and "Discretionary Calorie" Treats
new feature added with MyPyramid is the "discretionary calorie."
describes discretionary calories as follows:
your grocery store aisles. Many foods, such as snacks, cookies and frozen
bars, are now packaged in 100-calorie (or less) portion sizes.
a financial budget, the essentials are items like rent and food.
The extras are things like movies and vacations. In a calorie
budget, the essentials are the minimum calories required
to meet your nutrient needs. By selecting the lowest fat and no-sugar-added
forms of foods in each food group you would make the best nutrient
buys. Depending on the foods you choose, you may be
able to spend more calories than the amount required to meet your
nutrient needs. These calories are the extras that
can be used on luxuries like solid fats, added sugars, and alcohol,
or on more food from any food group. They
are your discretionary calories.
person has an allowance for some discretionary calories. But,
many people have used up this allowance before lunch-time!
Most discretionary calorie allowances are
very small, between 100 and 300 calories, especially for those
who are not physically active.
100-calorie (or less) treats are available that will fit into the
"discretionary calorie" allowance for most MyPYramid meal
a little planning to assure nutrient needs are met from the other food
groups, you can easily spend your discretionary calories on a snack or
dessert from one of these items. For more information about calculating
the amount of each food group you need daily and your remaining "discretionary
calories," visit mypyramid.gov
Check the serving size of foods for the number of calories. For example,
I recently picked up package of frozen bars and the serving size was
listed as two. When I divided the calories by the number of bars per
"serving," they were less than 100 calories per bar.
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C. Henneman, MS, RD
University of Nebraska
Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County
Phone: (402) 441-7180
Web site: lancaster.unl.edu/food
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more information about
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