Weight Watchers is the brand name associated with an international network of members who attend weight loss support meetings, and also participate in a related eating plan based on a proprietary points system. According to the official Weight Watchers website, point values are assigned to foods based on their fat, fiber and calorie content. Weight Watchers strives to keep the counting system simple, and regularly publishes point reference guides for it's members. Points for thousands of foods are indexed by category.
Main Dish Proteins
Weight Watchers favors lean proteins like fish, legumes, poultry without the skin, and well-trimmed cuts of meat. In the beef category, a 4 oz. filet mignon is valued at six points, while 4 oz. of sliced flank steak is valued at four points. Three oz. of regular untrimmed beef brisket is valued at nine points.
Chicken breast cooked without the skin or bone accounts for three points for 3 oz., but a similar portion of breast cooked with skin and bone counts for five. One fried fast food chicken drumstick counts for four points by itself.
Most basic pork cuts carry similar point values, with 3 oz. of tenderloin at three points, and the same amount of center loin at four points. But you can count two points for just 1 oz. of kielbasa. Many varieties of white cooked fish, such as cod, grouper, haddock, perch and tilapia, tally four points for a 6 oz. filet. Six oz. of cooked salmon, however, counts for six points. Shellfish points include one point for four large scallops, 10 points for 1 cup of sweet and sour shrimp, and three points for 1 cup of canned crabmeat.
Other main dish proteins might include eggs at two points each, or egg whites, which count for only one point per three whites. Many beans, such as black, garbanzo, pinto or navy, count for four points per cup, cooked. Canned vegetarian baked beans are also four points per cup, but traditional recipe baked beans count for up to 10 points per cup.
Fruits, Vegetables and Grains
Many fruits count as two points for average portions. Examples include one fresh large apple, one cup of slice banana, or one large pear. Only one point is used for several berries and citrus fruit servings, for example 1 cup of blackberries or blueberries, or a large tangerine or orange.
Numerous vegetables are actually point-free under the Weight Watchers system. Raw spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, fresh mushrooms, peppers, eggplant, bok choy, raw carrots and asparagus are a few examples. One cup of cooked corn kernels is valued at two points and a cup of cooked carrots is one point.
Whole grains and light breads receive lower points than processed grain and bread products. Light white and wheat sandwich breads are often calculated at just one point for two slices, as is whole grain high fiber bread. Regular white, wheat, french or rye breads rack up two points per slice.
One cup of rice, white or brown, totals four points, while 1 cup of fried rice totals eight points. A cup of cooked pasta is also four points, but whole wheat pasta counts for only three points per cup.
Milk carries the following point values per cup: whole milk, four points; 2 percent milk, three points and 1 percent or skim milk, two points. Apple, orange and tomato juices all carry four points per cup. Black coffee or tea count for zero points.
Standard servings of most alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, vodka, rum or brandy, count for two to four points each. Blended drinks naturally bring in more points to tally, with margarita mix counting for six points per cup, and pina colada mix counting for eight points per cup.
Weight Watchers recommends healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables, plus nuts and dairy products, in moderation. Points for nuts include four points for 1 oz. of peanuts, pistachio nuts or hazelnuts, and five points for the same amount of walnuts. Points for popular dairy snacks include four points for a cup of low-fat sweetened yogurt and two points for an ounce of part-skim mozzarella.
Less nutritious snacks and desserts tend to count for higher points. For instance, potato chips tally four points for just 14 chips, and a plain chocolate candy bar counts for 6 points. A small slice of pumpkin pie racks up nine points, and that is without the whipped cream, which adds another three points per 1/4 cup.