Traffic Light
Sustainable Nutrition

Usually when we think about “traffic light eating” we are thinking about the snacks we are eating while driving. That is another habit that we should discuss, but it is not the one intended here.

Traffic Light Eating Habits

Another problem is when we consider food to be “red light” (ice cream, candy, fancy coffee) or “green light” (broccoli, carrots, chicken), we often cheat and feel guilty. Instead, this is an opportunity to remove the idea of diet as a “pass/fail,” “allowed/forbidden,” or “green light/red light” food and replace that theory with sustainable nutrition.

Let’s think about ourselves individually. Turns out we are all different (Shocking, I know. Who would have thought?). We each have more than just our “like/hate” list of food, but also our varying lists of cultural preferences and lifestyle patterns.


For example, no one expects you to diet over a holiday that you celebrate. You probably don’t want to be the one at a big family dinner that says you can’t have something. Also, you don’t want to eat everything on the table that you haven’t eaten in six months and then get sick.

Sustainable Nutrition

Instead, let’s think of ourselves as individuals and work toward sustainable nutrition.

 It all depends on your own needs. If you are trying to gain muscle your diet will be different than if you are trying to lose weight.

Also, red light meals may include food that are not affordable and, therefore, you are unable to buy them as frequently as you would like. At the same time, red light meals may be dairy products because you feel sick after eating them.

Yellow Light

Focusing on the yellow light… the maybe/sometimes food is also helpful. Again, the idea is not to say that you cannot ever have something. Rather, let’s make sustainable healthy choices our frequent decision without saying something else is forbidden.

Remember, sustainable healthy choices will be different for everyone. It requires more thought than the health classes and nutrition articles tell us. It begins with an exploration of your current traffic light. Then we can move forward to address needs in a sustainable way leading to the goal that you aim to accomplish.