MyPlate Challenge – Top ways to add whole grains to your diet


Employee Health and Wellness launched a six-week nutrition program called MyPlate Challenge for all Texas Children’s badge holders last Monday with an impressive 733 participants. This week, the challenge focuses on how to incorporate whole grains into one’s diet. The participants have been challenged to consume at least three servings of whole grains per day for at least four days this week.

Not sure what constitutes a grain much less a whole grain? Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples of grain products.

All food products made from grains, however, they’re not all created equal. Grains are divided into two subgroups, Whole Grains and Refined Grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel – the bran, germ and endosperm. Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and extend their shelf life, but it also removes many of the necessary nutrients our bodies need like dietary fiber, iron, and most B vitamins.

Here are five tips to help you eat whole grains:

  1. 1. Upgrade your white bread and pasta to whole grain bread and pasta
  2. 2. Choose brown rice over white rice
  3. 3. Reach for popcorn as a snack, but go light on the butter and added salt
  4. 4. Try ancient grains like quinoa especially if you or someone in your family is on a gluten-free diet
  5. 5. Begin your day with oatmeal. Skip the added sugar by opting for basic oatmeal. You can add plenty of flavor through topping your bowl with honey, nuts, and fresh fruit

Hungry for more? Click here to learn more about the challenge and other wellness offerings at Texas Children’s. (This link will only open internally)