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Go Slow Whoa Nutrition

APS schools are excited to launch Go, Slow, Whoa (GSW), a program designed to help students and parents make healthier food choices. LiveWell Colorado, a nonprofit committed to reducing obesity by promoting healthy eating and active living, is funding the project and Channel 7 is a promotional partner.

Students are taught how to make healthier food choices by identifying foods as belonging to one of three categories: Go foods, Slow foods and Whoa foods. Go Slow Whoa is a simplified way of helping children identify foods to eat everyday.

Defining Go Slow and Whoa Foods

    • Go foods are good to eat anytime. They are nutrient dense, higher in fiber, low in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. Examples include fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts and whole grains.

    • Slow foods should be eaten sometimes, at most several times a week. These are foods generally higher calorie, higher in fat and added 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 a while or as special treats. They are typically high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol and, in some cases, high in sugar. Examples include most fried foods, fatty meats, soda and snack foods.

GSW School Menu Items Identified

School menu items are identified as Go, Slow or Whoa. Cafeteria and classroom signage reinforces and helps students identify healthy choices. Registered dietitian, Susan DiMaggio, assistant director of APS Nutrition Services categorized the Go, Slow and Whoa foods on the school menus and posts lists of Go Slow Whoa foods on the school and district web site under Go Slow Whoa link.

GSW standards for individual menu items were developed using information from the USDA nutrient database for foods, school product Nutrition Facts Labels and nutrient analysis of individual district recipes. District established nutrient criteria for the percent of fat and saturated fat, added sugar and fiber determined whether the menu item was a Go Slow or Whoa food. Criteria were determined based upon meeting the USDA school meal pattern weekly nutrient requirements. The green apple symbol identifies “GO” foods on the school menu.

Mona Martinez-Brosh, R.D., and Director of APS Nutrition Services says in addition to implementing the GSW program, APS will be incorporating more foods from scratch cooking into the school menus.

Student and Parent Nutrition Education

Some of the elementary schools will collaborate with the USDA classroom nutrition education program to reinforce the concept of the Go, Slow, Whoa program in the nutrition lessons. The USDA nutrition education program provides hands on food preparation and tasting as part of the classroom lessons. In addition, it offers a parent newsletter on nutrition, recipes, and nutrition themed books for second grade students. These books are sent home weekly with second grade students.

Nutrition education programs such as Go, Slow, Whoa have proven to spur positive behavior change in kids. In fact, a recent study showed that after three years, children who received behavioral and nutrition education ate more Go foods and fewer Whoa foods than those who did not. They also consumed slightly fewer snack and dessert foods and chose more Go versions of desserts.

We are thrilled to be part of a program that has the potential to have a positive impact on the health of our students,” said Tony Van Gytenbeek, Deputy Superintendent. “We hope that APS parents will help our students bring this program home and incorporate more Go foods into family meals as well.”

APS is taking a coordinated approach to implementation of the GSW program. Many of the Go Slow Whoa schools’ physical education teachers as well as the school kitchen manager play a key role in the implementation of the Go Slow Whoa program.

Web Sites with Additional Information

APS Nutrition Services website provides detailed information about the Go, Slow, Whoa school meal criteria.

For more information about the Go, Slow, Whoa program, please visit

Eat Smart. Play Hard.™ Eat Smart. Play Hard.™ is about making America's children healthier. It's about practical suggestions that will help you motivate children to eat healthy and be active.

Parents are the Power!

    • Encourage your children to eat at least two “GO” foods at lunch.

    • Offer “GO” foods at home with meals and snacks.

    • Have children help shop for “GO” foods.