Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers

Now with One-Point SmartPoint Servings for Fruit


All our favorite fruits, conveniently calculated in one-point measures for Weight Watchers. For any one who's ever wondered, What's the best fruit for Weight Watchers? How many grapes are in one Weight Watchers point? Now all the data is here, in one quick and easy reference list.
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Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers ♥ KitchenParade.com. Weight Watchers Works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. How & why to count fruit points with SmartPoints. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit. How to think about fruit and losing weight.

But Wait. Isn't Fruit Free with Weight Watchers? Yes, It Is.

FULL DISCLOSURE Weight Watchers' official Freestyle program calls fruit "free". WW currently assigns zero points to fruit. You don't have to count fruit! In fact, fruit is just one of the 200 "free foods" in Weight Watchers' Freestyle program.

So, really, how can there be "SmartPoints" for fruit???

Well ......... this page is for anyone whose weight loss via Weight Watchers has stalled and thinks that eating "free" fruit might be a culprit. This page respectfully suggests that some WW members (including me) can benefit from counting fruit points to get back on track with weight loss or weight maintenance.

Weight Watchers Works.
But Free Fruit Doesn't Work for Everyone.


Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers ♥ KitchenParade.com. Weight Watchers Works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. How & why to count fruit points with SmartPoints. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit. How to think about fruit and losing weight.

I love how WW teaches us to eat smart. And for some people, choosing "free" fruit instead of sweets or chips is a smart choice. But "free fruit" just doesn't work for me. I have to either avoid fruit entirely or count the points. When I count the points, I lose. When I eat fruit, even a couple of pieces of fruit a day, I don't.

So I'm going out on a limb here, parting paths with Weight Watchers' official point calculations. I want to be 100% transparent about that decision.

If free fruit works for you, then this page isn't for you.

But I'm listening to my body and watching my scale and holding tight to what works for me with Weight Watchers and making personal adjustments to what doesn't.

And that means ... fruit has points, SmartPoints, WW's current point-calculation system.

So if like me, fruit is your candy, you know why you've found this page. If fruit is your downfall in Weight Watchers, you understand how easy it is to eat enough fruit that your weight loss journey has stalled or just isn't happening fast enough.






What Fruits Are Free in the Official Weight Watchers Program?

This information in this section reflects Weight Watchers' official Freestyle program that WW introduced in late 2016.


Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers ♥ KitchenParade.com. Weight Watchers Works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. How & why to count fruit points with SmartPoints. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit. How to think about fruit and losing weight.


    FREE FRUIT
  • All fruits are free, whether fresh fruit, frozen fruit or canned fruit.
  • BUT only whole fruit and cut up fruit are free.
  • AND only unsweetened fruit is free.
    SOME FORMS of FRUIT HAVE POINTS (that is, ARE NOT FREE)
  • Fruit juice is not free (except lemon juice and lime juice).
  • Dried fruit is not free.
  • Sweetened fruit is not free.
  • Fruit smoothies are not free.
  • The liquid in unsweetened canned fruit (i.e., the fruit is canned in its own juice) is not free.
  • Some vegetables often treated like fruit (avocados and rhubarb, for example) are not free.

Does WW Allow Unlimited Fruit Consumption? NO!

Does WW Even Encourage Eating Lots of Fruit? NO!

Weight Watchers is quick to state that free fruit doesn't mean unlimited fruit.

Here's what WW says:

"Fruits and vegetables aren’t magically calorie-free just because most of them are zero SmartPoints values. We encourage you to eat fruits and vegetables because they are nutritious, satisfying, and tasty."

"If you’re eating more fruits and vegetables than you used to, but you’re using them for healthy snacks, to bulk up your meals, or as a tide-me-over when you’re down to the last few SmartPoints values for the day or week, then great! If you’re overeating bananas because they’re “free,” you might want to pull back a bit. Nutshell: Let your hunger, and your weight loss, be your guide."

Source Your Questions About Fruits & Veggies


Are Bananas Free? Really???! YES.

In the official Weight Watchers Freestyle program, bananas are free, to the elation of many members who proclaim triumphantly, "I eat bananas and I'm still losing weight!"

Good on them. Me? I weighed a banana the other day. Without Freestyle, a five-ounce banana would be 7 points – seven points and a full 25% of a day's worth of 23 points.




Weight Watchers' Zero-Point Fruit List


Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers ♥ KitchenParade.com. Weight Watchers Works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. How & why to count fruit points with SmartPoints. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit. How to think about fruit and losing weight.

  • APPLES & PEARS: Apples, crabapples and pears
  • BERRIES: Blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries
  • CITRUS: grapefruit, kumquats, lemon juice & zest, lime juice & zest, oranges (including blood oranges), pomelo/pummelo, tangelos and tangerines
  • GRAPES: black grapes, green grapes and red grapes
  • MELONS: Cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon
  • STONE FRUITS: Apricots, cherries, fresh dates (fresh dates only, dried dates don't qualify), mangoes, nectarines, peaches, plums and plumcots/pluots
  • TROPICAL FRUITS: Bananas, guava, jackfruit, papayas, passionfruit and pineapple
  • OTHER: Pomegranate, fresh figs (sorry, no dried figs), kiwifruit (kiwi) and star fruit/carambola
  • FRUIT PREPARATIONS: Unsweetened cooked fruit, unsweetened applesauce, unsweetened & drained fruit cocktail, unsweetened fruit salad and unsweetened melon balls

What If a Fruit Isn't On the Free List?

If a fruit isn't specifically named on Weight Watchers free fruit list, it's safe to assume that the unlisted fruit is also free on Weight Watchers Freestyle program. It's probably:

  • A fruit variety (for example, honeycrisps, the apples)
  • A branded fruit (for example Cuties, the tiny tangerines)
  • A fruit known by multiple names (muskmelon for cantaloupe, say)
  • A fruit mostly available via foraging (pawpaws, say)
  • A fruit that's not widely available in the U.S. (lychee and durian and rambutan and cherimoya and mangosteen and and and ... ... ... just sayin')



History of Weight Watchers & Fruit


Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers ♥ KitchenParade.com. Weight Watchers Works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. How & why to count fruit points with SmartPoints. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit. How to think about fruit and losing weight.

OLD POINTS (at least 2002-2010) When I first joined WW in 20002, fruit had points. In fact, I first posted this page back in 2010 to identify common fruits in convenient, one-point servings. I remember so well, I got 18 points per day and I used one-point fruit servings for small snacks and to fill up a day's point count. A whole banana back then? Two points!


POINTS PLUS (late 2010-late 2015) Weight Watchers introduced a new point-counting system called PointsPlus (ProPoints outside the U.S.). Many fruits joined vegetables as "free" foods with "zero" points. During the PointsPlus era, Weight Watchers designated many fruits as PointsPlus Power Foods, encouraging us to eat these more often than other foods. PointsPlus made many favorite foods more "expensive" in points but also added more points to the daily allotment, up to a whopping 29 (later reduced to 26).

Weight Watchers members who switched from Old Points to PointsPlus started to grumble about losing less or losing more slowly or even gaining weight. Dietitians unaffiliated with WW questioned the wisdom of free fruit.

Sources: Personal experience and observation plus New York Times.


SMARTPOINTS (late 2015-present) Weight Watchers introduced a new point-counting system called SmartPoints which assigns higher values/points to higher-fat, higher-carb and higher-sugar foods and recipes. Fruit remained free.

Many of us began double-tracking our food consumption, points to calculate how much to eat but separate total calorie, carb and protein counts to manage what to eat.


FREESTYLE (late 2016-present) WW kept its SmartPoint point-counting system but added many more foods to its list of ZeroPoint free foods, calling it "Freestyle". Fruit remained free. Double-tracking continued. At this time of this writing, mid 2019, this is where we are.


A PREDICTION It's my belief that WW calls fruit "free" to encourage people who don't already eat enough vegetables and fruits to make those healthy choices vs chips and brownies and all things sweet and salty. This is good!

But I also believe that one of the reasons why WW keeps calling fruit "free" is because fruit is so darned "expensive" when calculated with SmartPoints!


For example, strawberries.

  • IN OLD POINTS Up until late 2010, a full 12 ounces of strawberries added up to 100 calories and 1 point. Those twelve ounces of strawberries made up 5.5% of a day's points.
  • IN SMART POINTS Now, 12 ounces of strawberries adds up to the same 100 calories but a massive 5 points! And it eats up almost 22% of a day's points!

So I suspect that some time soon, armed with all the data it gathers from members using the WW app, WW will make changes to how it treats fruit.

Better yet, I hope that WW will tally calorie, carb and protein information on its app. Who else would like to stop double-counting?!




One-Point Servings of Fruit


Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers ♥ KitchenParade.com. Weight Watchers Works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. How & why to count fruit points with SmartPoints. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit. How to think about fruit and losing weight.

My fridge is often more fruit stand than food cooler, especially during summer when there's no resisting the siren call of rainbow-colored perfectly fresh fruit. But I'm counting Weight Watchers points (religiously! finally!) and we all know how fruit calories add up.andup.andUP.

The best defense is offense, i.e., hard facts. Here I've calculated how much of common fruits add up to just one WW SmartPoint. It's like 100-calorie candy packs except 100% fruit and Weight Watchers friendly!

In full disclosure, I'll say it again, counting points for fruit does not comply with Weight Watchers Freestyle program which calls fruit "free".

PRO TIP Weigh a fruit just once, then put it into a dish and "eye" how full the dish is. From then on, just eyeball it, there's no reason to pull out the scale again and again.


RESOURCES This is my kitchen scale, it's a life-saver. My Disclosure Promise



One-Point SmartPoint Fruit Servings for Weight Watchers

~ using the official WW SmartPoints algorithm to calculate points ~
~ but respectfully ignoring that WW says "fruit is free" ~

2.5 ounces (70g) = 1 Weight Watchers SmartPoint
Strawberries!
(Who knew that strawberries would be a Weight Watcher's best fruit friend?)

2.25 ounces (64g) = 1 Weight Watchers SmartPoint
Watermelon

2 ounces (57g) = 1 Weight Watchers SmartPoint
Blackberries
Cantaloupe
Grapefruit
Papaya

1.75 ounces (50g) = 1 Weight Watchers SmartPoint
Raspberries
Honeydew melon
Nectarines
Peaches

1.5 ounces (43g) = 1 Weight Watchers SmartPoint
Apricots
Oranges
Plums

1.25 ounces (35g) = 1 Weight Watchers SmartPoint
Apples
Blueberries
Pears
Pineapple
Tangerines

1.0 ounces (85g) = 1 Weight Watchers SmartPoint
Mangoes
Cherries
Grapes
Pomegranates

.75 ounce (21g) = 1 Weight Watchers point
Figs
Bananas



But Really, Let's Not Demonize Fruit


Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers ♥ KitchenParade.com. Weight Watchers Works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. How & why to count fruit points with SmartPoints. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit. How to think about fruit and losing weight.

Fruit is real food, whole food, naturally sweetened food. Fruit comes with vitamins and minerals, fiber and water. All this is good!

And yes, fruit has sugar. In fact, it's the natural sugars that bump the WW points so high.

But the sugar in fruit is not processed, highly refined sugar, it's naturally occurring fructose, glucose and sucrose.

And besides, fruit isn't the real reason why we're heavier than we want. Blame that on portion size, inactivity and even, research is beginning to show, processed food.

So fruit belongs in our our diet, just maybe not quite as much as we fruit lovers would like.


RESOURCES This explanation and podcast episode from nutritionist Monica Reinagle aka "the Nutrition Diva" dive just deep enough, see Are Some Fruits More Fattening Than Others?.




Simplifying It All:
Count Points Using a Hypothetical "Average Fruit"
(Except, Maybe, Bananas)


Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers ♥ KitchenParade.com. Weight Watchers Works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. How & why to count fruit points with SmartPoints. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit. How to think about fruit and losing weight.

Haha, in my head, I keep calling this average-fruit concept "Alanna's Fruit Salad".

Here's the idea. Instead of memorizing/tracking each fruit's different SmartPoint values, use an average of all the fruits on the list above.


1.5 ounces (43g) = 1 Weight Watchers SmartPoint
An "average" of the two dozen fruits above
aka "Alanna's Fruit Salad"

So that's it. Instead of tracking each fruit separately, just count a single point for every 1.5 ounces (43g) of any fruit. Simple, yes?

A possible exception? Bananas.

Consider tracking bananas individually. They're just so easy to peel and eat, standing at the kitchen counter or on the go. Bananas just might be too convenient!

And too expensive, point-wise! It takes soooo little banana to add up to a point, just a chunk really, about 1.5 inches long. WOW.

As I keep reminding you, we're deviating from Weight Watchers official stance on fruit. But we're not doing it willy-nilly. We're listening to our own bodies and learning from our own weight loss/weight maintenance journey.

My first two weeks on the WW Freestyle program? I felt way better but didn't lose a single pound. My second two weeks on the WW Freestyle program but without eating fruit? I lost seven pounds.




Shocking Reality: A Single Point of Fruit Is Only a Bite or Two

What persuaded me most about counting points for fruit was actually figuring out how much – better said, how little – fruit adds up to that average of 1.5 ounces of "Alanna's Fruit Salad".


Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers ♥ KitchenParade.com. Weight Watchers Works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. How & why to count fruit points with SmartPoints. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit. How to think about fruit and losing weight.

  • Strawberries – one large-ish strawberry
  • Grapes – seven smallish grapes
  • Cherries – 5 cherries
  • Peaches – 1/3 small peach
  • I'll add more fruits as I figure them out, I'm not eating much fruit right now!
  • But if you don't have a scale yet, you owe yourself one, it really is a huge help

RESOURCES This is the Escali kitchen scale I've used every day for years. It's a real workhorse. My Disclosure Promise




Six Ways to Use One-Point Fruit Servings Every Day

  • Make the choice, whether it's worthwhile, for you, to count points for fruit. Don't listen to me. Listen to your own body, your own choices.
  • When choosing fruit, know which fruits are best for Weight Watchers, whether at the grocery store, the farmers market or at brunch.
  • Add a point of fruit to a point of skim milk (3/8 cup) with ice for a two-point smoothie! (Remember, smoothies aren't free, even with Weight Watchers Freestyle.)
  • Add a point of fruit to Creamy Oatmeal or Greek yogurt.
  • Eat a small piece fruit for a one-point snack between meals or for dessert.
  • To lose weight consistently, Weight Watchers must eat "enough" points, otherwise we screw up our metabolism. To make up a needed point or two at the end of the day, choose just the right amount of fruit.

How Will You Use One-Point Fruit Servings?
Have I Missed Your Favorite Fruit?

Share your tip with other readers and me in the comments!

If I've missed calculating the one-point weight for your favorite fruit, just say!




Alternatives to Both Free Fruit & Counting Fruit Points


Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers ♥ KitchenParade.com. Weight Watchers Works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. How & why to count fruit points with SmartPoints. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit. How to think about fruit and losing weight.

Is it just too overwhelming to count fruit points? I get it. I truly do.

My eyes (well, really, my ears) opened wide listening to a podcast from The Nutrition Diva when she interviewed Gretchen Rubin. Rubin's the one who devised the "Four Tendencies" which I have long found illuminating in relationships but never before considered related to weight loss.

Your weight loss strategies already probably vary based on whether you're an Obliger, an Upholder (me!), a Rebel or a Questioner! But understanding your natural Tendency could well help you embrace who you are and how you can best use the Tendency to meet your weight and health objectives.

But here's the thing. What if you can't lose weight while eating free fruit but can't bear the trouble of counting individual fruit points? Consider these two alternatives.


  • #1 ABSTAIN ENTIRELY Just don't eat fruit at all, give it up entirely. It does sound more difficult but for some people, it's just easier to follow a hard 'n' fast rule than it is to moderate consumption. This idea can work for fruits (or other foods) that are super-tempting or ones we tend to binge on.
  • #2 ABSTAIN WITH SPECIFIC & LIMITED EXCEPTIONS Here, the idea is to avoid fruit except in certain conditions, following some rules that are easy to remember, whatever rules you decide that work for you.

Since listening to this podcast, at first I followed #1 and entirely gave up fruit cold turkey. This was to break my long-time habit of turning to "healthy" and "free" fruit whenever I had a hunger pang. (This was before I was really back on WW but knew that WW calls fruit free and so just knowing that gave me permission to eat several pieces of fruit a day.) That took a couple of weeks. No bananas. No apples. No strawberries. :-(

Now I'm doing #2, eating fruit but only according to my own rules. The rules are still in flex so I can't tell you what's working yet but here are some ideas.


  • Only if counting the points for fruit
  • Only if eating a single point of fruit, making it a "small treat" vs something filling
  • Only if I picked it myself
  • Only if it's the very first of that fruit for the season
  • Only if it's after a good workout
  • More ideas? Share yours!

RESOURCES Episode 527: Secrets of Successful Habit Change with Gretchen Rubin from "The Nutrition Diva" Monica Reinagle, you'll find her at Nutrition Over Easy. Four Tendencies Quiz Gretchen Rubin books My Disclosure Promise




Are You a Weight Watcher Who Loves to Cook?

If you love to cook and either already rely on "real food" and "whole food" (or would like to!), then consider a free e-mail subscription to Kitchen Parade, my recipe column. About once a week, a new recipe will show up in your InBox, each one includes nutrition information and Weight Watchers points. For a sampling of recipes, check out these three popular pages:




About the One-Point Fruit Servings for Weight Watchers


Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers ♥ KitchenParade.com. Weight Watchers Works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. How & why to count fruit points with SmartPoints. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit. How to think about fruit and losing weight.

  • I calculate SmartPoints for fruit (and all my recipes) in a four-step process.
  • Step One. I measure, weigh and track each ingredient in a recipe. I measure, weigh and track each recipe's yield. I use consistent serving sizes, for easy recipe-to-recipe comparisons.
  • Step Two. The nutrition data is calculated for Old Points, PointsPlus and SmartPoints.
  • Step Three. The nutrition data is separately calculated for Freestyle, removing all any Freestyle "free" ingredients.
  • Step Four. The points (Old Points, PointsPlus, SmartPoints and Freestyle) are calculated in an Excel spreadsheet of my own making.
  • For Steps Two and Three, I use MacGourmet and its nutrition calculator. For nutrition data, MacGourmet relies on the same USDA database used by all similar nutrition analysis programs.
  • For fruit specifically, all the point values land within plus/minus .10 of 1 Weight Watchers SmartPoints. A surprising number come in very close, like .98 or 1.02.
  • Despite the precision of the calculations, the information should be considered estimates.
  • Kitchen Parade is not affiliated with Weight Watchers International, Inc., please see About Kitchen Parade & Weight Watchers.



Weight Watchers Resources


Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers ♥ KitchenParade.com. Weight Watchers Works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. How & why to count fruit points with SmartPoints. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit. How to think about fruit and losing weight.

~ How to Lose Weight with Weight Watchers ~
~ Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers (you're here) ~

~ Weight Watchers recipes ~
(sorted by Freestyle points)
~ Low-Carb Recipes ~
~ Low-Calorie Recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

~ How to Eat More Vegetables ~
~ Vegetable Nutrition Data ~
~ Weight Watchers Points for Vegetables ~
~ How Many Carbs Are in Vegetables? ~
~ High-Fiber & Low-Fiber Vegetables ~

~ Weight Watchers Recipes ~
(zero-point, one-point and two-point vegetable recipes,
including the famous Weight Watchers Zero-Point Soup Recipes)
~ Low-Carb Vegetable Recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2010, 2015 & 2019

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

Comments

  1. What about fresh figs?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sally ~ Good one, especially since there's a new box in the fridge! One point of figs is four ounces -- just added to the list!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

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