Go, Slow, Stop! | Healthy Foods

  • By Kim Torres
    Down Syndrome Association Houston
    • Posted in

April 27, 2020


To be able to identify and chose healthy food options.



-Go/Green foods: Foods that you can eat every day (Most fruits and veggies, other foods that are low in sugar and fat. Portion is important to remember!)

-Slow/Yellow Foods: Foods that can be eaten sometimes but less than green foods (eggs, nuts, beans, granola bars, fruit cups, etc. These are foods that are important for a healthy diet but we should limit our intake to maybe once a day)

-Stop/Red foods:

Food that should be eaten in moderation maybe once or twice a week. These are foods like pizza, ice cream, processed foods, foods with added sugar, pasta, etc.

DISCUSS: What did you have for breakfast/lunch/dinner? Do you think those were Stop, Slow or Go foods? What is your favorite Stop/Slow/Go food?


WRITE: a grocery list. Think about if you are getting more Stop/Slow/Go foods.
>This is a good time to work with spelling and writing with your adult

MAKE: an online grocery order. Put what you would normally order from the grocery store in your cart and think about what foods are Stop/Slow/Go foods. Do you have more Stop foods than go foods? Do you have enough Go foods?
> This is a good way to help your adult learn about money matters. Set a budget. Have your adult stay within the budget and see if they can get all the grocery that they would need for a healthy week.


This should be a fun way to start talking and thinking about healthy foods.

If they guess a food wrong help them understand why it’s wrong. For example, if they guess that apple pie is a go food because it has fruit in it help them understand that it is a stop food because the fruit is in a sugary syrup, and the pie dough is bread. So this would be a food that we would want to eat very very little of.

Below you will see a chart with more foods for each category and a link to the official curriculum.

Source: Stoplight Food Guide - https://www.ecu.edu/cs-dhs/pedsweightcenter/CustomCF/protocol/25_StoplightGuide_09.pdf

Food Category (Daily serving)

Fruits = 3-4 servings; 1 serving = ½ cup of 100% juice, 1 piece of fresh fruist, ¼ cup of dried fruit, ½ canned

Anytime- “Go!”-Green

-Fresh, Frozen (no sugar added)

Sometimes- “Slowdown” - Yellow (1 serving per day)

-Fruit cups,
-100% fruit popsicles
-100% fruit smoothies
- sweetened applesauce
-dried fruit

Rarely- “Stop”-Red (1-2 times per week)

-Canned fruit in heavy syrup
-Coconut (high saturated fat)
-Fruit cobbler

Vegetables = 3-5 serving; 1 serving = 1 cup raw leafy, ½ cup chopped/raw/cooked

Anytime- “Go!”- Green

-Fresh, Frozen, canned, no added fat or sugar

Sometimes- “Slowdown”- Yellow (1 serving per day)

-Coleslaw with low fat mayo
-Oven-baked fries
-Pre-mixed salads with low fat dressing
-Broccoli/squash with low fat cheese

Rarely- “Stop!”- Red (1-2 times per week)

-Vegetables with added butter or other fats
-Fried vegetables (french fries, onion rings, hash browns)
-Creamed vegetables

Grains = 5-7 oz; 1 oz = 1 slice of bread, ½ cup cereal/rice/pasta


-Low sugar cereal
-Whole wheat bread
-Plain pasta

Sometimes- “Slowdown” -Yellow (1 serving per day)

-Low fat Cereal bar
-Low fat Granola
-Low fat Muffins
-Low fat Crackers
-Low fat mac ‘n cheese

Rarely- “Stop!”-Red (1-2 times per week)

-Hush puppies
-Regular muffins
-Regular granola

Protein/Meats = 2-3 servings; 1 serving = 2.5-3 oz of cooked meat

Anytime- “Go!”-Green

All meats should be baked/broiled/boiled/steamed/roasted/

-Dried beans
-Fat-free hot dogs
-Lean beef
-Lean pork
-Skinless chicken
-Veggie burgers
-Venison (deer)
-Egg Whites

Sometimes- “Slowdown”-Yellow (1 serving per day)

-Tuna or chicken salad with low fat mayo
Chicken with skin
-Peanut butter
-Baked beans
-Turkey bacon

Rarely- “Stop!” -Red (1-2 servings per week)

-Regular tuna or chicken salad
-Fried chicken
-Fried fish
-Hot dogs
-BBQ pork

Dairy = 2-4 servings (1 serving = a cup milk or yogurt)

Anytime- “Go”-Green

-Fat-free or artificially sweetened
-Soy milk
-Skim milk
-Fat-free yogurt
-Low fat cheese
-Low fat cottage cheese

Sometimes- “Slowdown” -Yellow (1 serving per day)

-1% chocolate milk
-2% milk
-Low fat frozen yogurt
-Low fat ice cream
-Reduced fat cheese
-Low fat pudding

Rarely-“Stop!”-Red (1-2 servings per week)

-Whole milk
-Ice cream
-Cheese spreads
-Regular cheese

Other Foods: not needed for healthy diet

Anytime- “Go!”- Green

-Fat-free: mayo, salad dressing, sour cream, cream cheese, whipped topping
-BBQ sauce
-Cooking spray
-Lemon juice

Sometimes- “Slowdown!”-Yellow (1 serving per day)

-Low fat: mayo, salad dressing, sour cream, cream cheese, and whipped topping
-Bacon bits
-Low fat gravy


-Meat grease
-Cream cheese
-Sour cream
-Salad dressing
-Whipped cream

Drinks and Snacks: eaten with or between meals

Anytime- “Go!”-Greem

-Sugar free: Jello, kool-aid, diet soda, plain tea with artificial sweetener
-Rice cakes
-Dill pickles
-Fat-free dips
-Flavored water
-Sugar free gum

Sometimes-“Slowdown!”-Yellow (1 serving per day)

-Low fat microwave popcorn
-Angel food cake
-Hard candy
-Fruit roll-ups
-Baked chips
-Low fat desserts
-Fruit snacks
-Ginger snaps
-Fig Newtons
-Vanilla wafers

Rarely-“Stop!”-Red (1-2 servings per week)

-Regular soda
-Corn chips
-Candy bars
-Honey buns
-Tortilla chips
-Potato chips
-Sweet tea

ACTIVITY- play a red light green light variant where each participant start gets to “run” when a GREEN food is called but they must “hop” when a YELLOW food is called, and they must “stop” when a RED food is called. The objective is to see who get there furthest in the face from point A to point B.