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How to Calculate Weight Watchers Points With Vegetables

author image Amber Smith
Amber Smith is health and fitness editor at "The Syracuse Post-Standard," where she has worked since 1988, specializing in medicine, health and fitness. She has also written for "Woman's Day," "Parenting," "Weight Watchers Magazine," DiscoveryHealth.com and Cancersource.com. She blogs about dementia at DementiAwareness.blogspot.com.
How to Calculate Weight Watchers Points With Vegetables
Carrots are 0 points raw; 1 point for a cup if they're cooked. Photo Credit vegetable image by SGackowska from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Vegetables have a Weight Watchers “points” value that ranges from 0 to 3 points per serving, depending on a particular vegetable's calories and fiber content. (Fresh vegetables do not contain fat, the third piece of the equation that Weight Watchers uses to assign point values to foods.) Determining the point value of various vegetables does not have to be expensive or tricky.

Step 1

Understand what counts as a serving. For leafy vegetables (spinach, lettuce) 1 cup is a serving. For other vegetables, a half cup counts as a serving. For frozen and canned medleys and blends, refer to the nutrition label.

Step 2

Learn how to read the nutrition label on the back of frozen and canned vegetables. Key information is the number of calories, fat grams and fiber grams per serving—and the number of servings per container. In general, the fewer the calories and the higher the fiber, the lower the point value.

Step 3

Use the mathematical formula Weight Watchers uses to determine a food’s point value. The equation involves three steps:
Divide the number of calories by 50. Then, divide the number of fat grams by 12. Add those numbers together. Then figure which is less: the amount of fiber or the number 4. Take whichever is less and divide that number by 5. Take the calories-and-fat number and subtract from it the fiber number to get the "points" value, which is rounded to the nearest whole or half number.

Step 4

Purchase a food companion booklet or “Pointsfinder” calculator from Weight Watchers, or an iPhone application that includes point values for vegetables—and keep them readily available.

Step 5

Learn which vegetables are zero points, so you will not need to calculate them. They include asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, raw carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, endive, escarole, green or wax beans, greens, hearts of palm, jicama, lettuce, mixed green salad, mushrooms, okra, peppers, unsweetened pickles, pimientos, fresh pumpkin, radishes, sauerkraut, scallions, spinach, sprouts, spaghetti squash, summer squash, tomatoes, turnips, watercress and zucchini squash.

Step 6

Memorize which of your favorite vegetables do have "points" values. Some examples:

One point: 1 cup each of artichoke hearts, cooked carrots, cooked onion, snow peas and winter squash.

Two points: ¼ cup avocado, ½ cup chickpeas or mashed potatoes, 1 cup corn, cooked parsnips or green peas.

Three points: ½ cup marinated mushrooms, or one 5-inch sweet potato or yam.

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