Go, Slow, and Whoa! A Quick Guide to Healthy Eating
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.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: May 2014
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