Choose well. Feel great.

Traffic light system

The Healthy Choices guidelines categorise foods and drinks into three groups. These are:


The GREEN category – best choices

Foods and drinks in the GREEN category are the healthiest choices. They are usually:

  • good sources of important nutrients
  • lower in saturated fat, added sugar and/or salt
  • lower in energy (kilojoules)
  • higher in fibre.

GREEN foods and drinks should always be available and they should be promoted as the best choices.

Wherever foods and drinks are offered (e.g. retail outlets, vending machines and catering), at least 50% of choices should be from the GREEN category.


The AMBER category – choose carefully

AMBER foods and drinks should be selected carefully and should only be eaten in moderation. Although AMBER items may provide some good nutrients they can:

  • lead you to take in too much energy (kilojoules)
  • contain saturated fat, added sugar and/or salt.

AMBER foods and drinks may be offered, but should not dominate. They should not be promoted over GREEN choices.


The RED category – limit

Foods and drinks in the RED category are not essential. If they are consumed too often, or in large amounts, they can lead to weight gain and chronic diseases.

In general RED choices are:

  • high in energy (kilojoules)
  • high in saturated fat, added sugar and/or salt
  • low in important nutrients such as fibre.

RED foods and drinks should be consumed rarely and only in small amounts. In retail outlets and vending machines, no more than 20% of foods and drinks should be from the RED category.

RED foods and drinks should not be provided in workplace catering.


The table below includes examples of foods and drinks in the GREEN, AMBER and RED categories:

best choices 
choose carefully 
Bread  Some savoury breads and crackers  Sugary drinks (e.g. soft drinks, sports drinks)
High fibre breakfast cereals Some wholemeal muffins or scones with added fruit and vegetables Confectionery 
Reduced fat milk, cheese and yoghurt   Dried fruit  Ice creams and dairy desserts
Lean meat  Fish canned in brine or oil  Biscuits, cakes, slices and sweet pastries
Fish  Salted nuts and seeds  Saturated fats and oils (e.g. butter, cream) 
Eggs  Some oven baked potato products Crisps and chips
Plain nuts and seeds  Regular fat milk, cheese, yoghurt and custard  Pies, sausage rolls 
Tofu  Some flavoured milk  Devon, salami, Strasburg
Fruit (fresh, frozen)  99% fruit juice Sausages, saveloys 
Vegetables Artificially sweetened drinks  
Legumes and beans     

For more examples of foods and drinks in each category, or to learn how to classify products, please refer to the Healthy choices: food and drink classification guide.