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.