Weight Watchers, PointsPlus & Kitchen Parade

This week Weight Watchers overhauled its points system for the first time in thirteen years. Officially, zip-zap the old points are gone and have already been replaced by new PointsPlus values. So far, I like the new PointsPlus program a bunch but here at Kitchen Parade, we like to eat our cake and have it too! Here's what to expect during the next few weeks.

(WATCH THIS PAGE for FURTHER UPDATES I'll post a link to this page in the sidebar and add information as the transition progresses.)

January 3 Update: I've started to update recipes with the new PointsPlus point values. Since Kitchen Parade recipes already err toward healthful, fiber-rich and low-carb ingredients, so far, most recipes are increasing by a single point, some stay the same. Now that the holidays are over, I can devote more time to the updates; once I get some down the road, I'll create a new page with recipes sorted by the new points.

Concord grapes

MY APOLOGIES first, however, to readers who don't follow Weight Watchers. With such a big change, I need to let stay in touch with those who DO follow the program. But I promise, Kitchen Parade will NOT become a "weight loss" "all the time" site. It will remain a source of inspiration for seasonal healthy eating every day. Please bear with me, I'll work hard to make it as seamless as possible for you, too! Once the transition is in process, you won't even notice!


THE BOTTOM LINE

Kitchen Parade and A Veggie Venture will make the transition to PointsPlus over the next while but will NOT abandon the old Weight Watchers points system that so many of us have relied on for so many years.

It's the food-blog version of having our cake cantaloupe and eating it too!


PointsPlus, A FEW DETAILS

For those who are curious about the new system, I'll share a few details. As always, however, I recommend that you stop into your local WW office. They are staffed up for lots of questions and concerns. I found it all very painless and actually quite interesting.

NEW NUTRITION FACTORS The old Weight Watchers point system calculated points from three pieces of data, calories, fat grams and fiber grams. The new Weight Watchers PointsPlus system also uses fat grams and fiber grams but also adds in protein and carbs! This week and next, you may purchase a small WW PointsPlus calculator from a local office for $6, about half price.

NEW DAILY POINTS & WEEKLY ALLOWANCES The minimum number of points is increasing to 29 PlusPoints per day (more points for those currently at higher weights) plus a weekly allowance of another 49 PlusPoints. This doesn't necessarily mean that we'll be eating any more than we already are because PointsPlus values are often higher, especially for foods with higher carbs and lower protein.

Missouri apples

FRUITS! One big change I think we're going to love is that most fresh fruits have zero PlusPoints! Yes, fruit is "free". There are still portion size limits, naturally, but I can tell you that in the last couple of days, I've really loved setting aside an apple and some grapes for mid-day snacks. I used to budget a couple of pieces every day using the One-Point Fruit Servings. But no more! Just wait til summer when the fruits are so beautiful!

VEGETABLES! Nearly all fresh vegetables are still 'free' - that is, they have zero PointsPlus values. For winter, there's one that is now 'free' that has me over the moon with excitement, a whole cup of winter squash (think butternut squash and acorn squash)! I literally walked out of the Weight Watchers introduction meeting and bought a butternut squash!

POWER FOODS The new PointsPlus program will nudge our food choices toward what Weight Watchers calls 'power foods'. Call me giddy that so many of these healthy whole-food 'power foods' are already every-day ingredients in the recipes here at Kitchen Parade and also at A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables. Readers, this means that if you like my collection of recipes, I think you'll adjust easily to the new PointsPlus values!


ANNOUNCING THE FIRST PointsPlus TOOL!

I love that Weight Watchers still lets us eat whatever we want. But now WW is nudging our food choices toward what they call Power Foods. These are healthy real-food, whole-food ingredients that are already the very heart of Kitchen Parade recipes.

Check out the Weight Watchers PointsPlus Power Foods.

It lists all the Weight Watchers Power Foods and links to Kitchen Parade recipes that use these ingredients.


DURING THE TRANSITION

ADJUSTMENT Yes, it will take awhile for those of us who convert to get comfortable with the new system and to re-memorize all our favorite foods.

STICKING with the EXISTING WEIGHT WATCHERS POINT SYSTEM for NOW? No problem! At Kitchen Parade and A Veggie Venture, the two point systems can happily live side by side. I will continue to calculate and publish points from the the old system, right alongside the new PointsPlus values. I will continue to add new recipes to the Weight Watchers Recipes, sorted by points, the old points.

EXCITED about the NEW PointsPlus SYSTEM? Me too, actually! All new recipes will be published with the new PointsPlus values. As always, I do my own nutrition analysis and point calculations. Watch for new tools especially for Weight Watchers using the new system.

TRANSITION PERIOD It will take me some time to manually calculate and publish the new PointsPlus values for some 1500 recipes. It will take me a bit to create the new tools. During the transition, since all my recipes already include the fat, protein, carbs and fiber data needed to calculate the new PointsPlus values, with a calculator, you'll be able to calculate them yourself.

WORKING SMART My priority during the transition will be to convert the lowest-point recipes and the most popular recipes.

Kitchen Parade NUTRITION DATA + PointsPlus CALCULATOR = PointsPlus values
In the mean time, because Kitchen Parade recipes include nutrition estimates, if you have a PointsPlus Calculator, you can calculate the PointsPlus values yourself. Through mid December, Weight Watchers offices are selling the calculators at half price.

SO THAT'S IT! What do you think about the new PointsPlus program? about the two living side-by-side at Kitchen Parade and A Veggie Venture? Talk to me, WWs!

If you like, check out the poll on the right side of this page, below the first ad, to weigh in (tee hee) on the new PointsPlus program.


Please Know

Kitchen Parade is not affiliated with Weight Watchers, more information here. Especially for a major change like this one, I really recommend relying not on websites like mine but on Weight Watchers itself. I cannot and will not attempt to share all the details of the new PointsPlus program with readers.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Become a Kitchen Parade fan on Facebook! If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture.





© Copyright 2010 Kitchen Parade





I don't know how I feel about the new program yet. I was doing so well on the old one. I love that fruits are free. So far today I've had an orange, a banana and a yogurt- only 2 points! I guess the problem will be to make sure I'm following all of the other guidelines and making sure I eat enough points for the day. It's a big transition!
 
Lori ~ I had that same issue yesterday, it was hard to actually eat enough points. I think the point is to use them as "sweets" and to fill up on healthier main dishes. At least I think so ...

Must go find some lunch and some points!
 
I'm a WW closing in on my goal weight and now have 29-points rather than 18. From what I've seen so far, for those of us that did not eat a lot of processed or low-fiber foods not much changes. In fact, I think it will be difficult for me to reach the 29 threshold every day. For example, for lunch I usually eat 8 oz. of fat-free plain yogurt and an apple or other fruit. This used to be 2 pts yogurt, 1 pt apple. Now it 3 pts yogurt, 0 pts apple. But, I do like the changes because they are healthier overall.

I use lots of recipes from this site and will be making Mom's Blueberry Coffee Cake again on Saturday for WW dinner guests!

Susan
Just north of Boston, MA
 
I just finished my first week on the new program and lost 2.4. I'm a LT, and had gained about 10 lbs and have been PAYING!!! The new plan has been a real gift and the fact that fruit is zero points means no more banana guilt. Sounds silly, but it was there. I'm glad that WW has revamped the program to cleaner, healthier eating.
 
I am new to WW, joined in Oct.2010. I don't mind the change, it is nice because I to love bananas. I lost 41 pounds going on 7 years in Jan. Gain almost 10 pounds. I am on my last 4 pounds now, I catch myself eating more veggies, and fruit now for in between snack. I asked the question at WW meeting,"What if I can't eat all my 29 points". I was told that they really want you to eat them, but if you are satisfied, and full, that is ok. But if your eating way to low of points, they will go over your journal eating plans and see maybe change something to add more points. I walk and do in home walking tapes, love them, it keeps you moving at least 30 min. aday. I don't eat the extra points for the week or my excersie points, don't have to, but why use them if your trying to lose weight. :). Found this Kitchen Parade on accident, I love this webiste. This is a Great support for me for trying to find WW lost recipes. Thank you so much for this site, BLessing from me,,,
 
Happy New Year!

I am happy with the new PP plan. Fruits are zero, as they should be. I used to buy the 100 calorie snacks, and the lite versions of food, not any more!

Colleen in Pittsburgh
 
When I started following Weight Watchers Plus I was 191 lbs and had 29 points. I am down 9.6 lbs in 6 weeks. Where can I find out my allowable points at the weight I am now? Live too far away to attend weight watcher meetings so I am just following the weight watchers Plus cookbook and my food scale. Doing lots of exercising and concentrating on eating healthy!
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna