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Sometimes foods

2020 04 29 LSP 423

Sometimes food and drinks are called ‘discretionary foods’ in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGHE). We also know them as ‘occasional’ foods and drinks or ‘extras’.

Sometimes foods and drinks include:

  • sweet biscuits, cakes, desserts and pastries
  • muesli bars
  • savoury biscuits and crackers
  • processed meats such as ham, bacon, corned beef, salami, mettwurst, fritz, sausages, and frankfurts
  • ice-cream and ice confections
  • confectionary such as lollies and chocolate
  • savoury pastries and pies
  • take-away burgers, pizza, fried foods and chips
  • crisps and other fatty and/or salty snack foods
  • cream, butter and spreads
  • sugar-sweetened fruit drink, soft drink, cordial and energy drinks
  • alcoholic drink

The AGHE advises if chosen, sometimes foods should be eaten only sometimes and in small amounts.

Why are sometimes foods not recommended to eat every day?

Sometimes foods and drinks do not fit into the five food groups because they are not needed for a healthy diet. Sometimes foods lack the essential nutrients (like protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals) our body needs to help us go about our day with ease and energy. They are high in energy (kilojoules) and nutrients we need to limit such as saturated fat, added sugars, added salt and alcohol. Eating too many sometimes foods (or eating them too often) can lead to the development of tooth decay, chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

Most of us try to eat foods from the five food groups as much as possible, however, with so much sometimes food available where we live, learn, work and play it can make it harder to eat a healthy diet.

In fact, on average, Australians get around 36% of their daily energy intake from sometimes foods and drinks. Research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the sometimes foods and drinks that contribute the most to Australian’s daily energy intake (in order of contribution) are:

  • alcohol
  • cakes, muffins scones and cake-type desserts
  • confectionery and cereal/nut/fruit/seed bars
  • pastries
  • sweet biscuits and savoury biscuits
  • soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters
  • potatoes (as chips/fries etc)
  • snack foods
  • frozen milk products
  • sugar, honey and syrups

Take the challenge – cut down on sometimes foods and save on your food budget

Want to have more energy to get through your day, and save money too? Australian research from the Australian Prevention and Partnership Centre shows that regularly eating sometimes foods such as sugary drinks, takeaway foods and alcohol increases the food budget. Most households spend more on sometimes food and drinks than on foods and drinks from the five food groups. Healthy diets in line with the AGHE would be 12–15% cheaper than unhealthy diets for a family of two adults and two children.

For tips about how to eat enough of the five food groups and limit sometimes foods and drinks visit:

For information about the Five Food Groups, sometimes foods and how much you need to eat to be healthy, visit the Eat for Health website or seek advice from a Dietitian.