Food lover’s guide to ‘sometimes food’



Following the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGTHE) means that all foods are part of a healthy eating plan. 


However, some foods need to be eaten in greater quantities than others. 


For example, it's recommended to have five serves of vegetables each day. That's equal to 2½ cups of cooked vegetables or 5 cups of salad.


Discretionary foods are recommended in smaller amounts.


"It is easy to have too much and too many of these foods and drinks, and many people do. If you are trying to lose weight, you are unlikely to be able to fit these foods into your lower kilojoule target. However, for people in their normal weight range, these foods and drinks in occasional, small amounts, can add variety and enjoyment to eating. These 'optional' foods and drinks are referred to as 'discretionary choices'."


(Source: Eat for Health)




A discretionary food serve contains 600kJ per serve, with examples in the table above. These foods are high in energy, salt or sugar and low in nutrients. 


If you reduce 600kJ per day of discretionary foods, you can lose about 7kg over a year.

There are many ways to cut down on discretionary foods, such as planning for eating out, making foods swaps to something from the five groups, eating mindfully and reducing portion sizes.


The average Australian eats 2.3 serves of vegetables per day, which is much less than the AGTHE recommendations.  Including vegetables in snacks and meals will help to meet the recommended daily serves of vegetables and also help you to feel full, which makes us less likely to choose a snack from the discretionary foods list. 


For the sometimes food lovers, we suggest you aim for smaller serves of these high energy foods and add more vegetables to your meals.


If you're choosing a discretionary food sometimes, enjoy every mouthful!

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