What is a Discretionary Calorie?
With the coming of MyPlate, the USDA has done away with the terms “discretionary calorie.” USDA reasoning: What Happened to Discretionary Calories, Choose My Plate.
A discretionary calorie is any calorie consumed after eating all required nutrients for the day. This could include empty calories or helpful calories.
Discretionary calories rarely are above 15% of an individual’s eating for the day. Generally, children and older populations consume more discretionary calories because there is less of a metabolic need. Thus, these populations need to focus on nutrient density in their foods.
As always, before creating a diet plan, please consult with a medical expert.