Fruit & Veggie SmartPoints: When They Count and When They Don't

Mar 16 2016
Question@2x Hi Hungry Girl,

I'm following the Weight Watchers SmartPoints® plan, but I'm confused by the treatment of fruits and veggies. Most fruits and veggies have a value of 0... Does that change if I use them in a recipe? I've heard they DO have points if I have them in a smoothie... Why? Also, which fruits and veggies don't have a value of 0?

Perplexed by Produce Points
Answer@2x Dear Perplexed,

Great questions! Here are some answers for you...

Most fruits and veggies have a SmartPoints® value of 0 when they come fresh, frozen, or canned without added sugar… even when they're part of a recipe! Whether you're tossing veggies into a stir-fry or making apple pie filling from Fujis, the calories, sugar, etc., in most produce doesn't get factored into the points value. This is why simply plugging a recipe's total stats into the WW calculator won't necessarily give you the correct value. Recipes are specially calculated. Click here for more on that.

Zero-point fruits and veggies do rack up points when blended or pureed into a drink. It might seem arbitrary, but it's really not. I've always found it's more satisfying to chew something than to sip it, and apparently research backs that up. Blending a bunch of produce down into a small serving of liquid that you slurp through a straw is going to be way less satisfying than if you ate all that food. Plus, you're probably not going to chew through several hundred calories' worth of produce in one sitting, whereas it's easy to drink a high-calorie smoothie. So Weight Watchers decided those fruits and veggies should have points, and I think it's a good call. To get the values, enter them into the recipe builder and check the box marked "This is a drink." Or just plug the total stats into the calculator. FYI: When those same fruits/veggies are blended into a sauce, soup, or filling of some sort, they don't rack up points. Drinks only!

There are a few other exceptions to the zero-point rule. Dried fruit, frozen fruit with added sugar, fruit/veggie juice, and canned fruit in syrup all have points. (FYI: Canned fruit in juice has no points as long as you drain it.) Some calorie-dense veggies and fruits are also assigned points values: potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, avocados, corn, olives, peas, sweet pickles, and plantains.

There you have it! Hopefully, you've gone from Perplexed by Produce Points to a Produce Point Pro.

Chew on this:

March is National Celery Month -- perfect! Munch on the veggie all month without racking up any SmartPoints®.

If you're confused by the rules for fruits and veggies, you know your pals are, too -- click "Send to a Friend" now!

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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.

SmartPoints® value not what you expected? Click here for more info on how the values are calculated, plus more FAQs about PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values on our website.