At We Feed You, we love statistics – especially foodie statistics! But today we’ve come across one that’s really got us talking, staring off into space, and thinking about what’s in our fridge and pantry at home.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, statistics show that about 1/3 of Australians’ daily energy intake currently comes from discretionary foods. And teenagers are the worst offenders, with a massive 41% of their total calories coming from the ‘eat occasionally and in small amounts’ foods. Yikes.
What’s the big deal? And what are discretionary foods we hear you ask?
Discretionary foods that are those that are generally:
- Highly processed
- Contain significant amounts of saturated fat, salt and sugar
- Contain little in the way of important nutrients
- Pack in a large dose of calories/kilojoules
Now you know at We Feed You we’re all about moderation, and not demonising any particular food groups. It might be a glass of two of wine, a fish and chips meal, or a delicious cake for an afternoon tea now and then. These are things we cherish and would never want to give up!
But here’s the thing. If these foods are taking up 30-40% of our energy intake, it’s no longer a very balanced picture. It means that important foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and nutrient rich dairy products are likely to be displaced. And it means a lot of highly processed ingredients that our bodies are having to deal with every day.Bottom line? Sometimes it’s good to take stock, and to re-evaluate what’s going into your shopping trolley every week. Set some boundaries. Make sure you’re buying and eating plenty of healthy foods from the core food groups. And put some thought into easy, simple snacks and lunch box foods that don’t come wrapped in brightly coloured plastic! You don’t need to demonise highly processed food – but maybe we can try not to buy quite so much of it.