We tend to think of “extra foods” (now referred to as discretionary foods) as chocolates and cakes and lollies but it actually extends further than that. A discretionary food is any item that has a high saturated fat/ added sugar/ added salt content or very low fibre content and is not necessary for good health.
Many people are also quite lenient with their extras and consider one serve of that item (One whole scroll, one whole burger, one whole chocolate bar) to be equivalent to one serving of an extra food. Unfortunately, one portion of some items may actually be equivalent to two or more servings of an extra food! One serving is the amount of that product that equals 600kJ.
What is 600kJ of an extra food?
The below quantities will differ based brand/ size of product but they have been determined using Calorie King and the average of all brands.
- 35g salami (1.5 slices)
- ¾ of a thin 70g beef sausage
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- Just under 1 slice of pizza
- 330ml bottle Coka-Cola
- Just over half of a 53g Mars Bar
- 300ml energy drink
- 5 small glasses of wine (180ml total)
- One muesli bar
- One snack pack of potato chips
- One regular cinnamon donut
- ½ a cheese burger
- 5 Tim Tams
- 12 (60g) hot chips
If you analyse your own diet by following the 600kJ rule and the above amounts, you may find that you are having numerous extra foods each day! For instance, a child who has jam on their toast, a muesli bar, a small pack of chips, ham on their sandwich, and a small bowl of ice cream would be eating the equivalent of 4.5 – 5 serves of extra foods.
Extra foods are meant to be limited as much as possible as they are often energy rich and nutrient poor. They can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other lifestyle related conditions. They are of course enjoyable to have from time to time, but be careful that you are not having a number of extras everyday!
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Nutritionist. If you have questions about nutrition, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today!