GREEN (Best choices)
The following information is an extract from Healthy choices: food and drink classification guide (PDF).
The Healthy Choices guidelines classify foods and drinks as GREEN, AMBER or RED based on their nutritional value.
Foods and drinks in the GREEN (best choices) 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 are based on the five food groups in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating:
- grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
- vegetables and legumes/beans
- milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced-fat
- lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans
Water is also an important part of the GREEN category and should always be readily available.
Some GREEN foods and drinks are even healthier than others. For example, wholegrain and white bread are both in the GREEN category, but wholegrain bread is higher in fibre and is a healthier choice.
Offering GREEN foods and drinks in appropriate serve sizes is consistent with the recommendations in the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
Foods and drinks in the GREEN category
Below is a summary of foods and drinks in the GREEN category. For more GREEN choices refer to the Common foods and drinks classification guide, in the Healthy choices: food and drink classification guide (PDF), or find them on FoodChecker.
Grain (cereal) foods
- Breads, rolls, bagels, English muffins
- Some plain corn/rice cakes and crispbreads
- Plain grains including rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta, burghul, cracked wheat, couscous, quinoa
- Breakfast cereals that meet the GREEN criteria in Table 1 of the Healthy choices: food and drink classification guide (PDF) (page 18).
- Filo pastry
- Fresh and frozen fruit, including avocado
- Fruit purée or canned fruit in natural juice or water with no added sugar
- Stewed fruit with no added sugar
- Fresh and frozen vegetables
- Canned vegetables
- Beans (such as kidney, soy, mung), lentils, chickpeas, split peas, baked beans
Milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives
- Reduced-fat plain milk
- Cheese that is naturally lower in fat (including cottage and ricotta) and reduced-fat forms of other cheeses (such as reduced-fat cheddar)
- Reduced-fat plain or flavoured yoghurt and custard
- Calcium-fortified dairy alternatives (including soy/rice/almond drink, soy yoghurt)
- Reduced-fat flavoured milk and calcium fortified alternatives that are equal to or less than 900 kJ per serve as sold
Lean meat/poultry, fish, eggs and alternatives
- Lean meat (such as beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, turkey) with visible fat and skin removed
- Fresh and frozen fish
- Canned fish in spring water
- Tofu and bean curd
Nuts and seeds
- Plain, unsalted, unroasted/dry roasted nuts and seeds in serve sizes up to 30g
- 100% nut/seed paste with no added sugar, salt or fat
Some commercial or freshly prepared ready to eat meals, mixed hot-food dishes or plated dinners that are lower in fat, salt and added sugar and use vegetables, legumes and beans, lean meats, wholegrains and reduced-fat cheeses.
Sauces, soups, dips and dressings
Pasta and simmer sauces, soups, dips, mayonnaise and salad dressings that meet the GREEN criteria in Table 1 of the Healthy choices: food and drink classification guide (PDF) (page 18).
- Plain, unflavoured water (tap, spring, mineral, soda, sparkling)
- Reduced-fat plain milk
- Calcium-fortified milk alternatives (including soy/rice/almond drink)
- Reduced-fat flavoured milk and calciumfortified flavoured milk alternatives that are equal to or less than 900 kJ per serve as sold
- Tea and coffee without added sugar
Guidelines for the GREEN category
Ensure GREEN foods and drinks are always available
- Offer a wide variety of GREEN choices.
- Ensure GREEN ingredients make up the majority of meals, snacks and drinks.
- Include GREEN choices across all menus and product categories.
- Make GREEN choices available for as much of the day as possible, including after hours and on public holidays.
Actively promote and encourage GREEN foods and drinks
- Promote GREEN choices in all situations where foods and drinks are offered.
- Ensure GREEN choices are attractively presented and competitively priced.
- Include GREEN choices in special offers such as meal deals, combos and loyalty cards.
Display GREEN foods and drinks in prominent areas
- Place GREEN choices at eye level on shelves, in fridges and in vending machines.
- Display GREEN choices at the front of cabinets and bain maries.
- Place GREEN choices in high traffic areas.