AMBER (Choose carefully)

The following information is an extract from Healthy choices: food and drink classification guide (PDF).

 

The Healthy Choices guidelines classify foods and drinks as GREEN, AMBER or RED based on their nutritional value.

AMBER (choose carefully) foods and drinks should be selected carefully and consumed in moderation. Although AMBER items may provide some valuable nutrients they can:

  • contribute to excess energy (kilojoule) intake
  • contain moderate amounts of saturated fat, added sugar and/or salt.
     

AMBER options may be healthier varieties of items that are usually in the RED category. For example, sugar-sweetened soft drinks are RED. Diet soft drinks contain less energy and are AMBER .

Healthier choices in the AMBER category include less saturated fat, added sugar and/or salt or more fibre. Adding GREEN ingredients to AMBER foods and drinks is a good way to make AMBER items healthier.

Use the Common foods and drinks classification guide (Healthy choices: food and drink classification guide, page 28) to help you identify healthier AMBER choices.

 

AMBER foods and drinks

 

Foods and drinks in the AMBER category

Below is a summary of foods and drinks in the AMBER category. For more AMBER choices refer to the Common foods and drinks classification guide (Healthy choices: food and drink classification guide, page 28).

 

Grain (cereal) foods

 

Fruit and vegetables

  • Canned fruit or stewed fruit with added sugar (for example in syrup or jelly)
  • Dried fruit in serve sizes up to 30 g
  • Some fruit leathers, straps and dried fruit bars that are 100 per cent dried fruit with no added sugar
  • At least 99 per cent fruit juice with no added sugar in serve sizes up to 250 ml
  • Ice blocks, ice crushes, gelato and sorbet based on pure fruit juice with no added sugar in serve sizes up to 250 ml
  • Vegetables roasted in oil, marinated and pickled vegetables, olives

(A serve of fruit juice in the Australian Dietary Guidelines is 125 ml. For practicality, the maximum serve size for AMBER fruit juices is 250 ml.)

 

Milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives

  • Regular-fat plain milk
  • Regular-fat forms of cheese
  • Regular-fat plain or flavoured yoghurt and
  • custard
  • Reduced-fat flavoured milk and flavoured milk
  • alternatives that are between 900–1,600 kJ per
  • serve as sold
  • Regular-fat flavoured milk and flavoured milk alternatives that are equal to or less than 1,600 kJ per serve as sold
 

Meat and alternatives

  • Meat or poultry with visible skin or fat
  • Fish canned in brine, oil or flavoured sauce
  • Some meat products and lean, processed meats that meet the AMBER nutrient criteria (Healthy choices: food and drink classification guide, page 19) for example some uncrumbed/crumbed burgers patties, balls or strips and some lean, reduced sodium deli meats (roast beef/turkey breast slices, pastrami, chicken breast pieces)
 

Nuts and seeds

  • Salted nuts and seeds
  • Nut and seed pastes with added sugar, salt or oil
 

Unsaturated fats and oils

Mono- or poly-unsaturated margarines and oils such as canola, olive, peanut, sesame, sunflower, safflower, soybean, flaxseed.

 

Single hot-food items, ready to eat meals and snack foods

Items that meet the AMBER nutrient criteria (Healthy choices: food and drink classification guide, pages 19–20).

This includes some:

  • savoury-topped breads and pizzas with wholemeal flour and reduced-fat cheese
  • steamed dim sims and spring rolls
  • oven-baked potato products
  • ready to eat meals, mixed hot-food dishes and plated dinners
  • savoury snack foods, biscuits and crispbreads
  • wholemeal muffins or scones with added fruit and vegetables
  • uncoated, un-iced sweet biscuits
  • ice-creams, milk or soy-based ice confections and dairy desserts made with reduced-fat milk.
 

Drinks

  • Regular-fat plain milk
  • Reduced-fat flavoured milk and flavoured milk alternatives that are between 900–1,600 kJ preserve as sold
  • Regular-fat flavoured milk and flavoured milk alternatives that are equal to or less than 1,600 kJ per serve as sold
  • Fruit and vegetable juices with no added sugaring serve sizes up to 250 ml
  • Ice crushes (for example Slurpees™ and slushies)based on at least 99 per cent fruit juice with nodded sugar in serve sizes of up to 250 ml
  • Artificially sweetened drinks with no added sugar. It is recommended to provide these drinks in the smallest serve size available (for example, less than 375 ml cans)
  • Artificially sweetened energy drinks with no added sugar in serve sizes up to 250 ml

 

 

Guidelines for the AMBER category

To encourage people to choose AMBER foods and drinks carefully you can:
  • reduce the amount and variety of AMBER foods and drinks offered
  • provide AMBER items in smaller serve sizes
  • provide healthier choices within the AMBER category.
     
Do not let AMBER foods and drinks dominate

AMBER foods and drinks should not dominate the choices available. Offering mostly AMBER items will provide excess kilojoules at the expense of nutrient-rich GREEN options that are needed for optimal health and vitality.

 

Do not promote AMBER foods and drinks at the expense of GREEN choices

This includes:

  • product placement in cabinets, shelves, fridges, refrigerated cabinets, bain maries and vending machines
  • product placement in high-traffic areas such as reception desks, counters in waiting areas, entrances and exits of food outlets, beside cash registers and in dining areas
  • promotion or advertising on counters, cabinets, ridges, vending machines, menu boards, staff notice boards, in lifts and via promotional stands and product displays.
     
Avoid large serve sizes

Today there is a general trend towards serving or packaging foods and drinks in larger portions, making it easier to consume excess energy (kilojoules). Offer moderate portions instead.

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