Food & Nutrition

Why fruits and veggies "count" in smoothies

Turns out, how you eat ZeroPoint fruits and non-starchy vegetables makes a big difference in how full you feel. Here’s why.

You probably already know that building meals with ZeroPoint™ foods is a great way to stay in your PersonalPoints Budget. But you might have noticed that your non-starchy veggies or fruit (if it’s one of your ZeroPoint foods) have PersonalPoints values when you track them in a smoothie. Why?!

Fair question. It’s true that fruits and veggies are zero when you eat them whole (if it’s one of your ZeroPoint foods). But once they become part of a smoothie, the experience of eating them changes.


Here’s what’s happening


  • When you drink something, it eliminates the act of chewing, which may impact the signals between your belly and brain that let you know when you’re full.
  • This means that the smoothie or juice you’re drinking will not promote the same amount of fullness between meals as eating the fruit or veggies.
  • Also, when you blend (or juice) fruits or veggies, it makes it easier to consume more than you would if you ate that same fruit or vegetable whole.


Imagine if you ate...


  • 1 apple
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup strawberries
  • ¼ cup blackberries
  • ¼ cup raspberries
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ cup 99% fat-free plain yoghurt

You'd be pretty full, right?

Now imagine if you pureed all of that down and drank it. That smoothie would be gone in a few sips. You might even decide to throw in another banana, and then some more strawberries, maybe some more yoghurt and juice just to fill the cup… (you see where this is going, right?) And because blended fruit has less fibre than whole fruit, you may get hungry sooner—and be more likely to eat more later.


So, what’s the bottom line?


If it’s something you’ll drink, like a juice or smoothie, it will have PersonalPoints values. If it’s something you’ll eat, like salsa, sauce, stew, soup, it won’t.


Wait—can I add Points for the spinach I threw in?


You sure can! Whether you’re eating your veggies raw, cooked, or part of a recipe, you’ll add 1 PersonalPoints value to your daily Budget for each cup of non-starchy veggies you eat.

RELATED: Three healthy habits that can grow your Points Budget


What if the fruit is in my soup or stew?


If it’s something you’ll drink, like a juice or smoothie, the nutrition data for fruits and vegetables counts towards the total PersonalPoints value of the drink. If fruit or veg are included in something you’ll eat, like a salsa, sauce, stew, or soup, fresh fruits and most vegetables are ZeroPoint foods, in those recipes (if it’s one of your ZeroPoint foods).


Are smoothies good for you?


The WW program encourages you to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Statistics show that only seven per cent of Australians eat enough vegetables and only one in two eat enough fruit. Similarly, only one in three NZ women and one in five NZ men eat the recommended daily serves of fruit and vegetables.

Eating 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit may have protective properties against major chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. They also help to keep you full for longer which helps to manage your weight.


Can I eat too much fruit?


At WW, our nutrition guidelines, along with the national guidelines, encourage you to eat two serves of fruit and at least five serves of vegetables daily because they are nutritious, satisfying and tasty.

If you’re eating more fruits and vegetables than you used to, and you’re using them as snacks, to bulk up your meals, or as a tide-me-over, then great! If you’re eating more than two serves of fruit every day, purely because it’s one of your ZeroPoint foods, you might want to pull back a little. Learn how to let your hunger guide you.


How to track a smoothie


For iOS...

  • Tap the search bar from your dashboard, then scroll along the top to ‘My Foods’
  • Tap the 'My Food' icon, tap on ‘Recipes’, then click 'Create' in the upper right corner.
  • Name your recipe, add the ingredients, then click 'Add more details' and make sure to set this recipe to be a drink
  • Finally, go back to the previous screen and click 'Create Recipe'

For Android:

  • Tap the search bar from your dashboard, then scroll along the top to ‘My Foods’
  • Tap the ‘My Food’ icon, tap on ‘Recipes’, then click ‘Create’ in the upper right corner.
  • Name your recipe, add the ingredients, then click 'Add more details' and make sure to set this recipe to be a drink
  • Finally, click 'Create Recipe'

On ww.com:

  • Click 'Create' in the top right corner of My Day
  • In the dropdown menu, choose 'Recipe'
  • Name your recipe, add the ingredients, and make sure to select the 'Smoothie/Juice' option
  • Finally, click 'Create Recipe'