Should I use butter? Eat only lean meat? Add olive oil to veggies? There is so much information about making healthy food choices that it can be overwhelming.
LiveWell Northwest Colorado
This weekly column about health issues publishes on Mondays in the Steamboat Today. Read more columns here.
During the past year, LiveWell Northwest Colorado has been working with the elementary-aged children in Routt County to teach them very basic information about healthy food choices, using “Go, Slow, Whoa: Use the light to eat right."
Go, Slow, Whoa is a simplified way of helping parents and children identify foods to eat every day, and it aligns with the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the new school meal requirements. Each month, elementary students tasted a "Go" food and compared the amount of sugar and/or fat to a "Slow" or "Whoa" in the same category.
Go foods are good to eat almost anytime. They are nutrient dense, higher in fiber and low in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. Examples include fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts and whole grains.
Slow foods should be eaten sometimes or, at most, several times per week. These are foods generally higher calorie and higher in fat and sugars. Kids are encouraged to eat these foods less frequently so that they can leave room for healthier "Go" foods. Pancakes, bagels, dark meat chicken and turkey sausage are examples of "Slow" foods.
"Whoa" foods should only be eaten once in awhile. They typically are high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol and, in some cases, high in sugar. Examples include most fried foods, fatty meats, soda and many snack foods.
Three other organizations in Routt County are using the red, green and yellow coding system to help educate their customers about healthier food choices.
• For the past year, the Soroco School District has been labeling all menu items as Go, Slow or Whoa so students and parents can learn together.
• Look for color labels in Yampa Valley Medical Center’s cafeteria to help guide your food choices. Melanie Stewart, director of nutrition, is striving to offer mostly green and yellow foods for purchase.
• Visit any of the three LIFT-UP of Routt County sites and check out the labels on the food shelves. When you donate to LIFT-UP, please give nutritiously by providing green and yellow food items.
For more specific details about how foods are categorized and for more examples of foods in each category, go to the LiveWellNWCO Facebook page.
Take a lesson from our Routt County students — ask them to list some Go foods and why we should eat them!
Barb Parnell is the community coordinator for LiveWell Northwest Colorado and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.