Nutrition: Red Light, Green Light—An Easy Way To Code Food

When it comes to nutrition, many people today are confused, and rightly so. There are literally thousands and thousands of food products to choose from, each with their own packaging claims. While many processed foods are tasty, convenient and easy to prepare, not all of them are healthy and provide the nutrients that your body needs and craves. It is hard to know which ones are good for you. What consumers really need is an easy way to code food, so they can make better choices.

processed foods
processed foods

Recently I posted something on social media asking people to look back at their childhood to find an exercise they might like. As I was thinking about this and my own childhood, a simple game we used to play growing up, called “Red Light, Green Light” popped into my head. It was a fun running game, where one kid was the stop light and called out colors to make you stop or go. Anyway—the name of the game stuck with me and got me thinking this might be an easy way for people to decipher their food purchases. Like the colors of a stoplight, we can divide food into 3 simple color groups.

Stop light
Stop light

Red Light Foods—
Red light foods are those foods that are highly processed and contain a lot of additives and preservatives. If the ingredient list starts out with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, etc., you should take a hard look at it and decide if the product is something you really want to buy. Typically red light foods such as potato chips, have a long list of ingredients, many of which are to hard to pronounce. Most people don’t have an idea of what these hard to pronounce ingredients really are, which is scary when you think about it. It is nice to know what you are ingesting, especially if it could have some negative affect. You should try and avoid red light foods when possible. If you do eat them, try eat them more on occasion, or sparingly.

potato chips
potato chips

Yellow Light Foods—
Yellow light foods are foods that are minimally processed. Think bagged vegetables, salads, nuts, seeds, raisins, etc. Some of these types of foods may have several ingredients, but don’t typically contain a long list of other additives or preservatives, so they are considered safe. You can feel comfortable buying these foods. You should shoot for foods with 5 ingredients or less, when possible. If they have a few more it is ok, just try and avoid foods that have a long list of ingredients.

bagged nuts
bagged nuts

Green Light Foods—
Green light foods are whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, bulk nuts or seeds and meat. These foods come from the earth and provide our bodies with the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Think greens, berries, quinoa, cashews, pumpkin seeds and chicken. Our bodies need the nourishment these types of foods provide to function properly and optimally. You should try and base your diet around whole foods. Make sure to eat plenty of vegetables, protein and include good fats in your diet.

whole foods
whole foods

If you are interested in finding out more about eating healthy and living a healthy life-style, my new book, Wholey Cow a Simple Guide To Eating And Living,” has more valuable information. It is available on Amazon and I offer a Kindle version too.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *