A coached plan with online support such as Weight Watchers really can help you lose more weight, compared to trying to lose weight on your own. Any food can go on a Weight Watchers grocery list, but certain foods permit you to eat more on the SmartPoints system, so you feel optimally full, lose weight and stay energized. Maximize what you can eat for the allowed points by choosing foods high in fiber and protein. Create a list that helps making these good food choices easier.
The Weight Watchers Plan
Weight Watchers launched Beyond the Scale, a revision to its well-known weight-loss program, in late 2015. The program emphasizes food quality, giving you a certain number of SmartPoints daily; foods are assigned points based on their calories, saturated fat, protein and sugar content. A grocery list that maximizes your points includes lots of lean protein, fresh vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy, whole grains and some key unsaturated fats.
Put Lean Proteins on Your List
Lean proteins are the foundation of the new Beyond the Scale plan. A food’s protein content lowers its SmartPoints value, which means you can eat larger servings of lean protein and stay within your point limits. Lean cuts of beef, such as flank steak, as well as white meat poultry and tuna canned in water should feature on your list. Add frozen or fresh fish to vary your protein intake. Beans, lentils, eggs, non-fat dairy and tofu are vegetarian options.
When you choose lean proteins, you minimize your intake of saturated fat, which has a higher point value, because consuming too much of it increases your risk of developing high cholesterol and heart disease.
When shopping, avoid proteins with breading or added fat, such as fish frozen in butter sauce. Processed meats, including hot dogs and bacon, have higher point values too, so leave them off your list. You may enjoy some deli meats, especially those that offer reduced sodium and contain less than 1/2 gram of fat per 2-ounce serving.
Whole Grains on Weight Watchers
Also include whole grains on your Weight Watchers grocery list. Plan to make brown and wild rice, whole-grain pasta, barley, bulgur, buckwheat and polenta as side dishes for meals. Put thin or light bread slices or tortillas on the list, using these to wrap sandwiches or burgers; whole-grain options are preferred, but not required on the program.
Cold, whole-grain cereals that contain 1 gram of sugar and 3 grams, or more, of fiber are a good breakfast option, as is hot whole-grain cereal, provided it doesn't contain added sugar, dried fruits or nuts, which boost the SmartPoints value. Air-popped popcorn or microwave popcorn labeled as 94-percent fat free is a good snack.
Leave flavored rice mixes, white rice and white-flour pasta and breads off your list. These foods have minimal fiber, which is key in slowing digestion so you feel full sooner and for longer.
Add Fresh Produce to the Grocery List
Put fresh, frozen and canned fruits on your list – but make sure they don’t have added sugar. If you enjoy dried fruits, choose those without added sugar – such as raisins – and keep servings to a minimum because they can be calorie-dense.
Most vegetables belong on your shopping list. Choose fresh whenever possible, but canned and frozen options without added sauce, fat or salt are also good choices. Put watery, fibrous vegetables at the top of your list and eat them with abandon; these are considered free foods that don’t count toward your daily SmartPoints value. Dark green lettuces, kale, spinach, green beans, cauliflower and eggplant are easy-to-find types. Purchase smaller quantities of corn, peas and potatoes because they have higher point values.
Healthy Fats, Dairy and Condiments
Unsaturated fats should make up the majority of fats on your list. These include flaxseed, olive, safflower and sunflower oils, as well as avocados, raw nuts and seeds.
Weight Watchers recommends fat-free dairy products, such as skim milk, nonfat cottage or cream cheese and fat-free plain yogurt. Soy milk, cheese and yogurt are suitable non-dairy substitutions. Plain coffee, tea, diet soda and club soda also belong on your list, provided they don't have added sugar.
Put items on your list that add flavor to plain vegetables, proteins and whole grains without adding points. Garlic, shallots, herbs and spice blends – without added sugar or salt – all make the list. Hot pepper sauce, ketchup, soy sauce and mustard are also OK, as are any mayonnaise, margarines, salad dressings or sour creams that are fat free.
- Weight Watchers: Shopping List
- Weight Watchers: The SmartPoints Plan
- Weight Watchers: Did You Know?
- Annals of Internal Medicine: Efficacy of Commercial Weight-Loss Programs: An Updated Systematic Review
- Weight Watchers: Simply Filling Foods List
- American Heart Association: Saturated Fats
- British Journal of Nutrition: Dietary Protein - Its Role in Satiety, Energetics, Weight Loss and Health