As a lifetime Weight Watchers member, my favorite part of Weight Watchers meetings has always been scoring secret tips from members about great “low-point” foods. With new products coming out all the time, as well as changes to the program (the new Points Plus formula uses fat, fiber, protein and carbohydrates to assign a Points Plus value to every food; members are allotted around 29 Points Plus per day), it’s now even tougher to size up what’s really healthy, not to mention delicious.
But on a recent trip to Mariano’s Fresh Market in Arlington Heights, I bring along a secret weapon: Weight Watchers leader Jeanna Willms, who has collected a list of those secret member tips. Armed with this list and her handy Points Plus calculator, it seems there’s no question she can’t handle, so I throw a few challenges her way.
…snack to munch on while watching TV?
Popchips (4 Points Plus for individual bags or 3 Points Plus for 20 chips)
…bread that doesn’t taste like sawdust?
Today’s Temptations, a multigrain, round loaf that looks homemade. (1–2 Points Plus per slice, depending on size)
…fulfilling sandwich fixing?
Members spread Laughing Cow and Babybel Lite cheese wheels(1 Points Plus per ¾-ounce piece) on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise, put it on bagels and just eat it plain for a snack, Willms says. “These soft cheeses have taken the place of granola with the new emphasis on protein.” Also, Canadian bacon(1 Points Plus per slice). Canadian, yes, but still…it’s bacon, and Willms says it’s delicious on a whole-wheat English muffin(3 Points Plus).
…way to satisfy your sweet tooth?
Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich. “Members like them because they taste like the real thing,” Willms says. (4 Points Plus)
…tasty breakfast treat?
Nonfat Greek yogurt (it’s higher in protein—but, Willms notes, pricier—than regular yogurt) with chopped-up fruit. (2 Points Plus)
…great office snack to keep in your desk?
Fiber One 90-calorie brownie(2 Points Plus), or 94 percent fat-free popcorn (3 Points Plus per single-serving bag).
I offer Willms my own secret tip to take to her meeting: Yonanas ($49.95, amazon.com). You can’t find it at the grocery store, but this amazing machine turns bananas and fruit into creamy soft-serve “ice cream.” It’s 100 percent fruit, and Willms immediately knows what that means: “That’s zero Points Plus!”