I had a friend visiting from Colorado that actually came to one of my Nia classes this week. I am so blessed to have friends that come to my class when they are visiting California. So many of my friends have moved from the Bay Area so when they come visit they often have a list of people to visit so I am always very grateful when they take time out of the schedule to come to a Nia class. After Nia we went out to breakfast in Willow Glen. My friend was telling me that she had employed a Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light tactic for her children in regards to food. Instead of saying “bad food”, she uses the lights. I love that. I told her I was going to use it for a blog post and she told me who she actually got it from, but I forgot. My mind was already racing—GREEN LIGHT!
She used “Red” as treat food; hot dogs at a summer cookout, cup cakes at a birthday party, food that is served on special occasions. I would imagine that red could be used for foods you don’t eat at all. I think that the method is awesome and it can be tailored to fit the family, individual. I just like it instead of saying the food is “bad” or I was bad. I could say, “Oh, I had some red light food.” The idea for the red light is to stop and think before you proceed.
Yellow is food you eat but with caution. You might have it more often than a red light food, but it is still not the food you eat freely.
After I started typing this I looked up “red light food” and I see that on one site someone mentions Weight Watchers doing the red light food, I see on another site that it has been attributed to a Lola O’Rourke (“of the American Dietetic Association”). I am seeing a lot of different ways to design it and — as with anything — it should be tailored to your own individual needs. But it can be a useful tool in how you think about what you are eating.
Red light foods would be sweets, treats, cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, soda, maybe even cheese and dairy (depends on the needs of the individual). Yellow light food could be healthy fats. Even though they are healthy we don’t want to consume too much. Meat could be in this category. Veggies, for most people, would be a green light food. As with fruit and whole grains. But there are people who can’t eat certain vegetables due to medication and then there are those who are gluten sensitive.
So what food are included in your light scheme would be up to you. I just thought it was a cool way to think about it. I really thing it is a great way to teach kids. I’ve mentioned before that I am not a fan of (even though I still say it!) saying food it “bad”, or I’ve been “bad” when referring to eating unhealthy food.
So what do you think? Might you want to play “Red light, Yellow Light, Green Light”?