Go, Slow, and Whoa! A Kid’s Guide to Eating Right

Lots of kids want to know which foods to eat to be healthy or lose weight. Most kids don’t need to be on diets, but here’s something kids can do to eat healthier: Learn the difference between GoSlow, and Whoa foods.

You probably know that foods fit in different categories. My Plate puts them into these categories:

  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • grains
  • protein (meat, beans, fish, and nuts)
  • milk and dairy products

But foods also can be classified in three groups: Go, Slow, and Whoa. The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health) suggests kids think about whether foods are Go foods, Slow foods, or Whoa foods.

Go Foods

These are foods that are good to eat almost anytime. They are the healthiest ones. Example: skim and low-fat milk.

Slow Foods

These are sometimes foods. They aren’t off-limits, but they shouldn’t be eaten every day. At most, eat them several times a week. Example: waffles and pancakes.

Whoa Foods

These foods should make you say exactly that — Whoa! Should I eat that? Whoa, foods are the least healthy and the most likely to cause weight problems, especially if a person eats them all the time. That’s why Whoa foods are once-in-a-while foods. Example: French fries.

Below you’ll find a chart of Go, Slow, and Whoa foods. You can print this article so you can refer to the chart and learn which foods are which.

As you use the chart, you might have questions about what some of the words mean. We’ve provided some definitions below the chart to explain things like “extra-lean,” “trans fats,” and “whole grains.” Be sure to show the chart to your mom and dad, too. Then everyone in the family can learn when to say Go and when to say Whoa!

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