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Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? Your Go for Green® team has answers!

G4G Basics

What is Go for Green®?
Go for Green® is a nutrition-labeling and education program for service members. Backed by evidence-based research, G4G was designed by nutrition experts. Go for Green® uses a stoplight-color system (Green, Yellow, and Red) to easily identify performance-enhancing foods in dining facilities and galleys. In addition, G4G codes foods by their sodium content: Low, Moderate, or High.

Where can I find Go for Green®?
G4G is being implemented in dining facilities and galleys across the DoD.

Why does Go for Green® exist?
G4G exists because what you eat matters! Good nutrition enables the military to perform better—mentally and physically. The G4G method helps service members identify healthy foods and beverages that optimize performance. Dining facilities are a great place for the military community to learn more about fueling up on foods that improve performance.

What can Go for Green® do for me?
Good nutrition is essential to staying mission ready. High-performance (Green-coded) foods and drinks can enhance your mental fitness, keep you alert, and boost your mood and brainpower. They maximize your physical performance by optimizing speed and building endurance. In addition, eating nutrient-rich foods can help you recover faster from injuries, workouts, and stress.

Is Go for Green designed for a specific branch of the military?
G4G is a DoD joint services program. It can be used in any dining facility or galley throughout military branches and locations. The Air Force, Army, and Navy are currently using G4G. The Marine Corps’ version of G4G is known as Fueled to Fight.

How is the rebranded, redesigned G4G different than what my dining facility is using now?
The redesigned G4G program offers:

  • 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.

Implementing Go For Green®

Interested in implementing G4G at your installation? Here are some ways to get started. 

I’m interested in implementing G4G at my dining facility. Where should I start?
That’s great! The Go for Green® program benefits service members and dining facilities. Start by reviewing Getting Started with G4G (coming soon). This comprehensive guide provides detailed instructions to implement G4G 2015 at your installation.

Make sure to register on our website so we can provide you with new materials and updates as they become available.

My leadership would like more information about Go for Green®. How do I brief them?
Leadership support is essential to making Go for Green® successful in your location. We offer many useful resources to help brief leadership. Check out the “Why G4G” tab in “G4G Mission” section:

We currently have Go for Green® in our dining facility. How do I implement the rebranded, redesigned G4G?
It’s great that you have been working with G4G already! There are many improvements in the rebranded DoD version of the program such as two-part coding and food placements. Review all of the new G4G features in “How is G4G different than what my dining facility is using now?”.

Start with the Getting Started with G4G (coming soon). This guide provides details about the changes in G4G 2015. Work with your team to meet the Program Requirements (coming soon). Once your team has met the guidelines, you can use the new G4G printed materials – food cards, posters, signs, and brochures.

How long does it take to implement Go for Green®?
Read the entire Getting Started with G4G for a better understanding of what is involved in implementation. Full implementation will take about 6 months from planning stages to launch—depending on your facility’s size and staffing. Some steps should occur simultaneously. Some facilities can fully implemented in just 2 months. Read Getting Started with G4G: Chapter 2 (coming soon) for step-by-step recommendations and a sample timeline.

I don’t know a dietitian. Who can code the food and menu items for my DFAC/galley?
Due to the detailed nature of the coding, a dietitian should code all foods and beverages. However, if there is not a dietitian available at your installation, designate your highest-level food service manager or supervisor with the most nutrition education/training to perform the coding. Once completed, send your coding to your dining facility’s military service food service headquarters for review and approval.

Where can I get more help implementing G4G at my DFAC or galley?
Check out the G4G website for additional information on implementing, supporting, and marketing G4G. You can also contact the Ask the G4G team here.

Menu Coding

The G4G Guide to Foods and Beverages lists foods in each of the Green, Yellow, and Red categories. Here are some commonly asked questions about food and beverage coding.

Why is chocolate milk a Yellow-coded beverage? G4G promotes it as a healthy recovery drink after workout/PT.
Due to its protein and carbohydrate content, chocolate milk can be an appropriate recovery drink after intense or long workouts. However, if chocolate milk is consumed without the benefit of exercise, its sugar and calories might be too much for a healthy eating plan.

Why is Gatorade a Yellow-coded beverage?
Sports drinks such as Gatorade are coded Yellow because they replenish fluids lost during excessive perspiration. Sports drinks are formulated for use with exercise greater than 60 minutes or extreme conditions (heat or humidity). If you are not exercising or living in extreme environmental conditions, then sports drinks might be too high in calories and sugar for your eating plan.

Why are coffee and tea coded Yellow? How about if I drink them plain (without added sugar or cream)?
Coffee and tea are coded Yellow due to their caffeine content. Some service members might need to limit their caffeine intake due to health conditions, medications, caffeine sensitivity, or sleeping difficulties. Caffeine-free beverages, such as herbal tea, are coded Green since they naturally do not contain caffeine.

Why is iceberg lettuce coded Green?
Iceberg lettuce is Green-coded because it is minimally processed, contains some fiber, and doesn’t contain saturated fat or added sugar. Dark, leafy-green vegetables such as spinach and Romaine lettuce (also Green-coded) contain higher nutrients. 

Why is BBQ pork coded Yellow not Red?
Like many meats, pork can be very lean (Green-coded) or high in fat (Red-coded) depending on its cut. BBQ sauce contains sugar, but less than the amounts in sugary drinks or desserts. Overall, pork is a good source of protein and lower in saturated fat than other Red-coded meat dishes.

Why is yogurt, a Yellow-coded dairy product, not Green?
Many yogurts contain added sugar or artificial flavors—putting these products in the Yellow category. Plain, low-fat yogurt is Green-coded because it doesn’t contain high amounts of added sugar or artificial sweeteners. All yogurts have some naturally occurring sugars.

Why are high-sodium foods such as olives, pickles, and soup coded Green?
G4G 2015 has a two-part coding system. Nutritional quality (Green, Yellow, and Red) is coded separately from sodium codes (Low, Moderate, and High). Sodium content does not affect the color code. A high-sodium product can be coded Red just as a low-sodium product can be coded Red (e.g., pie or fruit punch).

Why isn’t every vegetable coded Green?
Most vegetables are coded Green due to their high nutrients and low sugar, calories, and saturated fat. Red-coded vegetables include large amounts of added butter, lard, cheese, or cream sauce.