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NAP Challenge #3: More Than Half Equals Whole

Tuna PastaThis week more than half of my grain servings will be whole grain such as whole grain cereal, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat pasta, barley, bulgur, and buckwheat (kasha), corn, and quinoa. I'll start out with at least one whole grain serving daily and by the end of the week I will eat a minimum of three (3) whole grain servings each day.


This week's exciting challenge focuses specifically on eating more WHOLE grains.

The first challenge is to fill 2/3rds of your plate with plant foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and nuts. This week's challenge is to eat mostly whole grains - at least half of your grain choices will be whole grain, with a minimum of three (3) whole grain portions or servings.

It's important to eat whole grains because plant foods rich in fiber such as whole grains help protect against cancer, specifically colorectal cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death in the US, as well as other chronic diseases.

Whole grain foods that have not been processed or refined contain more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and naturally occurring plant chemicals called phytonutrients than processed or refined grains. Fiber in whole grains probably decreases risk of cancer because it helps speed elimination of waste. This reduces the time your large intestine may be exposed to cancer-causing substances. Fiber is not digested in your stomach; rather healthful bacteria in your large intestine ferment it. The production of substances from fermentation may further reduce cancer risk.

Whole grain foods are naturally low in fat and high in fiber, making you feel more full and satisfied - with fewer calories, whole grains help you lose weight and reduce cancer risk. Let's see how More Than Half Equals Whole.


Vegetable Rice

  • For breakfast: eat a high fiber, whole grain cold cereal with at least 5 grams of dietary fiber or eat oatmeal sprinkled with toasted wheat germ, nuts and fresh or dried fruit or eat whole-wheat toast with at least 3 grams of fiber per slice with almond, cashew or peanut butter
  • For lunch sandwiches select breads with whole grain listed as the first ingredient and with at least 3 grams of fiber per slice
  • For dinner cook brown rice: try instant brown rice or frozen whole grain rice which takes only about 5-10 minutes to cook. Regular brown rice is less expensive than the instant or frozen, but it takes about 40-45 minutes to cook, so if time allows, that is a more economical option. Either way, it's worth it for the additional hearty and slightly nutty flavor and fiber.
  • For pasta dishes, use 100% whole-wheat pastas or higher fiber pastas made with whole-wheat durum and legume flour blends. You can transition to 100% whole wheat pasta by first cooking with pastas made with both whole wheat durum legume flour blends. Shh, don't tell anyone the pasta is high-fiber!
  • Instead of white rice, go quinoa. Quinoa is a super substitute for rice or pasta in many recipes. The round miniature opaque balls are appealing and delicious.
  • Go for the B's – put barley, bulgur, buckwheat, and brown rice in side dishes, garden salads, soups and stews
  • Select cereals, breads, and crackers with whole grain listed as the first ingredient such as shredded wheat, 100% whole wheat bread, trans fat free whole grain crackers such as rye or Finn krisp.
  • A minimum of three (3) whole grain servings a day is easy to eat: For breakfast have 1/2-1 cup of a high fiber cereal or oatmeal; for lunch have 1-2 slices of whole grain bread; and for dinner have 1/2-1 cup brown rice or whole wheat pasta. Each 1-ounce slice of bread or 1/2 cup portion equals 1 serving. It's easy to eat 3-6 portions or servings of whole grains a day and still lose weight!

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