ZeroPoint cheat sheet: Chicken & turkey
ZeroPoint® foods form the foundation of a healthy pattern of eating. They are nutritional powerhouses that you can reach for frequently and consistently, without weighing, measuring, or tracking them. They were specifically chosen because they are nutrient-, vitamin-, and mineral-packed. Because of that, they’re recommended by national and international guidelines (including the World Health Organization) to be consumed often as part of a healthy pattern of eating.
Every WeightWatchers member* gets the same list of over 200 ZeroPoint foods including: non-starchy veggies, fruit, eggs, yoghurt & cottage cheese, fish & shellfish, chicken & turkey breast, tofu & tempeh, corn & popcorn, and beans, peas, & lentils.
Poultry is included as a ZeroPoint food group because it’s an excellent source of lean protein and is nutrient-dense, providing key vitamins and minerals. Protein can help you feel fuller longer and plays an important role in bone and muscle health.
While “zero” usually means “nothing,” at WW, ZeroPoint foods are everything! If poultry is a staple in your diet and you’ve got some questions, you’re in the right place.
So are we talking about just chicken breasts?
Not quite! Here’s a list of all the ZeroPoint cuts in the poultry category.
- Chicken breast, skinless
- Chicken mince, breast
- Turkey breast, skinless
- Turkey mince, breast
OK, so I’ve got options! What poultry is not considered a ZeroPoint food?
- Processed, unspecified products such as “deli turkey” which often contain sugar or dark meat—ingredients that are not ZeroPoint foods.
- Pre-marinated chicken or turkey breasts.
- Smoked chicken or turkey breast.
- All other cuts of chicken or turkey meat.
Why are other lean meats (like beef) not included on the ZeroPoint foods list?
Red meat provides essential nutrients, like iron, zinc, and vitamin B12; however, some cuts of red meat, even the lean ones, are higher in saturated fats. Red meat can still be enjoyed as part of a healthy pattern of eating and tracked as part of your Points® Budget.
If I remove the skin from BBQ chicken breast, is it a ZeroPoint food?
Yes, as long as you’re eating just the breast meat. We recommend tracking this as cooked, skinless chicken breast.
Do chicken tenderloins and thighs have Points values?
Chicken tenderloins are a ZeroPoint food since they are actually the leanest part of the chicken breast. Chicken thighs will have a Points value because this dark meat contains a higher amount of fat than the tenderloin or breast. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them! There’s still room for this delicious cut in your Budget.
How do I cook lean chicken or turkey so it doesn’t come out dry?
Invest in a reliable meat thermometer so that you can cook these lean meats until they are fully done and safe to eat: an internal temperature of at least 75°C but not much past that.
When using a meat thermometer, be sure to insert it into the thickest part of whatever you’re cooking without hitting any bone. The tip of the thermometer should be close to the centre and not poking through to the other side. Remember, you’re aiming for the thermometer to hit 75°C.
*Members living with diabetes will have non-starchy veggies, eggs, fish & shellfish, chicken & turkey breast, tofu & tempeh, and beans, peas, & lentils on their ZeroPoint food list. These categories were carefully selected to consider the combination of carbohydrates, proteins, and fibre, and are less likely to impact blood sugar levels. (More information on the diabetes-tailored plan)