image of spirulina
image of whole wheat bread

Spirulina is a great source of protein, and is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, complementing the profile of whole wheat bread.

For example, 0.6 slice of whole wheat bread (16g) and 1.7 tablespoons of spirulina (12g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 0.7:1 of spirulina to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for spirulina
USDA Source: Seaweed, spirulina, dried

Table of amino acids of 0.6 slice whole wheat bread and 1.7 tbsp spirulina :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [8] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
17.8% 8.9g
Histidine
25.3% 0.16g
Isoleucine
49.8% 0.43g
Leucine
35.5% 0.67g
Lysine
23.5% 0.4g
Methionine
18.3% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
26.1% 0.39g
Threonine
43.6% 0.39g
Tryptophan
49.8% 0.13g
Valine
44.1% 0.48g

Vegan 5. Dijon Mustard and Whole Wheat Bread


image of dijon mustard
image of whole wheat bread

A great source of protein, dijon mustard is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, which is complementary to whole wheat bread.

A ratio of 0.9 slice of whole wheat bread (24g) and 4.6 tablespoons of dijon mustard (28g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 1.2:1 of dijon mustard to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for dijon mustard
USDA Source: Spices, mustard seed, ground

Table of amino acids of 0.9 slice whole wheat bread and 4.6 tbsp dijon mustard :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [9] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
20.8% 10.4g
Histidine
46.1% 0.29g
Isoleucine
47.1% 0.4g
Leucine
37.5% 0.71g
Lysine
33.9% 0.58g
Methionine
19.4% 0.17g
Phenylalanine
28% 0.42g
Threonine
32.9% 0.3g
Tryptophan
38.5% 0.1g
Valine
47.5% 0.51g

Vegan 6. Spinach and Whole Wheat Bread


image of spinach
image of whole wheat bread

Spinach is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, complementing the profile of whole wheat bread.

For example, 0.8 slice of whole wheat bread (22g) and 7.7 cups of spinach (232g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 11:1 of spinach to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for spinach
USDA Source: Spinach, raw

Table of amino acids of 0.8 slice whole wheat bread and 7.7 cup spinach :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [10] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
19.1% 9.5g
Histidine
30.4% 0.19g
Isoleucine
47.8% 0.41g
Leucine
33.7% 0.64g
Lysine
27.2% 0.47g
Methionine
17.7% 0.15g
Phenylalanine
25.7% 0.38g
Threonine
38% 0.34g
Tryptophan
45% 0.12g
Valine
42.5% 0.46g

Vegan 7. Pistachio and Whole Wheat Bread


image of pistachio
image of whole wheat bread

A great source of protein, pistachio is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, which is complementary to whole wheat bread.

A ratio of 0.7 slice of whole wheat bread (17g) and 0.3 cup of pistachio (35g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 2:1 of pistachio to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for pistachio
USDA Source: Nuts, pistachio nuts, dry roasted, without salt added

Table of amino acids of 0.7 slice whole wheat bread and 0.3 cup pistachio :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [11] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
19.4% 9.7g
Histidine
35.2% 0.22g
Isoleucine
45.5% 0.39g
Leucine
36.1% 0.68g
Lysine
27.3% 0.47g
Methionine
18% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
31.3% 0.47g
Threonine
33% 0.3g
Tryptophan
43.4% 0.11g
Valine
48.7% 0.53g

Vegan 8. Cashews and Whole Wheat Bread


image of cashews
image of whole wheat bread

Cashew is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, complementing the profile of whole wheat bread.

For example, 0.5 slice of whole wheat bread (13g) and 1.3 ounces of cashews (38g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 2.9:1 of cashew to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for cashews
USDA Source: Nuts, cashew nuts, raw

Table of amino acids of 0.5 slice whole wheat bread and 1.3 oz cashews :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [12] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
17.4% 8.7g
Histidine
31.7% 0.2g
Isoleucine
39.9% 0.34g
Leucine
33.5% 0.63g
Lysine
22.9% 0.39g
Methionine
18.2% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
27.7% 0.41g
Threonine
33.1% 0.3g
Tryptophan
48.4% 0.13g
Valine
43.4% 0.47g

Vegan 9. Flaxseeds and Whole Wheat Bread


image of flaxseeds
image of whole wheat bread

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, flaxseed is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, which is complementary to whole wheat bread.

A ratio of 0.2 slice of whole wheat bread (5g) and 4 tablespoons of flaxseeds (41g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 8:1 of flaxseed to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for flaxseeds
USDA Source: Seeds, flaxseed

Table of amino acids of 0.2 slice whole wheat bread and 4 tbsp flaxseeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [13] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.4% 8.2g
Histidine
32.3% 0.2g
Isoleucine
44.7% 0.38g
Leucine
28.3% 0.53g
Lysine
21.5% 0.37g
Methionine
18.4% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
27.7% 0.41g
Threonine
36.5% 0.33g
Tryptophan
49.2% 0.13g
Valine
42.6% 0.46g

Vegan 10. Avocado and Whole Wheat Bread


image of avocado
image of whole wheat bread

Avocado is low in protein, and is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, complementing the profile of whole wheat bread.

For example, 1 slice of whole wheat bread (26g) and 2.6 avocado (350g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 13:1 of avocado to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for avocado
USDA Source: Avocados, raw, California

Table of amino acids of 1 slice whole wheat bread and 2.6 fruit avocado :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [14] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
20.7% 10.3g
Histidine
34.8% 0.22g
Isoleucine
43.5% 0.37g
Leucine
33.7% 0.64g
Lysine
30.8% 0.53g
Methionine
19.2% 0.17g
Phenylalanine
29.1% 0.43g
Threonine
35.8% 0.32g
Tryptophan
46.2% 0.12g
Valine
43.6% 0.47g

Vegan 11. Wheat Germ and Whole Wheat Bread


image of wheat germ
image of whole wheat bread

A great source of protein, wheat germ is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, which is complementary to whole wheat bread.

A ratio of 1 slice of whole wheat bread (26g) and 0.3 cup of wheat germ (30g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 1.1:1 of wheat germ to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for wheat germ
USDA Source: Wheat germ, crude

Table of amino acids of 1 slice whole wheat bread and 0.3 cup wheat germ :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [15] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
20.7% 10.3g
Histidine
38.4% 0.24g
Isoleucine
38.9% 0.33g
Leucine
32.3% 0.61g
Lysine
29.8% 0.51g
Methionine
19.9% 0.17g
Phenylalanine
25.2% 0.38g
Threonine
39.7% 0.36g
Tryptophan
48.5% 0.13g
Valine
42.4% 0.46g

Vegetarian 12. Sour Cream and Whole Wheat Bread


image of sour cream
image of whole wheat bread

Sour cream is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, complementing the profile of whole wheat bread.

For example, 2 slices of whole wheat bread (52g) and 0.5 cup of sour cream (102g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 2:1 of sour cream to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for sour cream
USDA Source: Cream, sour, cultured

Table of amino acids of 2 slice whole wheat bread and 0.5 cup sour cream :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [16] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
18.9% 9.4g
Histidine
31.2% 0.2g
Isoleucine
38.8% 0.33g
Leucine
32.7% 0.62g
Lysine
25.2% 0.43g
Methionine
17.6% 0.15g
Phenylalanine
24.2% 0.36g
Threonine
31.7% 0.29g
Tryptophan
41.3% 0.11g
Valine
37.5% 0.41g

Vegetarian 13. Caramel and Whole Wheat Bread


image of caramel
image of whole wheat bread

Low in protein, caramel is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, which is complementary to whole wheat bread.

A ratio of 2 slices of whole wheat bread (52g) and 0.8 cup of caramel (262g) creates a complete protein profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:5 to 1:1.2 for whole wheat bread to caramel by weight.

Full nutritional profile for caramel
USDA Source: Toppings, butterscotch or caramel

Table of amino acids of 2 slice whole wheat bread and 0.8 cup caramel :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [17] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
20.2% 10.1g
Histidine
33% 0.21g
Isoleucine
46.7% 0.4g
Leucine
35.3% 0.67g
Lysine
26.7% 0.46g
Methionine
19.6% 0.17g
Phenylalanine
26% 0.39g
Threonine
34.9% 0.31g
Tryptophan
24.8% 0.06g
Valine
42.9% 0.46g

Vegetarian 14. Mayonnaise and Whole Wheat Bread


image of mayonnaise
image of whole wheat bread

Mayonnaise is low in protein, and is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, complementing the profile of whole wheat bread.

For example, 1.4 slices of whole wheat bread (37g) and 1.8 cups of mayonnaise (407g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 11:1 of mayonnaise to whole wheat bread will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for mayonnaise
USDA Source: Salad dressing, mayonnaise, regular

Table of amino acids of 1.4 slice whole wheat bread and 1.8 cup mayonnaise :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [18] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
17.7% 8.9g
Histidine
28.5% 0.18g
Isoleucine
44.7% 0.38g
Leucine
31.4% 0.59g
Lysine
23.4% 0.4g
Methionine
22.5% 0.19g
Phenylalanine
25.2% 0.38g
Threonine
36% 0.32g
Tryptophan
44.3% 0.12g
Valine
41.5% 0.45g

Vegetarian 15. Yogurt and Whole Wheat Bread


image of yogurt
image of whole wheat bread

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, yogurt is high in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine, which is complementary to whole wheat bread.

A ratio of 2 slices of whole wheat bread (52g) and 0.4 cup of yogurt (106g) creates a complete protein profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:2 to 1:7 for whole wheat bread to yogurt by weight.

Full nutritional profile for yogurt
USDA Source: Yogurt, plain, whole milk

Table of amino acids of 2 slice whole wheat bread and 0.4 cup yogurt :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [19] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
21.2% 10.6g
Histidine
30.8% 0.19g
Isoleucine
42.8% 0.37g
Leucine
34.9% 0.66g
Lysine
28.1% 0.48g
Methionine
20.9% 0.18g
Phenylalanine
27% 0.4g
Threonine
32.4% 0.29g
Tryptophan
33% 0.09g
Valine
47.3% 0.51g


Complete Protein Pairings