FAQs About PointsPlus® Value Calculations

Six answers to frequently asked questions about recipe and meal Points Plus values.
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I calculate the PointsPlus value of a recipe?
2. What’s Simple Recipe Math?
3. Can you show me an example using Simple Recipe Math?
4. Why do recipes on the site count PointsPlus values for fruits and vegetables?
5. How are the PointsPlus values for Quick Meals calculated on the site?
6. What about fruit? When should I count it? What if I juice it? Blend it? Mash it? Bake it? Shake it?

1. HOW DO I CALCULATE THE POINTSPLUS VALUE OF A RECIPE?

There are several different ways to figure out the PointsPlus value per serving of a recipe:

  • Recipes in the WeightWatchers.com database already have the PointsPlus values calculated, and they display right there on the website.
  • Use the nutrition information (fat, carbs, fiber, and protein — often listed in cookbooks) along with the PointsPlus Calculator on the Your Plan page of the site.
  • Use our Recipe Builder tool.
  • In a pinch, use Simple Recipe Math.

2. WHAT'S SIMPLE RECIPE MATH?

Simple Recipe Math calculates PointsPlus values in the same manner as our PointsPlus Tracker. You add up the PointsPlus value of each ingredient and then divide the result by the number of servings for the recipe.

This method is less accurate than the other methods because it adds up PointsPlus values for each ingredient that have already been rounded to a whole number. So an ingredient that has 1.51 PointsPlus values will round up to 2 PointsPlus values. And an ingredient that has 1.49 PointsPlus values will round down to 1 PointsPlus values.

3. CAN YOU SHOW ME AN EXAMPLE OF USING SIMPLE RECIPE MATH?

Here’s how we would use Simple Recipe Math to calculate the PointsPlus value for a Tuna Salad recipe that serves 4 people:

Tuna Salad PointsPlus value
12 oz canned tuna in water 9
1/3 cup onion 0
1/3 cup celery 0
1/4 cup reduced-calorie mayonnaise 6

PointsPlus VALUE TOTAL 15

15 ÷ 4 servings = 3.75 PointsPlus values per serving

PointsPlus values are always rounded to the nearest whole number so 3.75 rounded up to the nearest whole number = 4 PointsPlus values per serving.

4. WHY DO RECIPES ON THE SITE COUNT POINTSPLUS VALUES FOR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES?

If you use Weight Watchers recipes or the Recipe Builder, you may have noticed that the total PointsPlus values is higher than the sum of the ingredients. We worked the nutrition information for 0 PointsPlus value fruits and vegetables into recipes in part because we want our recipes to be consistent with any recipe you might have at home with nutrition information. But more important, we include it because your experience of eating, say, a fresh apple, is different from your experience of eating apple pie; you’re not likely to overdo apples, but you might overdo the pie.

5. HOW ARE THE POINTSPLUS VALUES FOR QUICK MEALS CALCULATED ON THE SITE?

The PointsPlus values of Quick Meals are calculated using Simple Recipe Math. The PointsPlus value of each ingredient in a Quick Meal is added up and then divided by the number of servings.

For example, here’s how we would use Simple Recipe Math to calculate the PointsPlus value for a Tuna Salad Sandwich for one person:

Tuna Salad Sandwich PointsPlus value
3 oz canned chunk white tuna in water 2
2 Tbsp onion 0
2 Tbsp celery 0
1 Tbsp reduced-calorie mayonnaise 1
2 slices tomatoes 0
2 slices lettuce 0
2 slices reduced-calorie wheat bread 2

PointsPlus VALUE TOTAL 5

6. WHAT ABOUT FRUIT? WHEN DO I HAVE TO COUNT IT? WHAT IF I JUICE IT? BLEND IT? MASH IT? SHAKE IT?

If you put a banana in a blender, you still have a banana. But what a minute ago looked like a substantive snack, now looks like a tiny shot. So you might be tempted to add another banana and maybe even some raspberries, a few grapes, that leftover papaya from two days ago and a kiwi, just to fill your glass.

We know that juices bypass the body's hunger detectors. Smoothies seem to sit someplace in the middle, more filling than a juice, but easier to consume than plain fruit. If you sat down and drank the smoothie we just described, you've just slurped back 5 or 6 servings of fruit in one sitting.

Can you count it as 0 PointsPlus values? Yes. You can count it as 0 PointsPlus values using Simple Recipe Math. But if you are drinking a lot of smoothies and you aren't seeing the results you were expecting at the scale, we recommend putting those smoothie ingredients into the Recipe Builder so you can start counting and tracking the PointsPlus values.

When you juice any fruits (i.e., removing the pulp), you no longer have fruit; you have juice and you must count the PointsPlus values. Same is true if you dehydrate the fruits, because you have removed the fiber/water that made fruit such a nice low-energy density treat.

As for cooking fruit — whether boiling, microwaving, or any other method: As long as you don't add any ingredients with PointsPlus values, you still have a 0 PointsPlus value treat. Count it as such. But the bottom line is to let your weight loss be your guide.

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