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For the Warfighter

Perform Like a Champion!

Go for Green® is a food identification system designed to help you find foods to improve your performance. The color codes—Green (Go), Yellow (Caution), and Red (Stop)—can help you choose the foods that fuel your body and brain best.

High-Performance Foods
    Go: Eat often (every day or at every meal)
    Moderate-Performance Foods
      Caution: Eat occasionally (select carefully and eat in moderation)
      Performance-Limiting Foods

        Stop/Limit: Eat rarely (once in a while)

        How can “Going for the Green” help you perform?

        • Enhance Cognition
        • Delay Muscle Fatigue
        • Accelerate Recovery
        • Enhance Nutrient Uptake
        • Improve overall warfighter readiness
        • Sustain health and prevent disease
        • Boost resilience

        Nutritional Fitness means having the appropriate quality, quantity and timing of safe fuels to sustain and optimize physical and cognitive performance before, during and after missions.

        What You Need to Know

        Why G4G

        Poor nutrition can impair performance at work, in the gym, in the field, and in the classroom. It can also lead to being overweight and to chronic health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes that negatively impact our Force Readiness. Warfighters must perform and excel at a professional level, just like any world-class athlete. Performance is a word heard frequently throughout a military career. Military members are rated on performance in training, on the job, and on regular physical fitness tests. Fueling for success optimizes training and performance in combat or garrison.

        The Program

        Do you know about Go for Green® in your local dining facility? Go for Green® is designed to help you easily identify the nutritional value of food choices. If you pay attention to Go for Green® labeling, you will be more aware of healthy and high-performance food options, and you will increase your knowledge of overall good nutrition.

        At your DFAC, look for these labels to identify Green, Yellow, and Red foods. You can also use the G4G Guide at home or in restaurants to help make educated choices about what to eat.

        Menu Label Green [JPG]Menu Label Yellow [JPG]Menu Label Red [JPG]
        Menu Bus Card Green [JPG] Menu Bus Card Yellow [JPG] Menu Bus Card Red [JPG]

        The G4G Guide

        G4G Guide [JPG]The Go for Green® Guide is available for you to view online, print off a copy, or pick up at your DFAC. The G4G Guide and the G4G Summary Criteria (guidelines used for labeling foods Green, Yellow, and Red) are also available as downloadable PDFs (see links below).

        Downloadable version of the Go for Green® Guide [PDF]



        Tips to build a healthy plate Eat Often
        (Almost anytime)
        Eat Occasionally
        (Select portions carefully)
        Eat Rarely
        (Once in a while)


        Eat 3–4 cups non-starchy vegetables a day.

        Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn are in the Grains/Starches group.

          Fresh or frozen vegetables

          Canned vegetables rinsed to remove salt (green beans, beets)

          No-added-salt canned vegetables (tomato)

          Leafy green salads with dark greens (spinach, spring mix) and vegetable toppings

            Fresh or frozen vegetables with light sauces

            Canned vegetables

              Fried or tempura vegetables

              Vegetables with high-fat sauces (Alfredo)

              Creamed vegetables


              Eat 2–2.5 cups of fruit a day.

              Eat your fruit, don’t drink it.

                Fresh fruit

                Frozen fruits (all types) with no added sugar/syrup

                Fruit canned in water or fruit juice

                Dried fruit (unsulfured with no added sugar)

                  Frozen fruit with added sugar/syrups

                  Canned fruit in light syrup

                  Dried fruit (sulfured)

                  100% fruit juice

                  Some fruit desserts

                    Dried fruit with coatings (yogurt, chocolate, others)

                    Dried fruit with added sugar (Craisins)

                    Canned fruit in heavy syrup

                    Some fruit desserts


                      Choose 100% whole grain for at least half of all grain servings.

                        Brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, barley


                        Baked potato/sweet potato with skin

                        Baked sweet-potato “fries”

                        Whole-grain pasta

                        Cereal with less than 10g sugar and at least 3g fiber

                        Whole-grain breads, bagels, rolls, English muffins with 3g or more fiber

                          White rice, couscous, pasta

                          Cereals with more than 10g sugar

                          Sweetened oatmeal/oatmeal packets

                          Grits, polenta

                          Baked French fries

                          Mashed potatoes (no butter or cream)

                          White breads, bagels, rolls, cornbread

                            Biscuits, croissants, full-fat muffins

                            Doughnuts, Danishes, pastries, sweetened breads

                            Processed cereals with sugar

                            Fried rice

                            Pasta with cream sauce

                            French fries (fried in oil)

                            Mashed potatoes (butter and/or whole milk/cream), potato casseroles

                            Grits with added fat


                              Vary your protein choices. Include seafood/fish twice a week.

                              Include beans for protein and fiber.

                                Egg whites/egg substitutes

                                Fish and shellfish (baked, broiled, grilled)

                                Most fish canned in water (except tuna)

                                Chicken/turkey (without skin)

                                Ground poultry (90% lean)


                                Tofu or edamame

                                Vegetable or bean burgers/patties (black-bean burgers)

                                  Whole eggs

                                  Tuna canned in water

                                  Chicken/turkey with skin

                                  Pork, ham, Canadian bacon

                                  Deli meats

                                  Chicken/turkey sausage

                                  Beans/lentils with added sugar, fat, ham, bacon

                                  Soy patties, links, burgers

                                    Fried meat/ poultry/fish/seafood

                                    Fried eggs prepared with fat/oil

                                    Ground beef, fatty (marbled) cuts of red meat, beef ribs, and corned beef

                                    Pork sausage or bacon

                                    Hot dogs, kielbasa, bratwurst

                                    High-fat deli meats (salami, bologna)

                                    Refried (with lard) beans


                                      Choose healthy fats and oils.

                                        Oils – olive, canola, safflower, sunflower, sesame, grapeseed

                                        Salad dressings made with these oils

                                        Nuts and seeds, unsalted

                                        Natural nut butters (peanut butter, almond, hazelnut, soynut)

                                          Oils – vegetable, soy, corn, peanut

                                          Salad dressings made with these oils

                                          Mayonnaise made with these oils

                                          Gravy (made with water or low-fat milk)

                                          Margarine spreads with no trans fats

                                          Peanut butter with added oils/fats

                                            Oils – coconut, palm, palm kernel

                                            Shortening and lard

                                            Gravy (made with fat drippings)

                                            Most margarines

                                            Full-fat creamy salad dressings

                                            Cream (half-and-half, whipped, others)

                                            Non-dairy creamer (liquid or powdered)


                                              Choose water instead of sugary beverages.

                                                Water (plain or carbonated)

                                                Flavored seltzers/waters with no artificial sweetener

                                                Decaf tea and decaf coffee, plain Herbal tea

                                                Low-sodium,100% vegetable juice

                                                Non-fat/skim/1% milk

                                                  Sports drinks

                                                  100% fruit juice

                                                  2% (low-fat) milk

                                                  Tea and coffee, plain or no more than 2 tsp sugar and 1 tbsp cream

                                                  Artificially sweetened beverages of any kind (diet sodas, diet teas, many flavored waters)

                                                    Coffee and tea with more than 2 tbsp cream and/or 4 tsp sugar

                                                    Sweetened beverages of any kind (sodas, sweet teas, fruit punches)

                                                    Whole milk


                                                      Compare sugar contents of yogurt.

                                                        Milk (non-fat, skim, 1%)

                                                        Milk alternatives (soy, almond, rice with calcium and vitamin D added)

                                                        Yogurt (non-fat, skim, 1%)

                                                        Low-fat cottage cheese

                                                          Flavored milk (chocolate, strawberry, or other flavors)

                                                          Milk (2% fat)

                                                          Yogurt (2% fat)

                                                          Cheese (reduced-fat, low-fat)

                                                            Whole milk, cream, half-and-half

                                                            Plain yogurt (about 3% fat)

                                                            Cottage cheese (about 3% fat)

                                                            Most cheeses

                                                            Cream cheese, sour cream


                                                              Choose fruit for dessert.

                                                              Choose nuts, dairy, fruit, vegetables, and whole foods for snacks.


                                                                Yogurt-and-fresh-fruit parfait

                                                                Frozen 100% fruit-juice bars

                                                                Milk (non-fat, skim, 1%)

                                                                Other foods from the Green list

                                                                  Fruit desserts (made with minimal added fats and sugar)

                                                                  Low-fat puddings

                                                                  Frozen yogurt and ice milk

                                                                  Popcorn, pretzels, baked chips

                                                                    High-sugar frozen ice pops

                                                                    Fruit pies, cobblers

                                                                    Cakes, cookies, most pastries

                                                                    Ice cream, gelato


                                                                    Fried chips, buttered popcorn

                                                                      Most snack foods provide few nutrients for our bodies. Choose whole foods instead.

                                                                      Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lean protein, and dairy make perfect mini-meals to maintain energy levels and fuel for performance across the day.

                                                                      Personalizing G4G

                                                                      The Go for Green® Guide can tell you which foods are best for you (Green foods to optimize performance), but it doesn’t tell you how much food to eat from each group. Many factors determine how much you need to perform at your best.

                                                                      • How active is your job? Do you load heavy equipment or sit at a desk?
                                                                      • Do you PT or work out in addition to your job? How many hours a week? Do you work out at a high intensity?
                                                                      • How tall are you?
                                                                      • How old are you?
                                                                      • Are you male or female?
                                                                      • Are you at your “fighting weight” or are you overweight?
                                                                      • Do you have health issues such as high blood sugar, diabetes, or high cholesterol?
                                                                      • Do you have a “fast” metabolism? Or a “normal” one? Or is it “slow”?

                                                                      The Guide is based on consuming 2500 calories a day, including three meals and two snacks. If you’re very active you may need more than this. On the other hand, if you’re overweight and at a desk job, you may need less.

                                                                      No two service members are exactly alike, but check out common scenarios under the FAQs section to learn how the Go for Green® Guide might help you reach your personal performance and health goals.

                                                                      G4G at Home

                                                                      You can use the Go for Green® Guide when you cook at home, along with healthy recipes available from a variety of sources.

                                                                      Disclaimer: These links are not endorsed by DoD, and not all of these recipes will fit Go for Green® criteria. Use the Guide to choose recipes that appear to fall into the “Green” most often.

                                                                      Healthy Recipes Online

                                                                      G4G & MyPlate

                                                                      How Go for Green® Translates to MyPlate

                                                                      The MyPlate program (from the U.S. Department of Agriculture) shows you what a healthy plate of food looks like. Go for Green® helps you identify choices within each of the MyPlate food groups to build a balanced, colorful plate through a variety of foods.

                                                                      MyPlate_Yellow [JPG]When you choose foods for your lunch or dinner at the dining facility, keep in mind the picture of the plate.

                                                                      • ½ plate vegetables and fruit
                                                                      • ¼ plate grains and starchy vegetables
                                                                      • ¼ plate proteins
                                                                      • Low-fat (skim or 1%) milk and yogurt

                                                                      See the G4G Guide to choose mostly Green selections within each food group to go on your plate to enhance performance. Depending on your calorie needs and health, one or two Yellow foods at each meal may still be part of a performance-boosting plate. For most, Red foods should be limited to once a day or a few times a week.

                                                                      The most-active service members need more than one “plate” at each meal.

                                                                      For more information about the MyPlate program, visit the website.

                                                                      Support G4G

                                                                      How you can support Go for Green®

                                                                      Proper fueling is crucial to your performance. Demonstrate this by choosing a wide variety of colorful, nutritious, lean foods that keep your body primed for any demand you place on it. By making proper food choices each day, you set an important example for your peers as well as your superiors.

                                                                      You also know the importance of teamwork, with each member playing an important role in overall mission accomplishment. Together, a well-fueled team can accomplish almost ANYTHING!!

                                                                      Peer to Peer

                                                                      • Support your team members by choosing "Green" foods when eating at the dining facility and other foodservice places.
                                                                      • Use social media and talk with your friends and family about using G4G.
                                                                      • Look for the "Green" foods at the dining facility and talk them up.

                                                                      Advocating for G4G (through Chain of Command)

                                                                      • Talk with your unit leaders about Go for Green® in the dining facility and other foodservice facilities on your installation.
                                                                      • Talk with your dining facility director about Go for Green® in the dining facility and how to choose more of the "Green" foods.


                                                                          Why are brand names of products not included on the Go for Green® label?

                                                                          To ensure that food companies are not misrepresented, the Go for Green® labels do not include brand names. Only the name of the recipe or menu item should be provided. With the variety of brands in the procurement system and the number of food items prepared by the dining facility staff and/or vendor-prepared products, it would be challenging to label each item by brand. In addition, a vendor may substitute one brand for another when an item is out of stock, and putting the brand name on the label could misrepresent the company.

                                                                          Why is the Registered symbol used after Go for Green®?

                                                                          Go for Green® is a registered trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This means that the registered trademark symbol—®—should always be used on all visual promotional and marketing materials that include the phrase “Go for Green.” The registration mark gives public notice of the mark's status and of the intent of its use as it relates to the color-coded labeling of foods based on nutrition criteria. This helps to both protect the integrity of the program and prevent misuse of the term.

                                                                          Scenarios – Your G4G

                                                                          Coming soon – please check back.