Program Requirements Appendix D: G4G Coding Process Approaches

Coding refers to the manner in which G4G Criteria are operationalized. It involves applying the criteria to recipes and ready-to-use (RTU) items by consistently reviewing nutrition, preparation, and ingredient information to evaluate whether a menu item (recipe or RTU) will meet criteria for a Green, Yellow, or Red color code and a Low, Moderate, or High sodium code.

At the headquarters level, there are many possible approaches to coding that each Service can take. It depends on available resources (personnel and cost), infrastructure (nutrient-analysis software access), approach to menu design (standardized menu and headquarters approval or local menus), and approach to food service operations (contracted or uniformed personnel). Due to the myriad of factors, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to coding.

Each of the following possible approaches can meet requirements for a standardized, consistent approach to coding. Quality-control measures should be identified and put into place.

Coding Process for Recipes: Possible Approaches

AFRS Recipes

Armed Forces Recipe Service (AFRS) recipes coded for G4G are available at:

10 Guideline Cards and multiple sample menus are available at:

Pros:

  • Minimal resources required
  • Comprehensive toolkit on the G4G section of the Human Performance Resource Center (HPRC) website facilitates menu revisions
  • Provides a forum for installations to share local recipes, thus doubling or tripling the number of available “homegrown” recipes
  • Highest level of coding standardization

Note: Local recipes are submitted to food service headquarters and then AFRS for standardization, analysis, and consideration for adding to the AFRS collection.

Cons:

  • Initially eliminates local recipes (can be submitted)
  • Initially might require menu changes
  • For contracts: requires contract modifications

 

Headquarters-level Standardized Menu

(Examples: NAVSUP, Army Training Site DFACs)

Nutrition asset, trained as a Certified G4G Coder, leads menu creation at the headquarters level

  • Nutrition asset creates and maintains a standardized menu that, at minimum, meets G4G Menu Coding Goals
  • Local recipes are analyzed using a nutrient analysis program such as Computrition, Genesis SQL, or similar
    • Time estimate for analysis: 15 minutes per recipe, depending on complexity of recipe and availability of all input information
  • All coding of recipes occurs at the headquarters level
    • Time estimate for coding: 1–2 minutes per recipe to assign code from the nutrition analysis output or food label
  • Any local recipe must be submitted to headquarters for standardization, analysis, and consideration to add to standard menu

Pros:

  • Requires only 1–2 nutrition assets who receive and maintain G4G Coder certification
  • Minimal resources required since only 1–5 standardized menus are reviewed for the entire service
  • Comprehensive toolkit on the G4G section of the HPRC website facilitates menu revisions
  • Provides a forum for installations to share local recipes, thus doubling or tripling the number of available homegrown recipes
  • High level of coding standardization

      Cons:

  • Requires access to a nutrient analysis program such as Computrition, Genesis SQL, or similar
  • Requires training of nutrition assets as Certified G4G Coders
  • Initially might require menu changes
  • Initially eliminates local recipes (until they have been submitted and approved)

 

Local Menu

(Example: Current Army (non-TRADOC) dining facility model)

One or more nutrition assets must be identified and trained as Certified G4G Coders at each installation/dining facility

  • Coder(s) must be available to code recipes and assist at the local dining facility level
  • Nutrition asset(s) works with G4G Planning Team Lead at the dining facility to revise menus and ensure updated menu, at a minimum, meets G4G Menu Coding Goals
  • Recipes are analyzed using a nutrient analysis program such as Computrition, Genesis SQL, or similar
    • Time estimate for analysis: 15 minutes per recipe, depending on complexity of recipe and availability of all input information
  • Coding of each dining facility recipe must be done
    • Time estimate for coding: 1–2 minutes per recipe to assign code from the nutrition analysis output or food label

Pros:

  • Maintains local dining facility autonomy, including full control over menu and recipe selection
  • Comprehensive toolkit on the G4G section of the HPRC website facilitates menu revisions, if used

Cons:

  • Requires many nutrition assets for an entire service to:
    • Receive and maintain G4G Coder certification
    • Have access to a nutrient-analysis program such as Computrition, Genesis SQL, or similar
  • Moderate-to-high resource requirement: personnel time and cost associated with multiple licenses for Computrition or similar nutrient-analysis software
  • Minimizes headquarters’ role in menu monitoring, oversight, and coding of menu items for G4G
  • Potentially reduces standardization of coding

Coding Process for Ready-to-use Items: Possible Approaches

Standardized Coding at Food Program Headquarters

Nutrition assets, trained as Certified G4G Coders, assign codes to RTU items:

  • RTU items must supply ingredient lists and Nutrition Facts panels
    • Time estimates for coding: 1–2 minutes per item to assign code from the food label to RTU item
  • Any change in product formulation requires review, analysis, and reconsideration of its G4G code

Pros:

  • Across enterprise, requires only 1–5 nutrition assets who receive and maintain the G4G Coder certification to code all RTU items for the Service
  • Minimizes burden on each installation or dining facility/galley to code RTU items
  • Eliminates redundant efforts across dining facilities to code the same RTU items
  • Promotes awareness of the number of available Green-coded RTU items
  • High level of coding standardization

Cons:

  • Requires significant initial investment of manpower/personnel time by installation-level dining facility staff

 

Local RTU Coding

One or more nutrition assets must be identified and trained as Certified G4G Coders at each installation/dining facility, and then assign codes to items:

  • RTU items must supply ingredient lists and Nutrition Facts panels
    • Time estimates for coding: 1–2 minutes per item to assign code from the food label to RTU item
  • Any change in product formulation requires review, analysis, and reconsideration of its G4G code

Pros:

  • Immediate solution to coding RTU items

Cons:

  • Requires many nutrition assets across the Services to receive and maintain G4G Coder certification
  • Requires nutrition assets to have physical access to the dining facility where coding is conducted; must be able to view the RTU item’s Nutrition Facts panel and ingredient list
  • Must have access to a computer and familiarity with Excel
  • Moderate-to-high resource requirement: personnel time
  • Potentially reduces standardization of coding