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The traffic light system

The traffic light classification system is a simple way to rate foods and drinks as either Green, Amber or Red based on their nutritional value. The traffic light system was introduced to WA public schools in 2007 by the Department of Education and Training and a modified version to WA health services in 2008 by the Department of Health. The traffic light system makes it easy for you to plan healthy menus by following the colour coded signals.

Click on a traffic light category in the images below to find out which foods and drinks are Green, Amber or Red.

List all the foods and drinks on your menu

You will need to list all the foods and drinks on your menu and include the different sizes and flavours. For example, you shouldn’t put down “soft drinks” only; you need to list all the different types of soft drinks and the different can or bottle sizes offered. If you have breakfast cereals then each cereal will need to be listed. Rather than writing ‘fruit’, list each fruit (fresh and canned) on offer. Yes, it will be quite a comprehensive list.

Colour code the menu

Once you have listed the foods in each category, go through your list and colour code them according to the Traffic Light System's Green, Amber and Red categories we have just described. Colour code with a highlight pen, felt pen or crayon. Colour coding will make the rest of the exercise much easier to do.

Need help?

We know that it is not always easy to classify some foods. Manufacturers may modify a food that used to be in the Red section so that it can now fit into the Amber section. Sometimes a food may not appear on our list. If you have any difficulty colour coding a food then either ring our Helpline on 9264 8147 or send an email with all the foods you are having difficulty with to Make sure you include your daytime telephone number too.

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