You are here: Home / Nutrition / Go for Green® / Go for Green® Operations—Getting Started

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.

G4G Program Requirements [PDF]. Coming February 2016.

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

G4G Implementation Guide JPG

Implementation Guide [PDF]

A comprehensive guide for dining facility leaders, dietitians, healthcare professionals, and others interested in understanding G4G.

Look for major revisions coming soon – February 2016. Check back soon.

Brief for Leaders [PPT]. Coming February 2016.

Customizable slide decks to inform leaders about G4G 2015. Each brief discusses program benefits and provides a snapshot of the evidence-based research behind G4G.

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.
  • 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 Getting Started With G4G: Chapter 4, for best practices and serving area placement ideas (coming soon).

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).

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 in February 2016.

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] The G4G Menu Standards [PDF]

Recipe Database  (Coming February 2016)
Interested in adding new or fresh recipes to your menu cycle? There are many resources available to help your dining facility become more “Green.”

Sample Menus (Coming February 2016)
Use these sample menus in your dining facility to align with the G4G Menu Standards.

SOPs (Coming February 2016)
This resource provides dining facility Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the salad bar, breakfast, and deli stations.

Go From Red to Green (Coming February 2016)
Here is an example of a dining facility menu before and after menu revisions that fit within the G4G menu standards.


Coming soon.

Marketing Toolkit

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 Newsroom 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 Newsroom, your one-stop-shop for all G4G materials.