Nutrition tips

Nutrition during Pregnancy: Traffic Light Eating

Nutrition during Pregnancy: Traffic Light Eating
Published : February 14 , 2020
Latest Update : September 25 , 2023
Zena is a certified Prenatal Health and Fitness Coach, a loving mother of one and expecting her second. She became a health coach... more

One of the reasons I wanted to pursue more nutrition and health coach courses was because I got pregnant. I just wanted to know exactly what to eat to make sure the baby is getting all the nutrients it needs, to stay away from the food that might harm my baby and to be careful not to gain too much extra weight. But, all the information I was getting was so overwhelming especially when you are pregnant, and you have a million things to think of, not to mention all the hormones going up and down all the time, I just wanted to eat right, not feel guilty when I indulge in one of my cravings and not to think too much of whether I should eat this or not. It all became easier the moment I started taking this new course and they explained one method of eating while being pregnant which is called The Traffic Light Eating.

Being on a good and healthy diet during pregnancy have many benefits for both moms and babies; they help in having fewer common pregnancy problems such as fatigue, morning sickness, constipation, heartburn and muscle cramps, Reduce the cravings for unhealthy food, decrease the chances of developing pregnancy complications such as anemia, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and premature labor and it makes it easier to lose the extra weight after pregnancy. As for the baby, it results in a healthier birth weight and less likely to develop development delay.

Traffic light eating helps you in building healthy daily eating habits as it focuses more on the quality rather than the quantity of the food you are eating. As for the quantity try to aim for 6 small portions meal. You practice traffic light eating by categorizing your food as:

 “Green light foods” = GO

 “Yellow light foods” = Slow down

 “Red light foods” = Stop

Green light foods such as fruits and vegetables are the food that you can eat as much as you want without having to worry, they usually are:

  • Grown not manufactured
  • Low in calories
  • High in nutrients
  • Very colorful
  • Can be eaten raw

Yellow light foods usually have more calories, fat, and sugar than the green light food, they are ok to eat daily but you should slow down and not eat too much.

Red light foods are the Stop and think foods. When you come across stop and think about a better choice or choose a smaller portion.

They usually are low in nutrients, higher in calories, might contain hydrogenated fats/ Trans fats, high in fats, high in sugar and may contain artificial sweetener.

An example of how traffic light eating works:

  • An apple is a green food
  • Applesauce is a yellow food
  • Apple pie is a red food

Above are the basic examples of how to categorize your food, but if you want to go more into details and understand more about the traffic light eating you can check the table below,

Of course, everything you eat should be in moderation, and it is ok if you indulge in one of your cravings every once in a while, you should not feel guilty, but always try to have it in limited quantities and avoid having them in your household as not to have an easy access.

Eating healthy is a lifestyle that you learn with time and patience, and now is the perfect time to do so to get ready for the arrival of your baby and to make sure these healthy eating habits will be a long-lasting part of your family’s life.


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