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Go for Green® Operations—Getting Started

Go for Green® (G4G) is a Department of Defense (DoD) nutrition program that promotes nutritious food and beverage to optimize the performance, readiness, and health of our service members. Foodservice professionals and dining facility staff are the G4G champions—the link between fuel (food) and service members. 

Program Requirements

Interested in starting Go for Green® at your dining facility or galley? Start by reviewing the following resources to learn about making your facility G4G-ready.

Here’s what’s different about the rebranded Go for Green®:

  • Food labeling consists of two-part coding: Green, Yellow, or Red for nutritional quality and Low, Moderate, or High for sodium content. The new coding focuses on highlighting nutritious foods (not low-calorie options).
  • Food placement (choice architecture) practices aim to increase visibility of and accessibility to Green-coded foods and beverages.
  • Changes to items served in dining facilities intend to increase the availability and variety of Green-coded options. Armed Forces Recipe Service (AFRS) is focusing on taste and appeal as it develops new Green-coded recipes and revamps existing ones.
  • The display of featured meals and sample plates promotes Green-coded items.
  • Strategic marketing campaign designed by the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) can inform service members about G4G and help them make better food and beverage choices.

Once your facility meets the G4G Program Requirements, you can use the new logo and printed materials.

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Go for Green®: Fueling to Enhance Performance, Readiness, and Health [PDF]

Go for Green®: Fueling to Enhance Performance, Readiness, and Health is a comprehensive slide deck that covers G4G background and rebranded components, the implementation timeline and step-by-step implementation of G4G, G4G Certifications, and the way forward. 

G4G Program Requirements [PDF]. Coming soon.

Brief review of the program requirements for dining facilities to be able to use new G4G material.

Thumbnail of 060116 G4G Leadership Brief PPT

Leadership Brief [PPT]

This Leadership Brief addresses the 5 W’s. It can be customized to orient leaders requesting G4G at your installation or garner support for G4G efforts already underway.  

Use this customizable PowerPoint slide deck to begin the conversation about how nutrition improves readiness and performance. Review how the rebranded G4G program is different from earlier versions and how it responds to service members’ requests for healthier foods and beverages. Inform leaders what’s involved in implementing the “new” G4G in your dining facility or at the installation.

Metrics and evaluation tools

Coming soon. 

Need more help or information? Ask the Go for Green® team.

Printed Food Cards

Food Cards and Beverage Cards are one of the most visual components of Go for Green®. Once your recipes, food, and beverage items have been assigned a color code and sodium code, you are ready to create Food Cards. Producing Food Cards properly is a critically important step in the Go for Green® program and requires attention to detail.

Food Card/Beverage Card Basics
Start here! Learn the basics about Food Cards and Beverage Cards.

Ordering Food Cards
Follow these step-by-step instructions on ordering Food Cards to display at your dining facility.

Assembling Food Cards
Read these tips on assembling Food Cards and properly labeling all foods and drinks.

Food Card Holders
Keeping Food Cards neat and clean can be tricky. Learn more about which Food Card holders are suitable for all surfaces.

Presentation of Food Cards and Beverage Cards
Find out how to effectively present Food Cards and Beverage Cards.

Labeling Food
Learn more about labeling and Food Cards in Getting Started with G4G: Chapter 5.

Electronic Food Cards

Coming soon.

Food Placement

You know what you serve at your dining facility is important to fuel service members, but where you place the food is just as important. Many of the food-placement strategies suggested below are easy to use and inexpensive.

There are 2 G4G food-placement strategies:

(1) Place healthier Green-coded foods and drinks in prominent, easy to see, easy to reach places. Diners are more likely to choose foods and beverages placed at the beginning of a serving line, at eye level, and near the point of payment.  

(2) Place the least healthy Red-coded foods and drinks in harder to find, out of the way places.

Try these best practices in your facility to make the healthy choice, the easy choice:

  • Place Green-coded items first on the hotline, grill, and sandwich lines.
  • Place Green-coded, pre-made sandwiches and salads at eye level.
  • Feature a Green-coded sample meal, sandwich, or salad at the start of each serving line.
  • Increase the number of healthy toppings at the salad bar, deli, and grill.
    Thumbnail for G4G Featured Meals and Sample Plates
  • Include vegetables and other Green-coded sides on the hotline and grill.
  • Display water and unsweetened tea prominently at the beverage station.
  • Place Red-coded dressings and condiments in less-visible places beside smaller containers and utensils.
  • Store Red-coded items in coolers and on shelves below eye level.


See G4G Featured Meals and Sample Plates for tips on assembling featured meals and sample plates.



Coding Foods

Coding of foods means assigning that food a nutrition quality code (- Green, Yellow, or Red) and sodium content code (- Low, Moderate, or High). Coding menus should only be completed by a trained nutrition professional such as a Registered Dietitian (RD).

Service-specific Lead Coders

Contact the following service-specific lead coders to determine how to proceed with coding your dining facility menu items as Green, Yellow or Red and Low, Moderate or High Sodium. Please cc: so that the G4G Program leads can maintain situational awareness.

Detailed Guide for Food and Recipe Coding [PDF]: Describes the process involved in assigning nutritional quality codes (Green, Yellow, or Red) and sodium (salt) codes (Low, Moderate, or High). New version with major revisions coming soon.

Menu Revisions

Part of the Go for Green® program involves revising menus to increase the number of Green-coded foods and beverages available at your dining facility or galley. The following resources are helpful for revising, updating, and revamping your current menu.

G4G Coding Goals Table new [JPG] G4G Menu Coding Goals [PDF]

Recipe Database

Interested in adding recipes to your menu cycle? Use the following recipe database to make your menu more “Green.” 
G4G Thumbnail AFRS 1999 Recipes Go for Green Coded8Mar16

AFRS 1999 Recipes with G4G Codes [Excel]

These are the 1999 series Armed Forces Recipe Service (AFRS) recipes. These recipes have not been updated. Check back often for new and newly updated recipes.
G4G Thumbnail Index of Recipes AFRS 1999 Recipes Index [PDF]
AFRS 1999 Recipes by Section (food category)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Standardized Recipes

These recipes were developed and standardized by USDA for its child nutrition programs, but haven’t been assigned G4G color and sodium codes yet. Jump-start G4G: Use this resource and help revise menus within your dining facility.

Disclaimer: USDA recipes have not been tested by AFRS. Many of the portion sizes are smaller than typical servings at military dining facilities, given that these were designed for children. Make sure to scale accordingly (for example, AFRS recommends ¾-cup servings of vegetables and starches/grains).

Sample Menus (Coming soon)
Use these sample menus in your dining facility to align with the G4G Menu Standards.

SOPs (Coming soon)
This resource provides dining facility Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the salad bar, breakfast, and deli stations.

Go From Red to Green (Coming soon)
Here is an example of a dining facility menu before and after menu revisions that fit within the G4G menu standards.


The G4G Staff Training presentations posted here are available for your reference. Only a Certified G4G Staff Trainer can conduct G4G Staff Training.

Certified G4G Staff Trainers: The intended audiences for the following slide decks are dining facility staff and managers who are planning to implement G4G at their facility. Eighty percent of staff should be trained at all times to meet requirements of the revised G4G program.

To become a Certified G4G Trainer please submit request for training through Ask the Go for Green® Team.

If you are looking for other materials to learn more about G4G, please visit G4G Materials to find documents, leadership briefs, and supporting papers for press and media. 

Staff Training

Module 1:

G4G Introduction

Slide presentation 

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Instructor Guide 

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Module 2:

G4G Color and Sodium Codes

Slide presentation 

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Instructor Guide 

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Module 3:

G4G Food Card and Beverage Card Placement 

Slide presentation 

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Instructor Guide 

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Module 4: G4G Food Placement

Slide presentation 

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Instructor Guide 

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Module 5: G4G Recipes

Slide presentation 

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Instructor Guide 

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Module 6: G4G Marketing 

Slide presentation 

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Instructor Guide 

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Manager Training

Module 1: G4G Maintenance for Managers and Shift Leaders

Slide presentation

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Instructor Guide

G4G Manager Training Module 1 Thumbnail

Module 2: G4G Marketing

Slide presentation

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Instructor Guide

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Now you’re ready to promote G4G! Get the updated, rebranded marketing material including graphics, posters, brochures, table tents, and social media messages in the Materials tab in "G4G Mission".

Looking for more resources? Find background papers, press documents, and materials for briefing G4G (to leaders or potential G4G team members) also in the Materials, your one-stop-shop for all G4G materials.