I’m always writing about the idea that it doesn’t matter what your kids eat.  What matters is how often your kids eat it.  Whatever it is.

And now, the National Institute of Health is stealing my idea!  Look at my chart…

And now look at theirs…

Those government-guys didn’t just steal my idea, they improved it.

Fancy graphics.  Cool names.  Who do they think they are?  GO, SLOW and WHOA?

OK. I’ll get my ego in check. I’ve got to admit, this is pretty good stuff.

You can download this chart, here, but I’ve got to warn you: if you’re the kind of parent who relies on Child-Friendly Foods, who loves to dole out things such as macaronijuice and Goldfish crackers, get ready to be depressed.  These are all Slow Foods, meant to be eaten only sometimes.  They shouldn’t be thought of as daily delights.

GO, SLOW, and WHOA – Putting Proportion into Action

Proportion—eating foods in relation to their healthy benefits—is one of the three primary principles of eating right. (The other two are variety and moderation.)  Read It Doesn’t Matter WHAT Your Kids Eat!

  • From a nutrition perspective, kids need to learn proportion because it keeps them eating healthier foods.
  • From a habits perspective, kids need to learn proportion because it shapes their taste preferences.  Fresh fruit, for instance, trains kids to like fruits and vegetables; fruit leather teaches them to like candy.

Want to know which foods qualify as a GO, a SLOW or a WHOA?

You can either study the We Can! chart or, you can use my rule of thumb:

  • Everything you know for sure, without a doubt is healthy (like fruits and vegetables) is a GO Food.
  • Everything you know for sure, without a doubt is junky (ice cream, cookies, french fries) is a WHOA Food.
  • Everything else — baked chips, 100% fruit juice, French toast–is a SLOW food.

Or you can do it this way: anything that’s fresh and natural is a GO food, and everything else is a WHOA food. That’s right, you can skip the SLOW food category altogether.  Not because SLOW foods aren’t marginally better for you than WHOA foods, but because when it comes to shaping your kids’ habits, they should learn to eat either a SLOW or a WHOA food—but not both.

Let’s face it, nobody needs to eat:

  • Pancakes (a SLOW food) and a muffin (a WHOA food).
  • Popcorn (a SLOW food) and potato chips (a WHOA food).

But everyone needs each of these foods some of the time.

Proportion is the key to letting your kids eat everything they want

…in the way that works. Think of teaching proportion as teaching your kids how to have their cake, and eat it too!

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~