Weight Loss Traffic Lights

Sometimes a new Mindful Slimmer gets a bit nervous about having no ‘food rules’ to support them. Even though most of us have by now heard that diets only work in the short term.

So here’s some really easy ideas to get your head around.

The simplest mantra of all is ‘The Fresher The Better’.  You can’t beat fresh foods cooked from scratch, which can take less time than you might think. Other words of wisdom come from Michael Pollan … who says: ‘Eat real food, not too much, mostly greens’.

However, if you’re a beginner and wanting a bit more detail, the simple traffic light system below will act as a quick reference.



If you make your meals from scratch, with fresh natural foods your grandmother would recognise, you won’t go far wrong. (But take care to listen to your body for signals of fullness – all food will fatten you up if you eat enough of it!).  Try these:

  • Lean proteins, like poultry, meat, eggs, dairy products, fish and sea food.
    (ps Fatty proteins aren’t bad for you – but they’re calorie dense)
  • Beans – a superfood
  • Fruit and vegetables – all good – especially green vegetables
  • Wholegrain versions of cereals, bread, pasta, rice (avoid added sugar please!)
  • Seeds, nuts and pure nut butters – in small portions because they are calorie dense
  • Herbs and spices

PS – If you don’t normally prepare meals with fresh ingredients, I can offer you a cook book with 28 simple real fast food suppers – just ask on the contact page.



Review your intake and consider if you should cut back. Enjoy these foods but treat with respect.

  • Highly refined grains, like white bread, rice and pasta. Who doesn’t have a favourite white bread – be it white sliced or fancy artisan. But it’s healthier to choose the wholegrain options more often.
  • Pure fruit/vegetable juices – no more than once a day. Even a vegetable smoothie has had the fibre broken down so isn’t as good an option as eating veggies whole.
  • Potatoes – no more than once a day
  • Convenience meals – includes takeaways / supermarket meals / restaurant meals. Once a week is enough unless you can be sure they’re as healthy as the green-is-go list above



There are no outright banned foods, but the ones on the red list can get you in trouble. See them as ‘treat foods’, for now and again, or in small amounts.

  • Sweet snacks and desserts. (Includes chocolate, biscuits, cookies, sweets, candies, ice creams, pastries, cakes, buns, muffins, and sweetened dairy products)
  • Sweetened drinks and shakes, alcoholic drinks
  • Jams, honey, chutneys and sugared preserves
  • Savoury snacks such as fries, chips, crisps, pies, pretzels, roasted nuts and anything deep fried
  • Ketchups, sauces, marinades and mayo (unless you know the ingredients are fresh, natural and sugar free)

PS – Treats are to be enjoyed – guilt free!! Just not too often.