What makes Weight Watchers stand out from other diet programs is that you can eat whatever you like because there are no off-limit foods. However, if you're eating fast food and cake, you'll use up your points on a small amount of food and may end up being very hungry. To help you make better choices, and fill you up, most fresh fruits and veggies on the Weight Watchers plan are zero points, which means you can eat them without adding to your daily point total. It's a good idea to consult your doctor before starting any weight loss program.
About Weight Watchers Points
Instead of calorie counting, Weight Watchers helps you lose weight by counting points. Most Weight Watchers followers are familiar with PointsPlus, which is a system that assigns points based on calories, fiber, carb and protein content. However, in December 2015, Weight Watchers introduced their new system for calculating point values, called SmartPoints, which uses calories, protein, saturated fat and sugars to determine food point values. The goal of the new point system is to help you make healthier food choices, including foods high in protein and low in saturated fat and sugar. While the calculation for determining points has changed, the points value for fruits and veggies hasn't, according to Weight Watchers.
Points for Fruit
All fresh fruits on the Weight Watchers diet have 0 points. This includes fresh apricots, apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, plums, pineapple and grapes. Canned fruit packed in its own juice also has zero points, along with frozen fruit without any added sugar. Serving size does not effect point value for these fruits in their fresh form; they still count as 0 no matter how much you eat.
You do have to count points for dried fruit, however. A 1/4-cup serving of raisins, dried figs or dried apricots has 4 points, while the same serving of dates has 6 points. A dried fruit mix has 6 points per 1/4-cup serving.
Canned fruit packed in syrup also has points. A 1/2-cup serving of peaches packed in extra light syrup has 3 points, while the same serving packed in light syrup has 4 points. A 1/2-cup serving of mandarin oranges packed in light syrup has 5 points, and a 1/2-cup serving of fruit salad packed in heavy syrup has 7 points.
Fruit juice contains points, too. There are 6 points in a cup of orange juice, 7 in a cup of pineapple juice and 10 points in a cup of prune juice.
Points for Non-Starchy Vegetables
Like fresh fruit, non-starchy vegetables also have 0 points on the Weight Watchers plan. Non-starchy vegetables are naturally low in calories and carbs, and a good source of fiber. Examples of non-starchy vegetables include broccoli, spinach, carrots, celery, lettuce greens, green beans, Brussels sprouts, kale, zucchini and cauliflower. Winter squash, including acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash, are also 0 point foods on Weight Watchers. Portion size doesn't effect point value; you can fill your plate with these low-calorie foods, and it won't count toward your daily points value.
Vegetable juice is not a points-free food, however, and has 2 points per cup.
Points for Starchy Vegetables
Starchy vegetables are higher in calories and carbs than non-starchy vegetables and are not 0-point foods. The points value for these foods varies depending on the item. For example, a 1/2-cup serving of peas or corn has 2 points, while a 1/2-cup serving of a plain sweet potato or lima beans has 3 points. A medium plain baked potato has 5 points.
Beans, lentils and split peas are also a type of starchy vegetable. However, due to their protein content, they are also sometimes counted as a protein food. On Weight Watchers, a 1/2-cup serving of any cooked beans or legumes, including chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, split peas and lentils, has 3 points.
- U.S. News and World Report: Weight Watchers Diet
- PR Newswire: Weight Watchers Introduces the Beyond the Scale Program: A Personalized Approach to Eat Healthier, Discover Fitness That Fits, and Fuel Inner Strength
- Healthy Weight Forum: The New Weight Watchers Point Plus Program
- Weight Watchers: Food List
- American Diabetes Association: Non-Starchy Vegetables
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: ChooseMyPlate.gov: Beans and Peas are Unique Foods