It’s January, which means almost half of us have set New Year’s Resolutions, with over 21% of people’s resolutions focused on healthy eating –the most common resolution set each year. Yet, over 42% of people fail to meet their resolutions each year.
Some of the top reasons people fail at changing their eating habits? Setting complex or unrealistic goals and going at it alone. But what if there was a simple, sustainable way to eat better that involved the entire family and was fun for your little ones? I know what you’re thinking…”There is NO way my kids are going to be on board with eating healthy – my kids are picky eaters.” Luckily, there is a science-based approach to healthy eating called Traffic Light Eating, developed by America’s favorite Pediatrician, Dr. Sears, which is family friendly and a breath of fresh air compared to the fad diets that confuse us and eventually result in us falling victim to the statistics above.
So what do I mean when I say Traffic Light Eating is simple? You practice Traffic Light Eating by categorizing your foods as “Green Light Foods,” “Yellow Light Foods,” and “Red Light Foods.” Similar to a traffic light:
GREEN means “Go”
YELLOW means “Slow Down”
RED means “Stop”
This is an easy concept for the entire family to understand, as kids learn at a very young age what the colors of a traffic light mean.
GREEN LIGHT FOODS
Green Light Foods are “Go” foods. You can eat as much of them as you want and they are almost impossible to overeat. Green Light Foods include all fruits and vegetables and these foods are grown and not manufactured, low in calories, high in nutrients, very colorful, and can usually be eaten raw.
YELLOW LIGHT FOODS
Yellow Light Foods are “Slow Down” foods. These foods are okay to eat every day, but not too much. These foods have more calories than Green Light Foods and usually have more fat or sugar than Green Light Foods.
Yellow Light Foods include foods such as:
- Pasta, Rice, Bread, Tortillas, Eggs, Lean red meat, chicken/turkey, nuts and seeds, fish, cheese, greek yogurt, soy foods, olive oil
RED LIGHT FOODS
Red Light Foods are “Stop and Think” foods. When you come across a Red Light Food, stop and think about a better choice or choose a smaller portion.
Red Light Foods are lower in nutrients, have more calories, may contain hydrogenated oils/trans fats, are high in fat and sugar, and may contain artificial sweeteners.
Red Light Foods include foods such as:
- Cookies, cake, candy, frozen yogurt, fatty meats, doughnuts/pastries, white bread, chips, sugary beverages, processed meats such as bacon, ham, hot dogs, etc.