"Snacking" and "dieting" don't usually go together, which can make it tough to stick with a weight-loss plan if you're the graze-all-day type. But with Weight Watchers, now called WW, you can have your snacks and lose weight too — as long as you're sticking to your allotted points.
Here's how WW's SmartPoints work when it comes to snacks, how to choose a snack that fits with your goals and 10 easy, healthy Weight Watchers snacks to make or buy.
How Do WW SmartPoints Work?
Instead of having you track calories, WW's SmartPoints system calculates a daily points allowance for you based on your height, weight, age, sex and weight-loss goal. Each food item is assigned a specific points value based on its calories, protein, saturated fat and sugar.
A cup of whole-wheat penne pasta is 9 SmartPoints, for example, while strawberries are 0 points.
Each person gets at least 23 SmartPoints a day, plus additional weekly points to use as they choose. Members are encouraged to eat three meals a day and at least two snacks.
How to Choose a Good Weight Watchers Snack
Each day, you are given a certain number of points and how you use them is up to you. Ideally, you should carve out some of the points to be used for snacks throughout the day.
For example, if your plan gives you 23 points, you could plan your day like this:
- Breakfast: 5 points
- Lunch: 5 points
- Dinner: 7 points
This leaves 6 points for snacks. This should be plenty when you consider how many zero-point foods you can incorporate. (Keep in mind that you can roll over up to 4 points for another day in the week.)
When choosing a good snack, you want something that will keep you full. That means you need a healthy amount of fiber or protein — or, ideally, both.
5 Weight Watchers Snacks to Buy
Sometimes, you just get that sweet or salty craving and need to have something that's not on your zero points list. This is where Weight Watchers' branded snacks come in. Each snack already has the points value on the packaging, so the guesswork is done for you.
1. Salt and Vinegar Potato Crisps (2 SmartPoints)
When you really want potato chips but you're not about to ruin your diet, these potato crisps might hit the spot.
Prepackaged for portion control, these crisps are also going to give you 4 grams of dietary fiber to help you reach the daily recommended amount of 25 grams per day for women and 38 for men, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
2. Peanut Butter Mini Bar (2 SmartPoints)
This peanut butter bar is the perfect combo of sweet and salty. There are 12 mini bars in the package and each has 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
Pair with a non-fat plain Greek yogurt to add more protein to your snack time with zero points.
3. Nacho Tortilla Chips (2 SmartPoints)
You might find yourself getting creative with your snacks on WW, because it takes a little planning to ensure you're adding enough variety every day. These tortilla chips would be perfect paired with pico de gallo, which is zero points on the plan.
See? It is possible to have your favorite snacks and pair them with healthy foods to stay full and get extra nutrients in.
4. Mint Cookie Crunch Mini Bar (2 SmartPoints)
Sometimes you just need chocolate, and that's normal. There are 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber in each of these mini bars.
It's probably best to stick with one per day, because you will have some added sugar in these (3 grams per serving). Don't stress too much over that, though. It's less than a teaspoon and still well below the American Heart Association (AHA)'s recommendation of no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
5. Turkey Pepperoni Snack Sticks (1 SmartPoint)
If you're struggling to get enough protein in your snacks, these might be a good option for you. One serving is two snack sticks and that gives you 9 grams of protein.
These do have 470 milligrams of sodium, so if you're watching your sodium, just be aware and eat them in moderation. Pair these with a fruit that has a good amount of potassium to help flush some of that sodium out of your body.
The AHA indicates that potassium-rich foods such as melon, spinach and oranges can help control your blood pressure by getting rid of excess sodium in the body. And the good news is most high-potassium fruits and veggies are zero points on WW.
Buy it: WeightWatchers.com; Price: $7.95 for 8 sticks
5 Homemade Snacks for 1 Point or Less
If buying Weight Watchers snacks is not in the budget, or you just don't have them on hand, you won't run out of snack ideas. Try one of these WW-friendly snacks, each 1 SmartPoint or less.
1. Fruit and Cheddar Cheese (1 SmartPoint)
One ounce of cheddar cheese is 1 SmartPoint, which is the size of a pair of dice. Pair this with an apple and a cup of sliced cucumbers and you've got yourself a lot of food and 7 grams of protein for 1 point.
2. Carrot Sticks and Yogurt Ranch (Zero SmartPoints)
Cut up two small whole carrots into half-inch sticks or measure out 1 cup of baby carrots.
In a small bowl, mix 5 ounces plain fat-free Greek yogurt with 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and one tablespoon chopped fresh chives. Carrots, yogurt and spices are all zero points, so feel free to play around with the spices to mix up the flavors in this dip.
3. Zucchini Chips with Pico de Gallo (Zero SmartPoints)
Cut up one small zucchini into thin slices. Use store-bought or homemade pico de gallo and measure out one-half cup. Dip zucchini chips into the pico de gallo. Since you're eating only vegetables, this snack is "free" on WW.
4. Banana "Ice Cream" (Zero SmartPoints)
If you've never had banana "ice cream," it may become your favorite zero-point snack.
Cut a banana into slices and freeze until solid. Place frozen bananas in a food processor and blend until smooth. Scoop out into a bowl and enjoy. The texture is smooth and creamy, just like ice cream.
You can add frozen fruit for more flavor combos without adding any points.
5. Chicken Breast Cubes with Salsa Verde (Zero SmartPoints)
This might sound more like a meal, but if you need a snack idea that's a little more substantial or you just need a post-workout snack full of protein, try this one out.
Cut up leftover chicken breast into cubes — about a half cup's worth— and dip in salsa verde, which is just roasted tomatillos, onions, jalapeños, cilantro and lime — all zero points and 21 grams of protein.
Always consult with your health care provider if you have any questions about starting a weight-loss program to make sure it's the right one for you.
- Weight Watchers: "Complete List of Foods for ZeroPoints for My WWBlue"
- American Heart Association: "How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure"
- American Heart Association: "Added Sugars"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Appendix 7. Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based on Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations"