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The CATCH® GO–SLOW–WHOA list is a tool to guide children and families toward making healthful food choices. The overall message is that all foods can fit into a healthful diet, which consists of more GO foods than SLOW foods, and more SLOW foods than WHOA foods.



GO foods are commonly described as “whole foods,” meaning that they’re generally the least processed compared to foods in the same food group/section. These foods are also lowest in salt (sodium) and/or added sugars. In addition, GO foods are lowest in unhealthy fats—that is, solid fats such as butter or lard, as opposed to healthy fats, which are vegetable oils.

Examples include fruits and vegetables, whole-grain foods, and plain (unsweetened) 1% milk.


SLOW foods are in between GO foods and WHOA foods. SLOW foods are more nutritious than WHOA foods but shouldn’t be eaten as frequently as GO foods.

Examples include plain 2% milk, refined-grain foods, and fruit with added sugars.



WHOA foods are generally the most processed and are highest in unhealthy solid fats, added sugars, and/or salt. The amount of WHOA foods consumed (either quantity or number of times consumed) should be limited.

Examples include candy, cookies, chips, fried foods, ice cream, soft drinks, and sugary cereals.


GO-SLOW-WHOA is a system to categorize foods according to nutritional value. A healthy diet = GO foods > SLOW Foods > WHOA foods. The CATCH® GO-SLOW-WHOA list is regularly updated by the UTHealth School of Public Health based on the latest nutrition science research. The resources below reflect the most recent updates.