How to handle SmartPoints “sticker shock.”

You don’t have to throw away all your food, promise.

Hi, I’m Jackie, registered dietitian (RD) and WW’s Head of Nutrition & Wellness. I’m so excited to be your guide for all things food during these first four weeks.

I’ve spent years helping people build healthier eating habits that stick. And if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that starting anything new often feels equally intimidating and overwhelming, especially in the beginning. The good news? I’m here to help you navigate all of it!

Let’s talk about sticker shock.

Have you tracked anything yet and thought “WHOA, that’s how many SmartPoints?!” Don’t worry, you don’t have to throw everything out and buy new food or give up what you love. I’m going to tell you how to use the food you have, even if it has a lot of SmartPoints, and ease into a new(ish) pattern of eating, one meal (or snack!) at a time.

Why I don’t want you to panic.

First, remember: all foods fit into a healthy pattern of eating and can fit within your Budget. IMO, that’s really what makes WW so effective for helping you lose weight long-term! So if you’ve just had something that’s higher in SmartPoints than you’d anticipated, deep breaths! Here’s what I want you to do:

1. Take a moment to reflect.

Instead of spiraling, think about how you feel. Many of these higher-in-SmartPoints foods are nutrient-packed, satisfying choices (like avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butters, full-fat dairy), so you may actually wind up naturally feeling less hungry later on.

2. Give yourself the gift of planning ahead.

Now, consider what you have on-deck for the rest of the day, and whether you’ll want to make any adjustments. One way to do this? Pre-track your planned meals and snacks. This will help you get a sense of how you’re using your remaining SPs.

Plan ahead to prioritize meals and snacks you love.

I love dessert! But I much prefer to eat my ice cream on my couch vs. in the car after a drive-thru stop. I’ll pack a snack (to avoid that game-time decision entirely), or choose something more SmartPoints-friendly from that drive-thru menu so I can save my sundae for the moment I’ll enjoy it most.

3. Lean into ZeroPoint foods.

On that note, if you’re planning out your day and realize there are too few SmartPoints left in your daily Budget to feel satisfied, fear not! Your ZeroPoint food list is packed with tons of great fruit, veggie, and lean protein options that can help bulk up any meal or snack.

When in doubt remember my mantra: More produce, more often!

In fact, challenging yourself to add more ZP foods to your daily menu is a great way to practice. Here’s how I do it:

  • Breakfast: Add a side of fruit (strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries) to my avocado toast & chopped egg
  • Morning snack: Add an apple to my mid-morning piece of string-cheese
  • Lunch: Add leftover veggies to takeout sandwich
  • Afternoon snack: Add cherry tomatoes to eat with my carrots & hummus combo
  • Dinner: Add one new veg to my usual pasta bowl

Still hungry? We’ve got you...

The last thing I want you to do is restrict how much you eat for the rest of the day after spending more SPs than you expected. Here’s why: You don’t have to hit your exact Budget every day—it’s OK if you’re a few over. (Spoiler: It’s called the Healthy Eating Zone and I’ll explain more on that tomorrow!)

Plus, you have an extra bank of SmartPoints each week to use however you want! (We call those Weeklies and I’ll be giving you the lowdown on them next week.) So if you ate allllllll the pizza and the three tips just aren’t cutting it for you, your Weeklies are here. :)

The bottom line:

No one’s perfect—not even me. Just track it, learn, and keep going. If you’re not tracking because you’re afraid of the number, remember, this is not a contest! Healthier eating habits aren’t formed overnight, and you have to live your life in order to be successful in reaching your long-term goals! There’s no need to be afraid of the SmartPoints values of the foods you eat, it’s simply information that can help you make choices that feel right for you next time. Deal?