7 Filling Dinners for 5 SmartPoints or Less

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Tofu and veggie skewers pack in protein and filling fiber for very few SmartPoints.
Image Credit: Mizina/iStock/GettyImages

If you're following the new myWW program from WW (formerly called Weight Watchers), sticking to your SmartPoints budget doesn't have to be a headache. The trick is building a stockpile of tried-and-true WW-friendly recipes, so you can throw together a quick, tasty meal without worrying about calculating or overspending your daily points.

Here, Jaclyn London, RD, CDN, dietitian and head of nutrition and wellness at WW, explains the SmartPoints system, including how to stretch your points allowance, plus puts her stamp of approval on eight filling recipes — clocking in at 5 SmartPoints or less — that work for any (blue, green or purple) WW eating plan.

How Do You Calculate SmartPoints?

First things first, WW assigns a SmartPoints value to every food and beverage. This number is based on the item's calories, protein, sugar and saturated fat. The more protein a food contains, the lower its SmartPoints value will be. Conversely, more sugar and saturated fat increase the amount.

"Each food plan on the myWW program has a SmartPoints budget — which is personalized to each member based on their age, weight, height and gender," London tells LIVESTRONG.com.

There are also ZeroPoint foods, which have a SmartPoints value of zero and don't have to be weighed, measured or tracked.

"While the list of ZeroPoint foods varies slightly based on the plan you're following, all of these foods form the basis of a health-promoting pattern of eating," London says.

Did you know that keeping a food diary is one of the most effective ways to manage your weight? Download the MyPlate app to easily track calories, stay focused and achieve your goals!

How to Make the Most of SmartPoints

London's motto is always to eat more fruits and veggies more often.

"Adding extra produce to your meals is one of the best ways to create a healthful, balanced dish and feel like you're getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to SmartPoints," she says.

And your plan's list of ZeroPoint foods is a great place to start. Depending on your plan, you can nosh on fruits, veggies, lean proteins and whole grains without spending a single SmartPoint.

"Let's be clear though — it's not a free pass to down a dozen eggs in one sitting or eat nothing but bananas for an entire day," London says.

On the contrary, ZeroPoint foods are "meant to encourage you to eat more real, wholesome foods and make more conscious choices when it comes to food prep and cooking methods," she says.

No matter what meal you're making, London says it should always have a mix of protein, fiber and healthy fats, which will help you feel satisfied longer.

WW-Friendly Recipes

Whether you're a WW newbie or a seasoned SmartPoints pro in need of new ideas, these simple-yet-yummy recipes will help you whip up a WW-friendly meal any day of the week.

Tip

We’ve included SmartPoints values for all three myWW food plans — green, blue and purple. Though most recipes fall within the 5 SmartPoints range, some values vary from plan to plan.

1. Lemon & Caper Grilled Chicken Breast

This high-protein, lean chicken breast is ideal for a meal plan focused on weight loss.
  • Green Plan: 4 SmartPoints
  • Blue Plan: 0 SmartPoints
  • Purple Plan: 0 SmartPoints

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! "A healthful source of protein, chicken adds antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids to your diet," London says.

And the breast boasts even bigger bonuses for weight loss. "It's one of the leanest parts of the bird, packing about 1 to 1.5 grams of saturated fat per 3.5-ounce serving, plus it contains the highest amount of protein (31 grams) compared to skinless chicken thighs (26 grams)," she says.

You could pair this lean poultry with steamed broccoli and baked spaghetti squash without adding to the points value of your meal.

Get the Lemon & Caper Grilled Chicken Breast recipe and nutrition info here.

2. Grilled Vegetable “Burgers”

This plant-based burger is a veggie lover's paradise.
  • Green Plan: 4 SmartPoints
  • Blue Plan: 3 SmartPoints
  • Purple Plan: 3 SmartPoints

"Adding more produce to your diet is always a good idea," says London.

And this "burger" recipe, which is chock full of nutrient-dense vegetables, is a great place to start, especially if you're like the 90 percent of American adults who aren't consuming the recommended amount of fruits and veggies, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For an extra punch of protein, toss an egg on top of your veggie burger. (Eggs are zero points on the blue and purple plans.)

"Depending on size, one egg contains around 8 grams of protein and will help keep you feeling satisfied," says London, who encourages getting creative with cooking methods: From over-easy to sunny-side-up or poached, you have plenty of options. (Just be sure to factor any cooking oil or butter into your points total.)

Get the Grilled Vegetable “Burgers” recipe and nutrition info here.

3. Pan-Grilled Tofu Skewers

These tofu skewers are perfectly seasoned.
  • Green Plan: 2 SmartPoints
  • Blue Plan: 1 SmartPoint
  • Purple Plan: 1 SmartPoint

"Tofu gets a bad rap about being flavorless, but the key to cooking it is adding enough seasoning," London says. "If you get that down, it's a great lean protein swap for nearly every recipe — whether you're vegetarian or not."

Plus, tofu touts a ton of health benefits. Consuming "soy-based protein is linked with lower BMI and improved cholesterol," says London. What's more, tofu ranks fifth among foods highest in heart-healthy essential omega-3 fatty acids, according to the USDA.

But tofu isn't the only all-star ingredient in this low-calorie recipe. London loves that ginger root is used to season these savory skewers. "Ginger is part of an anti-inflammatory pattern of eating and full of immune-boosting nutrients," she says.

And experimenting with flavors like ginger can, well, spice up foods you may be less jazzed about — say, like veggies — and help you get more greens into your meal plan.

Get the Pan-Grilled Tofu Skewers recipe and nutrition info here.

4. Grilled Shrimp Kebab

This shrimp kebab is packed with protein and flavor.
  • Green Plan: 2 SmartPoints
  • Blue Plan: 1 SmartPoint
  • Purple Plan: 1 SmartPoint

This low-fat shrimp kebab piles on a whopping 38 grams of protein per serving, making it ideal for your weight-loss goals.

According to a November 2014 study in Nutrition & Metabolism, a high-protein diet is associated with increased satiety and less body fat, plus it helps you hold onto lean muscle mass when you're in the midst of shedding pounds.

"Shrimp is a great lean protein source that's typically lower in calories than higher-fat meat alternatives," says London, who's a huge advocate for people eating more seafood.

"Plus, shrimp (along with other shellfish like oysters and mussels) is packed with the mineral zinc, which not only boosts your immune system but also helps protect skin cells from damage," she says.

For a well-balanced meal, London suggests stirring in a variety of veggies as well as a whole grain or pulse like quinoa or even lentil pasta (both zero points on the purple plan).

Get the Grilled Shrimp Kebab recipe and nutrition info here.

5. Avo-Egg Salad

Avocado gives this traditional egg salad a major upgrade.
  • Green Plan: 6 SmartPoints
  • Blue Plan: 3 SmartPoints
  • Purple Plan: 3 SmartPoints

"Egg salad is such a classic, and the avocado in this recipe really elevates" the nutritional profile, London says. Eggs supply protein and other essential nutrients like vitamins A, D, B12 and choline, while avocados add a unique mix of heart-healthy fats, water and dietary fiber.

This avo-egg salad would pair perfectly with a piece of 100-percent whole-grain bread. "The combo of protein, fiber and healthy fats will help keep you satisfied until your next meal or snack," London says.

Get the Avo-Egg Salad recipe and nutrition info here.

6. Power Pesto Pasta Salad

Spinach adds a healthy spin to this pesto pasta salad.
  • Green Plan: 5 SmartPoints
  • Blue Plan: 5 SmartPoints
  • Purple Plan: 2 SmartPoints

With 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts:

  • Green Plan: 7 SmartPoints
  • Blue Plan: 7 SmartPoints
  • Purple Plan: 4 SmartPoints

"We all know that spinach is good for us (hello, Popeye!), but the pine nuts in the pesto sauce also help make this a nutrient-packed dish," London says.

"The iron and magnesium in both ingredients improve oxygen flow to your cells and aid in muscle contraction, which can help you feel more energized, especially when you're in a stress-slump," she adds.

For a protein boost, London recommends topping this pesto pasta salad with skinless grilled chicken or shrimp (both zero points on the purple and blue plans), or swapping out traditional pasta for a legume-based variety with simple ingredients like chickpeas or lentils. Just one portion of chickpea flour pasta can serve up to 13 grams of protein, she says.

Get the Power Pesto Pasta Salad recipe and nutrition info here.

7. Mushroom, Spinach and Caramelized Onion Omelet in a Jar

These single-serving veggie omelets in a jar will help you maintain proper portion control.

With shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese:

  • Green Plan: 4 SmartPoints
  • Blue Plan: 2 SmartPoints
  • Purple Plan: 2 SmartPoints

With shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese:

  • Green Plan: 3 SmartPoints
  • Blue Plan: 1 SmartPoints
  • Purple Plan: 1 SmartPoints

"The key to a satisfying, energizing meal is a combo of protein, fat and fiber-filled carbs, and this recipe checks the boxes," London says.

Brimming with baby spinach, portobello mushroom caps and red bell peppers, this savory omelet offers an abundance of good-for-you greens to help you fill your daily quota of veggies.

Plus, it comes pre-portioned in mason jars to keep your serving sizes in check.

To keep you feeling satisfied, add some extra belly-filling fiber with a piece of 100-percent whole grain toast or mix in more vegetables like broccoli or carrots, London says.

Get the Mushroom, Spinach and Caramelized Onion Omelet in a Jar recipe and nutrition info here.

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