Distributing your daily PointsPlus® Target

Struggling to divvy up your day, PointsPlus values-wise? We've got some suggestions.
Distributing your daily PointsPlus Target

Eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full, right? We know that’s the ideal way to manage your intake, but most of us need a little help. Taking a look at how we use our PointsPlus values throughout the day can give us a lot of clues as to where we might be skimping, leaving us hungry; and where we might be overindulging.

This might be especially helpful to you if your daily i>PointsPlus Target changed recently.

There’s a great flexibility built into the PointsPlus program, and your PointsPlus Target is calculated to account for everything you need in terms of satisfaction and nutrition. That said, there are plenty of people who stare at their Target and simply aren’t sure where to start. While we want you to use your daily PointsPlus Target — and your weekly PointsPlus Allowance — any way you like, we’ve suggested a rough framework that’ll help you figure out how to structure your meals. In the chart below, you’ll see a suggested breakdown of how many PointsPlus values to use in each of your three meals and two snacks, for a range of daily PointsPlus Targets.

Suggested daily PointsPlus Targets breakdowns by meal

Daily Target 29 34 39 44 49
Breakfast 5 6 7 7 8
Lunch 8 9 10 12 14
Dinner 11 12 15 16 18
Snack 3 4 4 5 5
Snack 2 3 3 4 4
Daily Target 54 59 64 69 71
Breakfast 8 9 10 11 12
Lunch 16 17 18 20 20
Dinner 20 22 24 24 25
Snack 6 6 7 8 8
Snack 4 5 5 6 6
Building blocks

These breakdowns are simply suggestions — we are absolutely not telling you that this is how many PointsPlus values you should eat at every meal, every day. Nor are we saying that distributing your PointsPlus values in a certain way will help you lose more weight than any other way. What this hopefully will encourage you to do, however, is to eat balanced meals.

As you start thinking about the breakdown, take a look at the Good Health Guidelines. When you work at getting those in for the majority of your meals, they'll provide a lot of the PointsPlus values that you need to spend. You'll still have room for extras, of course, but the GHGs are a great building block for meal planning. Don’t forget about dairy — and don’t always default to the fat-free stuff; low-fat often tastes a lot better and sometimes barely adds to the PointsPlus values. Also think about trying new ways to get the healthy oils in. One poster on the Message Boards raved about the extra creaminess in her morning oatmeal that adding 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil provided.

And speaking of breakfast, that cliché about it being the most important meal of the day is worth repeating. Liz Josefsberg, Weight Watchers director of brand advocacy and our resident Leader, has seen too many people skimp on breakfast, lunch and snacks in order to hoard PointsPlus values for later in the day, and warns of the perils of this practice.

“What I see when someone hoards is that they overeat,” says Liz. “It’s always for nighttime eating — you never see someone hoarding for breakfast or lunch! The trouble is, when you do that you’re a little bit too hungry. Your body does better with a sustained amount of energy, instead of tiny bits. If you under-eat during the day, you’ll make up for it, plus more, later on — research has shown this again and again.”

It’s tempting in particular to skimp on breakfast and instead just have some 0 PointsPlus values fruit. But, cautions Liz, “Fruit alone is not enough to get your day started. You need a well-balanced meal that includes fiber, fat, protein and carbs.”

What to munch at lunch

Whether it’s at your desk, on the go or a leisurely affair, we really hope you’ll think about spending a good chunk of PointsPlus values at lunch — check out the chart for our suggestions.

So what’s a good, hearty lunch? Go first for the Good Health Guidelines. Liz’s favorite: “Bulgur, some lean protein, vegetables and goat cheese. I use a whole cup of bulgur, a teaspoon of olive oil. For the protein, it’s chicken or seasoned ground turkey. I love to add some squash, and then a tablespoon of goat cheese over the top. It’s a big ‘thing’ of lunch, and it normally comes to a good 8 PointsPlus values.” Liz also has at least one or two hearty snacks per day, pairing a piece of fruit or some veggies with a 2-3 PointsPlus value item, often protein.

Time for dinner

With a heartier breakfast and lunch — not to mention snacks — behind you, then the focus at dinnertime can perhaps move away from quantity and more toward quality, says Liz. “What the PointsPlus program really did for me was open the door to eating really delicious food in smaller portions. It gives you that opportunity to have something a bit more decadent.” For Liz, it’s cheese — feta, goat — “I’m putting it on everything,” she enthuses.

Take a look at some Weight Watchers recipes to get some ideas for higher PointsPlus values dinners, and think about using your evening PointsPlus values for a hearty portion, rather than hoarding them for nibbling while you're curled up on the sofa later on. Liz loves the various lasagna recipes; browse through this list of main meals between 8 and 11 PointsPlus values to see why it’s worth spending a few more PointsPlus values at dinner!

And lastly, don’t deny yourself treats and indulgences — whether you use your daily PointsPlus Target, or dip into your weekly PointsPlus Allowance. Maybe it’s a glass of wine every night, an extra pour of olive oil onto your nightly pre-dinner salad, or a blow-out treat now and then; these PointsPlus values are yours to use. Don’t skimp, don’t hoard, and above all, enjoy your food!

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