Discretionary foods

Australian resource

australian-guide.pngThe Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend to “Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol” providing information on the types of these discretionary foods and drinks to limit1. However, there is no specific information for health professionals on how many discretionary foods and drinks can be included in the diet for individual clients based on their height and physical activity levels.

Those clients who are taller or more active require additional energy which can be provided by additional serves of food.  Additional serves can come from either; the core food groups or unsaturated spreads and oils or limited amounts of discretionary foods1,2. The Additional Serves Ready Reckonercan be used by health professionals to provide guidance on the maximum amount of additional serves that can come from these food groups based on a client’s gender, age, height and physical activity level.

The recent Australian Health Survey found that around one third (35%) of total energy consumed was from discretionary foods (persons ≥ 2 years)3. The consumer education brochure focuses on discretionary foods as this is the group that Australian’s tend to over consume - providing a visual guide on the portion size of common discretionary foods.

The aim of these evidence-based resources is to help health professionals provide practical and meaningful recommendations on additional serves including discretionary foods for consumers – to help them understand and choose the appropriate number of serves and portion size relevant to their individual needs.

Fill in the online order form for free delivery of resources, OR, click on resources 2 or 3 below to download and print.

1. The Additional Serves Ready Reckoner (RR)
For professional use only


2. How discretionary foods fit into a healthy diet
Client Brochure


3. Health Professional Guide
For professional use only


1. Eat for Health Educator Guide. NHMRC (2013)
2. A modelling system to inform the revision of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. NHMRC (December 2011)
3. Australian Health Survey. Nutrition First Results – Food and Nutrients, 2011-12.




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