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.
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
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.
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.
The G4G Guide
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).
|Tips to build a healthy plate||Eat Often |
|Eat Occasionally |
(Select portions carefully)
(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
Fried or tempura vegetables
Vegetables with high-fat sauces (Alfredo)
Eat 2–2.5 cups of fruit a day.
Eat your fruit, don’t drink it.
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
Grains/StarchesChoose 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”
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
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
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)
Tuna canned in water
Chicken/turkey with skin
Pork, ham, Canadian bacon
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
Fats/OilsChoose 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)
Full-fat creamy salad dressings
Cream (half-and-half, whipped, others)
Non-dairy creamer (liquid or powdered)
BeveragesChoose 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
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)
DairyCompare 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)
Cream cheese, sour cream
Choose fruit for dessert.
Choose nuts, dairy, fruit, vegetables, and whole foods for snacks.
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)
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.
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
- Cooking the Heart-Healthy Way (from the National Institutes for Health)
- Deliciously Healthy Eating (from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- It’s About Eating Right Recipes (from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
- Browse Recipes (from the American Heart Association)
- Fruit & Veggie Recipes (from the Produce for Better Health Foundation)
- Easy and Delicious Whole Grain Dishes (from the U.S. Department of Agriculture)
- Sample Menus and Recipes (from ChooseMyPlate.gov/USDA)
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.
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 ChooseMyPlate.gov website.
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.