Go, Slow, and Whoa! A Quick Guide to Healthy Eating
Looking for an easy way to eat healthier? The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health) suggests we think about foods in terms of Go, Slow, or Whoa.
Think of the healthiest foods as "go" foods. These are foods like steamed or raw veggies and skim or low-fat milk that are good to eat almost anytime.
Foods that are OK to eat sometimes are "slow" foods. Foods like hamburgers or pancakes aren't off limits — but they shouldn't be eaten every day. At most, you'll want to eat these foods just a couple of times a week.
Some foods should make you stop, think, and say, "Whoa! Should I eat that?" These foods are the least healthy and the most likely to cause weight problems, especially if a person eats them all the time."Whoa!" foods are once-in-a-while foods, like French fries or ice cream.
Here's a chart of Go, Slow, and Whoa foods. You can print this as your guide to learning what you can eat when:
|(Almost Anytime)||(Sometimes)||(Once in a While)|
|Vegetables||Almost all fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables without added fat (such as butter) or sauces||All vegetables in added fat and sauces||Any vegetable fried in oil, such as French fries or hash browns|
|Fruits||All fresh and frozen fruits||100% fruit juice||Fruits canned in heavy syrup|
|Canned fruits packed in juice||Fruits canned in light syrup|
|Breads and Cereals||Whole-grain breads, pitas, and tortillas||White bread and pasta that's not whole grain||Doughnuts, muffins, croissants, and sweet rolls|
|Whole-grain pasta, brown rice||Taco shells||Sweetened breakfast cereals|
|Hot and cold unsweetened whole-grain breakfast cereals||French toast, waffles, and pancakes||Crackers that have hydrogenated oils (trans fats)|
|Milk and Milk Products||Skim and 1% milk||2% milk||Whole milk|
|Fat-free and low-fat yogurt||Processed cheese spreads||Full-fat cheese|
|Part-skim, reduced-fat, and fat-free cheese||Cream cheese|
|Low-fat and fat-free cottage cheese||Yogurt made from whole milk|
|Meats and Other Sources of Protein||Beef and pork that has been trimmed of its fat||Lean ground beef||Beef and pork that hasn't been trimmed of its fat|
|Extra-lean ground beef||Broiled hamburgers||Fried hamburgers|
|Chicken and turkey without skin||Chicken and turkey with the skin||Fried chicken|
|Tuna canned in water||Tuna canned in oil||Bacon|
|Fish and shellfish that's been baked, broiled, steamed, or grilled||Ham||Fried fish and shellfish|
|Beans, split peas, and lentils||Low-fat hot dogs||Chicken nuggets|
|Tofu||Canadian bacon||Hot dogs|
|Egg whites and substitutes||Peanut butter||Lunch meats|
|Whole eggs cooked without added fat||Ribs|
|Whole eggs cooked with added fat|
|Sweets and Snacks*||Ice milk bars||Cookies, cakes, and pies|
|Frozen fruit-juice bars||Cheesecake|
|Low-fat frozen yogurt||Ice cream|
|Low-fat ice cream||Chocolate candy|
|Ginger snaps||Buttered microwave popcorn|
|Low-fat microwave popcorn|
|Butter, Ketchup, and Other Sauces and Condiments||Ketchup||Vegetable oil**||Butter|
|Mustard||Olive oil**||Stick margarine|
|Fat-free creamy salad dressing||Oil-based salad dressing**||Lard|
|Fat-free mayonnaise||Low-fat creamy salad dressing||Salt pork|
|Fat-free sour cream||Low-fat mayonnaise||Gravy|
|Vinegar||Low-fat sour cream||Regular creamy salad dressing|
|Cream cheese dips|
|Drinks||Water||2% milk||Whole milk|
|Fat-free and 1% milk||100% fruit juice||Regular soda|
|Diet soda||Sports drinks||Sweetened iced teas and lemonade|
|Diet and unsweetened iced teas and lemonade||Fruit drinks with less than 100% fruit juice|
|Source: U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health|
*Though some of the foods in this row are lower in fat and calories, all sweets
and snacks need to be limited in order to not exceed daily calorie requirements.
**Vegetable and olive oils contain no saturated or trans fats and can be eaten daily, but in limited portions to meet daily calorie needs.