Week 12: Set UP for Success

Home Improvements for Cancer Prevention

This challenge is important because the environments where you live, work and socialize affect your decisions about eating and being active. By optimizing your surroundings, you set yourself up to succeed in losing weight and being healthy. Let’s Set UP for Success.

  • In your kitchen: look for ways to arrange food and beverages on counters, shelves and in the fridge to make healthier choices convenient
  • At work: pay attention to how your workplace supports or doesn’t support your healthy choices. Make a plan to help it work for you
  • With friends: ask for their support to make choices that will help you reach your goals

Wind Down with an Evening Stretch

6-Minute Cardio Workout with Denise & Katie Austin!

Conquer this Challenge:  Take Control of your Environment

Healthy Home Strategies:

  • Place plant foods front and center in the refrigerator, freezer, cabinets and pantry. Revamp your refrigerator with this makeover.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. Don’t buy foods and snacks you are trying to avoid or limit. Even with healthier versions, tuck them in harder to reach places.
  • Keep walking shoes, hand weights and resistance bands where you can see them. In view, will do! Accumulate 30-60 minutes of physical activity throughout each day. Include activity bursts!

Healthy Workplace Strategies:

  • Assure healthy foods and beverages are available. Bring your own. Swap the office junk food dumping station for a fruit bowl.
  • Track steps with others in your office and try to register 10,000–12,000 steps daily.

Healthy Social Strategies:

  • Start restaurant meals with a salad or vegetable-based soup.
  • Request a take-out container or share a meal at restaurants with big portions. Order half plate or small plate for better portion sizes.
  • Trade-in coffees for walks. Swap sedentary sit down coffees and lunches for walks in scenic parks, nearby neighborhoods, malls, community centers, and museums.

 CreatingHealthy Home Zones from Your Kitchen to Couch**

Dig Deeper

Exploring “why” (the cues) we eat and being mindful about eating and being active helps us to make better choices.

Hunger. Be in touch with your hunger signals. Your goal is to feel comfortably hungry before a meal or snack.

Satiation. Stop eating once comfortably satiated, but not overly full.

Container Gardening and Cooking with Kids

NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. Easily grow herbs at home and get kids cooking.

Emotions. Sadness, stress, anger, lonely, boredom, and tiredness.

  • Be aware of your emotions that trigger overeating and disassociate eating for relief or comfort.
  • Find non-food related “treats” to comfort, celebrate, reward and rejuvenate yourself and others – walk, plant flowers, take a bubble bath, watch a movie, read, play cards, dance… remember relaxation and creativity are essential to your well-being.

Taste. It’s easy to overeat both great tasting food and foods that taste ‘meh’. So – be a Food Snob. If a food tastes really good and is made with quality ingredients, eat it and enjoy in proper proportion and portion. Otherwise, don’t bother.

External cues.  We see and smell food everywhere. Super Sizes. Value Meals. Bulk Deals. Be mindful of how these cues affect your desire to eat. Just HALT. Ask yourself, am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?

The bottom line – be a Mindful, Savvy Eater, Food Snob & Active Person. Be a food snob. Ask, “Is this food good for me? Are the calories worth eating?” Be active in some way every day!

Set UP for Success with The New American Plate Challenge ~ where weekly challenges become lifelong healthy habits!

Congratulations! You completed The New American Plate Challenge!

Share what you’ve learned with AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention infographic!

Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 10. Honor Your Health.

**Update (October 1, 2018): At least a dozen publications co-authored by Brian Wansink, have recently been retracted in several journals, as the scientific validity of his research was unable to be independently validated. He is the author of this book and although his work is in question, many of his suggestions in this book may be helpful for setting up a healthier kitchen environment.

Week 11: Mix It UP & Be FITT

Mixing It Up for Cancer Prevention

This week you’ll move more with something old or something new – or both! If your motivation is lagging to be active for at least 30-60 minutes every day, trying new things or rediscovering a fun activity can help keep it all fresh and enjoyable.

Adding UP: I will spend 30 minutes doing new physical activities 3 days this week.

  • Find classes for swimming, tennis or pilates at the local community or rec center or the Y.
  • Turn on your favorite energizing music at home and dance!

Step UP: I will take 4,000 steps while doing new physical activities 3 days this week.

  • Go on a local nature walk. With beautiful surroundings, you’ll boost steps quickly without even noticing!
  • Clip your fitness tracker/pedometer on your shoes to register “steps” and go for a bike ride.

Conquer this Challenge

Try something new. There are lots of fun ways to exercise and plenty of motivating instructors to lead you.

  • Check out the group exercise schedule at your health club and give a new class (or two!) a try. If you don’t belong to a health club, try a church or school – many offer various fitness and dance classes.
  • Start with the basics. Trying a new activity means learning new skills. Be sure to take time to learn the basics of whatever new activity you choose before you push yourself too hard.

Be a kid again. Remember what you loved to do as a kid? Young adult? Try that activity again! Chances are it will be as much fun as you remember.

  • Get a jump rope, hula hoop or skates. You may need to ease back into it slowly, but you may be surprised how quickly the rhythm comes back.
  • If you played a sport as a kid, look for opportunities to assist coaches or teachers in local leagues. It may help you get out there with the kids and move a little more.

Strengthen Your Upper Body While Microwaving Popcorn


Mix It Up with a Partner – A Duo Workout with Katie & Denise!


Strategies to use this week

  • Ask a friend. Find out what your neighbors or colleagues do to keep active and ask if you can join them during their next workout.
  • Set your timer at work for mini breaks every hour or so. Do strength exercises with 2-5 pound hand weights or try this:  1-Minute Exercises: Resistance Training Video.
  • Be Courageous. Don’t be shy. Trying something new can be intimidating, but don’t let that stop you. Ask for help if you have a question.
  • Check local listings. You can find several different workout programs on TV (either live or on demand) or rent or borrow workout videos from the library.
  • Look for a group. Communities are filled with activity groups: walking, biking, hiking, rowing just to name a few. Check local community boards, Internet sites, or local paper to find one you might like to try.
  • Have fun. Physical activity should be FUN! Choose activities you enjoy. The more you like what you are doing, the more you’ll keep active.


Food and Cooking Safety

NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. Clean-Separate-Cook-Chill – a food safety mantra for your kitchen

Dig Deeper

Do you know about the FITT Principle? It applies to all types of physical activity: aerobic, strength and flexibility. Use the FITT Principle to help guide your activity routine.

  • Frequency – Plan to walk or do aerobic activities at least 5 days a week. Work towards doing strength activities 2-3 times per week and flexibility (stretching) activities 5-7 days per week.
  • Intensity – Aim to do moderate-to-vigorous intensity activities every day. Remember to use the “Talk Test” from Challenge 5 to help you gauge your intensity level.
  • Type – Mix It Up! Include cardiovascular activities such as brisk walking, dancing, swimming, and playing soccer, basketball; strength activities such as lifting weights, using resistance bands or doing push ups; and flexibility activities such as bending and touching your toes, reaching for the sky, and stretching from side to side.
  • Time – Shoot for 60! For cancer prevention and to achieve and maintain your weight loss goals, work toward 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity activities five or more days each week. Remember, exercise may be divided into shorter periods.

  • Eating out at special gatherings? Check out  our tips to enjoy what’s offered.
  • This week’s whole grains – Rye and Triticale! Check out how to add these whole grains to your New American Plate and cereal bowl.

Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 9. Exercise – Feel the Difference. 


Week 10: Pump Up Calcium

Pump Up the Calcium

Getting the right amount of calcium is important because this mineral plays a role in building healthy bones, keeping blood pressure low and reducing risk for colorectal cancer. But most Americans are not meeting recommendations for calcium. 

  • Plant foods with calcium. You are now eating more plant foods and some of these can help boost calcium. Many are economical and delicious – keep reading to see how beans, greens and others can help pump up the calcium.
  • Calcium-rich dairy foods. Milk, yogurt and cheese are packed with calcium. If you enjoy these foods, including a couple of servings each day can get you well on your way to meeting calcium needs.

Conquer this challenge

Try calcium-containing plant foods

  • Eat calcium-rich beans ‘n’ greens
    • Beans: baked, black, Great Northern, navy, white, edamame
    • Leafy greens: collards, kale, mustard and turnip
  • Eat calcium-rich veggies: bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage and okra
  • Buy calcium-fortified cereal, bread and 100 percent fruit juice
  • Buy tofu made with calcium sulfate

Choose dairy foods

  • Eat nonfat and low-fat yogurts with minimal added sugar (4 grams equals 1 teaspoon) and active cultures for probiotic advantage
  • Get Greek-style yogurt for a satiating snack: higher in protein, but may be lower in calcium than regular yogurt, so check label
  • Cook with reduced-fat cheese: ricotta, cottage cheese and mozzarella
  • Top soups, stews, casseroles, salads and veggies with cheese
  • Make or order pizza with reduced-fat cheeses: try on whole-wheat crust with lots of veggies. Let vendors know you want these options!

Ankles, Feet and Arches – Healthy Moves!


30-Minute Fun & Fit Cardio Workout with Denise Austin!

Strategies to use this week

  • For breakfast try reduced-fat cheese with sliced fruit and small whole-grain bagel or smoothie made with yogurt or use  a calcium fortified beverage like orange juice or soy or almond milk.
  • Lunch – make an entrée salad with tofu, edamame or black beans and/or reduced-fat cheese; try cooked kale in soup or as side dish
  • Dinner: reduced-fat ricotta cheese in pasta dishes; tofu vegetable stir-fry; use blackstrap molasses to glaze chicken or include in baked beans; make a meal focused on calcium-rich beans, greens and vegetables
  • Snacks: cappuccino or chai latte; reduced-fat yogurt with a little granola cereal and fresh fruit; string cheese; edamame; dried figs; 1/4 cup almonds
  • Desserts: puddings made with reduced-fat milk or calcium-fortified tofu or almond milk; parfaits made with yogurt and fruit; nonfat or low-fat frozen yogurt; dried figs and reduced-fat cheese

Making Easy Meals and Sweet Treats

NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. Energize with quick meals and sweet treats!

Dig Deeper

Calcium recommendations for adults of 1000 to 1200 milligrams (mg) per day can be met by a balanced variety of healthy foods that includes 2½ to 3 standard servings of milk, yogurt or cheese and plenty of calcium-rich plant foods. Here are some examples:

Food Sources of Calcium: This fact sheet contains a list of calcium-rich foods and shows how much is in one serving.

Meeting calcium needs with plant foods:

Breakfast – Smoothie (click for recipe):

  • 1/2 cup soft tofu                                140 mg
  • 1/2 cup calcium-fortified OJ             175 mg


  • 3/4 cup white beans                          121 mg
  • 1/2 cup collard greens                       135 mg


  • 1 oz. almonds                                      75 mg


  • 1 cups calcium-fortified soy milk    300 mg

Miscellaneous in other foods           200 mg

TOTAL                                                 1146 mg

Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 8. Respect Your Body.

Week 9: Refresh and Relax with Better Beverages

Drink to Your Healthy Weight

It’s simple. Too many sugary drinks means too many extra calories. And that can lead to excess body fat, which increases risk for many cancers, heart disease and diabetes.

  • Sugary drinks. Say sayonara to sugar in soda, juice flavored drinks, and super sweetened coffee and tea beverages and instead drink water, tea, coffee and milk.

Alcohol-containing beverages are also high in calories and alcohol itself increases cancer risk.

  • Alcohol. Refresh and relax with bubbly “fizzers” made without alcohol and spritzers made with a splash of your favorite wine or liquor.

Conquer this challenge:  Slim down your glass

Stock up on delicious, calorie free drinks

  • Buy seltzer water, club soda, and sparkling mineral water
  • Stock up on teas like white, green, oolong, black, white, herbal and rooibos (bagged or loose)
  • Purge pantry of all soda, pop, colas and sweetened beverages

Choose nutritious, low calorie beverages

  • Drink skim or reduced-fat milk
  • Try calcium-fortified and unsweetened plant milks like soy, almond and rice milks (almond and rice milks are low in satiating protein)
  • Limit 100 percent fruit juice to 1/2 cup portion daily
  • Enjoy a couple cups of coffee or several cups of your favorite tea. Limit added sugar, honey or other sweetener to 1 teaspoon per cup.

3 Stretches for Healthy Knees!

6-Minute Easy Yoga Workout with Denise and Katie Austin!


Strategies to use this week

    • Enjoy new teas with healthful afternoon snacks, like fruit, whole-grain crackers or a handful of nuts. Learn more about tea.
    • Coffee has been linked to lower risk for endometrial and liver cancer.  Both regular and decaffeinated may offer benefits. Some people do not tolerate coffee well and too much can interfere with sleep. Learn more about coffee.
    • In coffee shops, order lattes, hot or cold, coffee or chai, with skim or 1 percent milk and no more than 1 teaspoon sweetener per cup, if using.
    • Avoid “fruit drinks” and “functional waters” such as sports drinks and vitamin waters with added sugar.
    • Make alcohol-free Fizzers with carbonated waters and a splash of 100 percent fruit juice. For delicious ideas, see our “Spice Up Your Water” article.
    • Concoct low-alcohol Spritzers with a splash of wine or liquor.

Making Better Beverages
NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. Trade sugar-loaded beverages for infused waters and cocktails for mocktails.

Dig Deeper

      • Limiting alcohol also curtails calories, which helps whittle away your waistline.
      • In addition, avoiding or limiting alcohol lowers risk for breast cancer, the most common type of cancer and second leading cause of cancer death in women, and colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer in both men and women.
      • Alcohol increases risk for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and liver. Scientists are still researching how alcohol causes cancer. One theory is that alcohol directly damages our DNA, increasing our risk of cancer. Research shows that alcohol is particularly harmful when combined with smoking.

Cheers to Better Beverages and weekly challenges becoming lifelong healthy habits!


Cheers to Better Beverages and weekly challenges becoming lifelong healthy habits!
Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food

Week 8: Make Time for Break Time

Sit Less, Move More

This week you’ll add fun activity breaks throughout the day. Emerging evidence suggests that too much sitting and long periods of being sedentary may increase your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and weight gain. It’s simple to break up that time.

Add UP: I will replace 10 minutes of sitting with 10 minutes of activity breaks everyday this week.

  • Take mini-activity breaks when watching television or reading for 1, 2, 5 or 10 minutes.
  • Stand up and use light hand weights while reading emails or talking on the phone.

Step UP: I will replace 10 minutes of sitting with 1,000 steps everyday this week.

  • Walk around while waiting for appointments or picking someone up.
  • Walk or run on a treadmill while watching television or using electronic devices. Combine screen time with activity.
  • Deliver messages in person instead of sending emails and texts and phoning.

Conquer this Challenge

Turn sitting and sedentary situations into active ones – engage in couch potato therapy. Find opportunities throughout the day to get up and move more!

  • Use cues such as commercial breaks, program changes, new chapters and half-hour intervals to take activity breaks.
  • Take short walks to refresh your energy and relieve stress.

Make time for break time every hour of sitting with at least 1 to 2 minutes of activity.

  • Stand up to use light hand weights kept by your chair or sofa.
  • Use your stretch bands to do these 1-Minute Exercises
  • Take short walks to refresh your energy and relieve stress.

Core Basics and Back Stretches While Watching TV!


10-Minute Break Time Workout!


Strategies to use this week

  • Get off the bus one stop (or two, or three stops…) earlier.
  • Walk or bike to work at least once a week if possible.
  • Run errands by walking or biking instead of driving, especially if destinations are less than one mile away.
  • Park farther away from where you are going to fit in extra minutes of walking and steps. Be mindful of safety too.
  • Take stairs or walk up escalators at work, at the mall, etc. Start by climbing as many flights as you can before riding elevators or escalators. You’ll burn approximately 10 calories per flight of stairs.
  • Set the timer on your computer, phone or watch to alert you hourly to stand up and be active. Here’s a fun 3-Minute Office Workout video.

Make Time for Break Time

Making Pre-packaged Meals and Snacks
NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. Save money and eat nutritiously when away from home with our pre-packed meals and snacks.

Dig Deeper

Sitting risks. Even if you are physically active and at a healthy weight, there are health risks associated with prolonged sitting. Recent research suggests that key indicators of cancer risk are lower when sitting is interrupted with 1 to 2 minute activity breaks.

Planned activity is great, but those minutes are just a small part of your total waking hours. Find 10 minutes where you can convert sitting and sedentary moments into active ones.

At Home:

  • Get up to change television channels. Keep the remote by the television.
  • Increase the intensity of your activity bursts: run in place, dance, do jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, chair calisthenics or kettle ball exercises.
  • Be active around the house. Yard work and housework such as raking, weeding, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming and scrubbing count as physical activity.

At Work:

  • Do chair exercises at your desk like leg lifts.
  • Use office or cubicle walls for simple vertical push-ups and stretches.
  • Intensify break time: install a pull-up bar to do pull ups and chin ups, play nerf basketball and do pushups.
  • Schedule walking meetings with coworkers, clients and fellow volunteers.

During Travel:

  • Get out of the car periodically to stretch, shake out your arms and legs and walk.
  • Do leg lifts, stand, stretch and walk while on an airplane, train or boat when possible.
  • Eating out? Check out  Spotting high-sodium foods.
  • This week’s whole grain – Millet and Teff Check out these trendy ancient grains.
  •  Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor.

    Week 7: Meat the Challenge

    Red Meat: Think Small

    Eat only modest amounts of red meat (no more than 12 – 18 ounces weekly) to reduce risk for colorectal cancer.

    • AICR’s reports found strong evidence linking red meat with higher risk of colon cancer above 12 – 18 ounces per week
    • Red meat contains heme iron, the compound that gives red meat its color, which may damage the lining of the colon
    • Red meats include beef, pork and lamb

    Processed Meat: Think Special Occasion

    Avoid processed meat (saving for special occasions) to reduce risk for colorectal cancer.

    • AICR’s reports found strong evidence that eating processed meat increases the chances of colorectal cancer. There was emerging, but limited research showing it increases one type of stomach cancer (non-cardia)
    • Processed meat is any meat that has been smoked, cured or salted, or has added preservatives
    • This processing can lead to formation of cancer-causing substances
    • Processed meats include ham, bacon, pastrami, salami, sausages, bratwursts, frankfurters and hot dogs

    Conquer this Challenge: Make Meat a Modest Part of Your Diet

    Limit cooked red meats to 12 – 18 ounces weekly.

    • Try this: 3 ounces red meat x 6 meals = 18 ounces lean red meat weekly
    • Four ounces of uncooked meat shrinks to about 3 ounces cooked
    • Choose lean cuts such as sirloin, loin, round and 95% lean ground meat

    Choose other animal proteins more often

    • Fish, shellfish and other sea foods
    • Poultry like chicken and turkey
    • Cheese, yogurt, and eggs

    Portion smart

    • A portion is 3 ounces of cooked red meat, seafood or poultry. This amount provides a healthy dose of protein without overdoing on calories with higher fat meats.
    • If the meat is higher fat (sirloin steak, tenderloin cuts), try 2-3 ounce portions for women and 3-5 ounce portions for men at dinner and go for half portions at lunch.

    Try Plant Proteins

    • Beans like kidney, black, garbanzo (chickpeas), pinto, edamame, or navy are satisfying and add texture and color
    • Hummus, tofu, nuts and nut butters are quick and easy choices

    3 Moves for Strong Healthy Hips!

    20-Minute Ultimate Workout!

    Strategies to use this week

    Replace processed meats in sandwiches with: 

    • Peanut, almond and cashew butters
    • Garbanzo bean (hummus), black bean and other bean spreads
    • Fresh baked or roasted chicken and turkey (not deli-style processed)
    • Roasted loin or round of beef, pork and lamb
    • Egg, chicken, tuna and fish salads
    • Reduced-fat cheeses such as cheddar, Jarlsburg, mozzarella, provolone, Swiss

    Eat at least one meatless lunch or dinner meal weekly

    • Meatless Monday, Tofu Tuesday or Bean Taco Thursday
    • Try bean curd (tofu) with vegetables with brown rice
    • Order tofu pad thai with a side order of vegetables at Asian restaurants.

    Take the Quiz: What Is Processed Meat?

    Dig Deeper

    Enjoy beans and nuts for protein:

    • Swap beans for half the meat in chili, spaghetti sauce or other soups and stews
    • Eat seafood twice a week. Use this pocket guide to select sustainable seafood.

    Know the serving sizes:

    • 1/2 cup cooked beans or 1 cup split pea, lentil or bean soup or 1 bean patty  = 2 ounces animal protein
    • 1/4 cup nuts or 2 tablespoons nut butters = 2 ounces animal protein
    • One-ounce cheese, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt or 1 cup milk = 1 ounce protein. Choose reduced-fat versions to help with weight loss
    • One whole egg – 1 ounce protein



    Cooking Protein-Rich Plant Foods
    NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. Enjoy more legumes, nuts and seeds for protein, fiber and phytonutrients!


    Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 5. Respect Your Fullness.


    Week 6: The Whole Grain

    Go For the WHOLE Grain

    Here’s what you need to know about the cancer-protective and health-promoting power of whole grains:

    • AICR’s Third Expert Report found strong evidence that eating whole grains daily lowers risk for that cancer. Eating about 3 servings of whole grain foods reduces risk of colorectal cancer by 17%
    • Whole grains contain the grain’s three edible parts: bran, germ and endosperm
    • They come naturally with cancer-protective fiber and foods with fiber, like whole grains, lower risk for colorectal cancer
    • Whole grains’ fiber helps you fill up more quickly and stay full longer, making it easier for you to eat for a healthy weight and lower cancer risk
    • Compared to processed or refined grains, whole grains have more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients because bran, germ and endosperm are left intact

    There are many delicious and easy to use whole grain foods: 

    • Popular and easy to find whole grains include oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, whole-grain cereals, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and corn
    • Look for some less common ones like barley, bulgur and quinoa

    Conquer this Challenge: Swap and Savor

    Focus on replacing refined grain foods you eat, like white bread, white rice and refined ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, with WHOLE-grain foods:

    • Swap your refined breakfast cereal for a high-fiber, whole-grain cold cereal that contains at least 5 grams of dietary fiber
    • Replace white bread with bread labeled as 100% whole-wheat bread – starting with a soft variety may help you make the transition
    • Try quick cooking whole-wheat couscous or whole-grain angel hair spaghetti as a base for stir fries and thick stews.

    Transition to whole grains gradually:

    • Replace one portion of a refined grain with a whole-grain food for a few days, if you aren’t already eating some whole grains
    • Then replace a second portion for a few more days and finally add one more swap by the end of the week
    • Mix your pasta by using half whole-wheat and half refined in mac and cheese or spaghetti with sauce to get used to the chewier texture

    3 Moves for a Strong Back!

    12-Minute Dance Cardio Workout with Katie Austin

    Strategies to use this week

      • Start your day with a high-fiber breakfast: 
        • Eat oatmeal sprinkled with nuts, toasted wheat germ and fresh or dried fruit
        • Spread peanut, almond or cashew butter on whole-wheat toast
      • Pack your lunch with fiber:
        • Make and buy sandwiches with whole-grain breads
        • Add to salads, leftover brown rice or whole-wheat pasta. Mix in tuna, corn, chopped veggies and a little vinaigrette for a one-dish lunch
      • Enjoy WHOLE grains for dinner:
        • Try instant or frozen brown rice that cooks in a few minutes
        • Use quinoa in place of white rice or pasta. The miniature opaque balls are appealing and delicious
        • Put barley, bulgur, and buckwheat (kasha) in side dishes, garden salads, soups and stews

    Cooking Whole Grains
    NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. Reduce your risk of colorectal cancer with fiber-rich whole grains!

    Dig Deeper

      • Look for “100% whole grain” stamp on the front of packages for cereals, breads, crackers, and breakfast bars.
      • Fiber in whole grains helps speed the elimination of waste, which also may decrease risk of cancer. This faster elimination 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.
      • Learn more from the Whole Grains Council


  • Eating out? Check out  Selecting satisfying whole grains.
  • Spruce up your WHEAT whole-grain repertoire! Check out  Bulgur, einkorn, farro, freekeh, kamut, splet, and wheat berries.
  • Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week 4. Challenge the Food Police.

    Week 5: Increase the Intensity!

    Increasing the Intensity

    Add UP: I will add daily 5 to 10 minutes of more intense activity by the end of the week.

    • For example, let’s say you walk 105 minutes weekly (15 minutes daily x 7 days) at a moderate pace. By next week you’ll walk 110 to 115 minutes including 5 to 10 minutes at a vigorous pace.
    • Add to your total time, 1 to 2 minutes of more intense walking each day.
    • Use the Talk Test to see if you are going from a light to moderate activity level or a moderate to vigorous activity level.

    Step UP: I will add daily 500 to 1,000 steps of higher intensity by the end of the week.

    • For example, let’s say you take 8,000 steps daily at a light pace. By next week you’ll take 8,500 to 9,000 steps including 500 to 1,000 steps at a moderate pace.
    • Add to your total step count, 100 to 150 more intense steps each day.
    • Use the Talk Test to see if you are going from a light to moderate activity level or a moderate to vigorous activity level.

    Conquer this Challenge: Do the Talk Test

    The talk test is an easy way to gauge how intense your activity is.

      • If you are able to sing, then intensity is LIGHT
        • Examples: slow walking, stretching, dusting furniture
      • If you are able to talk but not sing, then intensity is MODERATE
        • Examples: brisk walking, water aerobics, doubles tennis, hiking, ballroom dancing, general gardening, washing windows
      • If you have a difficult time talking, then intensity is VIGOROUS
        • Examples: race walking, jogging (5 MPH), swimming laps, singles tennis, bicycling (10+ MPH), hiking uphill, aerobic dancing, heaving gardening, using push mower

    6-Minute Stretch

          • Start your day with a refreshing and energizing full body stretch!


    5-Minute Dance Cardio Workout

          • Increase Intensity with Fun Dancing!


    Strategies to use this week

    • Set a timer. Program your timer to beep at intervals to remind you to boost the intensity during your workout.
    • Make intensity a game. Challenge yourself to pick up the pace between streetlights or parking meters during a walk.
    • Hunt for the hills or the stairs. Increasing the incline of your walk will boost the intensity level.
    • Walk to the beat. Make a workout playlist that includes songs with a mix of fast and slow beats. Pace yourself to the beat of the music.
    • Add calisthenics. A few minutes of jumping jacks or running in place will boost the intensity to your usual routine.
    • Find a partner. Working out with someone at the same or slightly higher fitness level as you can motivate you to increase the intensity level.

    Cooking Veggies & Prepping Fruit
    NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. Color Your New American Plates with veggies and fruit prepared at home!

    Dig Deeper

    Why is intensity important? With more intense activities you raise your heart rate, which improves your fitness, and you burn more calories, which helps you get to and keep a healthy weight.

    Research shows that being physically active decreases risk of breast cancer, colon cancer and endometrial cancer as well as reduces risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

    Rules to increase intensity:

    #1: Start Where You Are.

    The intensity level of an activity is different for everyone and depends on your current level of fitness. If you are new to physical activity, the pace of your moderate-intensity workout may be slower than that of someone who has been working out for several months.

    #2: Keep track of your intensity levels.

    Make notes on how often and how many minutes you increased your level of intensity each day. This helps you see your progress and that you are increasing fitness.

    #3: Increase the intensity level of your physical activity slowly and safely.

    Start by warming up for a few minutes at a light intensity, and then do some moderate activities before you progress to vigorous ones.


  • Dining out? Check out  Nutritious, delicious condiments.
  • Try trendy ancient whole grains! Check out  Quinoa and its cousin Kaniwa.
  • Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 3. Make Peace with Food 

    Week 4: Practicing and Picturing Portions

    Practice and Picture Portions

    You’ve been practicing the 2/3 – 1/3 proportion principle to put more cancer-protective plant foods on your plate. Now you’ll be practicing portions:

    • Serving right size portions is key to eating for a healthy weight
    • Practicing portions at home helps you choose healthy amounts when eating away from home
    • Using visual cues

    Conquer this Challenge: Measure and  Visualize

    Practice and picture portions using these four easy steps:

    1. Read the AICR Portions on Your Plate guide to learn the portions for various foods and beverages.

    2. Portion foods using measuring cups, spoons and a food scale. Place them on your lunch and dinner plates to see what half a cup of brown rice or a 3-ounce portion of fish looks like.

    3. Associate portions sizes with common objects. These can be a baseball and deck of cards. For example, 1/2 cup cooked pasta looks like half a baseball and a 3-ounce portion of cooked chicken is similar in size to a deck of playing cards.

    4. Take a mental snapshot. Eventually you won’t need to measure all the time because you can remember how they look on your plate. You’ll be able to estimate how many portions there are in foods you eat away from home. The number of portions in a restaurant serving may surprise you.


    This Week’s Stretch – Work Those Shoulders!

    This Week’s Workout – 6-minute Toning with the Austins!

    Dig Deeper

    How many portions are right for you?

    Now that you have portions down, learn about the suggested number of portions or amounts of foods to eat to get to and stay at a healthy weight.

    Food 1 Portion Amount
     Cooked non-starchy vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots, greens) 1 cup 1 1/2- 2 portions daily
      Fruit 1/2 cup  3 – 4 portions daily (Limit 100% fruit juice to ½ cup daily)
     Starchy vegetables (corn, potatoes, peas) and whole grains (bread, rice, pasta): 1/2 cup Women: 1-2 portions per meal
    Men: 2-3 portions per meal
     Cooked beans, such as kidney, chickpea or lentils 1/2 cup 1 portion at least 2 times per week (more if vegetarian)
     Nuts 1/4 cup 1/2 – 1 portion per day
     Poultry, seafood, meat, cooked 3 ounces cooked  Women: about 2 portions daily
    Men: 2 – 2 1/2 portions daily
     Healthy oils (olive, canola etc) 1 teaspoon  Women: 5-6 portions daily
    Men: 6-7 portions daily

    **Amounts based on 2015 US Dietary Guidelines, using daily calorie range of 1600 to 2200.

    Meal Prep! Make nutritious meals for home and away from home quickly and easily!
    NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. Watch videos to learn about mise en place and other meal prep tips.

    Portion Tips:

    Put proportion and portions on your plates. Fill your plates two-thirds or more with plant foods and one-third or less with animal foods and with portions for a healthier you.

    Good luck practicing and picturing portions and with the New American Plate Challenge – where your weekly challenges become lifelong healthy habits!

    Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 2. Honor Your Hunger 

    Week 3: Color Your Plate

    Colors Matter for Cancer Prevention

    Colorful fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals – natural plant chemicals that can act to help promote health and protect against cancer in these ways: 

    • Stimulate the immune system
    • Reduce the kind of inflammation that makes cancer growth more likely
    • Prevent DNA damage and help with DNA repair
    • Slow the growth rate of cancer cells
    • Help regulate hormones

    Colorful plant foods also help with getting to and staying a healthy weight:

    • You feel full and satisfied after eating these foods because of their water and fiber content
    • Bite for bite, you get more nutrients and fewer calories than in highly processed foods and most animal foods. That’s one important reason for filling 2/3 of your plate with plant foods – more food, but fewer calories!

    Conquer this challenge: Color your plate!

    Shop for color and convenience

    • Select fresh produce that will ripen at different times during the week
    • Buy your usual fruit and veggies but try something new such as kiwi, papaya, star fruit, or purple potatoes
    • Stock up on pre-cut, frozen or canned fruit for fruit smoothies and pre-cut, frozen or low-sodium canned vegetables and beans to add to meals

    Boost the color in your favorites

    • Stuff sandwiches with shredded carrots, sliced peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, spinach and dark lettuce leaves
    • Add to chicken, tuna or seafood salad – grapes, raisins, dried apricots, celery, red onion, grated carrots
    • Add extra veggies, beans and peas to spaghetti sauce, salads, soups, stews and casseroles
    • Accent thin crust pizza (preferably whole-grain) with more veggies, olives and pineapple

    Do These Mini-Squats While Making Toast!

    Firm your hips, thighs and buttocks. Learn how – using good form – with Denise Austin.

    Barre Toning Workout

    Join the barre workout band – grab a chair to gracefully and gently stretch and strengthen your muscles in the comfort of your home!

    Strategies to use this week

    • Plan ahead, keep handy ready-to-eat fruit and veggies such as grapes, dried fruit, carrots, sliced peppers or edamame
    • Bring snacks to work or school or enjoy at home:
      • Mid-morning – 1/4 cup dried fruit such as apricots, cranberries, plums, raisins; low-sodium vegetable juice
      • Afternoon – fresh fruit with low-fat, plain yogurt – try banana slices, strawberries or grapes
      • After work or school – fruit smoothie; seasonal fruit such as apple or watermelon slices; baby carrots, chopped raw veggies such as sliced peppers, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, edamame dipped in low-fat yogurt dressings or hummus
    • Cook from one of our menu ideas for this week!

    Practice knife skills to put more veggies and fruit on your New American Plate!
    NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. This week watch videos to master basic knife skills.

    Dig Deeper

    Get the whole family involved in eating more colorful vegetables and fruits! Find out how many servings are recommended for you and your kids from AICR’s Health Talk on vegetables. And check out this fun color food tracker for the children in your life.

  • Want more colorful whole grains? Check out  Filling your plate with brown, black, red and wild rice.
  • Learn more about the research and how to use POWERHOUSE Fruits and Vegetables at AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer starting with our latest one: Carrots.


    Eating different colors of fruits and veggies helps you get a variety of nutrients and cancer-protective substances. Here’s a great article all about Creating Colorful Veggies for Good Health, Lower Risk.


    Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 1. Reject the Diet Mentality