WHAT ARE DISCRETIONARY FOOD CHOICES AND WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID THEM
|By Nilofar Dorani
|Dietitian (APD), Nutritionist at Mind For Life
This week we are going to focus on how our lifestyle choices can impact our
overall health and well-being. Some of the low nutritional foods and drinks we consume daily do not form part of the essential five food groups we are required
to include in our diets to stay healthy. Simply acknowledging our unhealthy food
habits and tendencies is absolutely vital for a better you.
It is important to be aware of the unhealthy foods we consume regularly as they
are harming our health. These foods are usually too high in saturated fat and/or
added sugars, added salt or alcohol but very low in fibre. These types of foods
are nutrient poor and energy dense meaning they are adding extra calories or
energy into our body with having no nutritional value. In fact, they increase the
risks of obesity, becoming overweight and many other health complications.
These foods and drinks are referred to as discretionary choices. Discretionary
foods and drinks include:
• sweet biscuits, cakes, desserts and pastries;
• processed meats and fatty/salty sausages;
• ice cream, confectionery and chocolate;
• savoury pastries and pies;
• commercial burgers with a high fat and/or salt content;
• commercially fried foods such as hot chips etc;
• potato chips, crisps and other fatty and/or salty snack foods;
• cream, butter and spreads which are high in saturated fats;
• sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, energy drinks and alcoholic mixer
Now that we’ve acknowledged the discretionary foods/drinks that we
should not eat on a regular basis, we should also recognise the kinds
of foods that we should actually eat regularly. Make sure you include
these three crucial macronutrients in each of your meals:
• Protein (Eggs, meats, fish, chicken, yoghurt, cheese, nuts, beans,
peanut butter, tofu, hummus and legumes)
• Carbohydrates (cereals, breads, pasta, rice including vegetables like
potatoes, corn and legumes)
• Good fats (Avocado, nuts, fish, peanut butter, olive oil spread or
margarine containing essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids)
By outlining all these food choices, it doesn’t mean you need to make a fancy
gourmet meal each time you’re in the kitchen. Just keep things simple and if you
can’t find fresh fruits or veggies don’t stress, use frozen as they are just as
Mix and match your food options, be creative such as using the leftovers from
dinner to make an omelette, sandwich, nachos, pizza. Add extra vegetables,
salads, cheese and nuts or make quick dips to have with cut up veggies and
fruits and even milkshakes or smoothies that are high in protein.
Now that you are aware of what discretionary food choices are and the
types of foods you should incorporate into your meals:
Make healthy food choices an essential part of your lifestyle to help you feel your best!
If you need further assistance regarding your meal choices, please contact the MFL team for a tailored consultation.
To find more detailed information about ways to help make healthier choices, please refer to this website:
https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/discretionary-food-and-drink-choices (Helvetica italic 10pt)
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