All the vending machines in the state capitol complex in Des Moines will soon feature red, yellow and green stickers on the products — a color-coded system to encourage state employees and visitors to choose the healthiest snack.

Iowa Department of Public Health director Mariannette Miller-Meeks said the vending machines in her building have been color-coded since last year.

“The goal is to train people to make healthier choices,” Miller-Meeks said.

Green stickers are being placed on the healthiest items in the vending machine. The red sticker is reserved for the snacks that have the least nutritional value, things like potato chips and soda pop. Miller-Meeks and Governor Terry Branstad compare that red sticker to the stop light at an intersection.

“Stop and think before you take that choice,” Branstad said during his weekly news conference, with Miller-Meeks chiming in: “That’s exactly right.”

People visiting the vending machines in the capitol complex will still be able to buy some of the most caloric and least nutritional snacks, though.

“We are not the food police. You know, we’re trying to make this a voluntary program,” Branstad said, as his staff laughed. “I’m just trying to put my two cents in.”

Branstad said this effort is part of his push to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. Iowa’s position in Gallup’s healthy state rankings recently moved from 19th to 16th.

AUDIO of Branstad’s weekly news conference.