Why Recipe SmartPoints Don't Match Up with the Calculator

Jul 27 2016
Question@2x Dear Hungry Girl,

I'm a big fan of both Hungry Girl and Weight Watchers, but I have to admit that I still don't really get how recipe SmartPoints® are calculated. Both HG and WW recipes sometimes have SmartPoints® values that don't match what I get when I plug the recipe's calorie count and other stats into the SmartPoints® calculator. Even my WW leader is confused. Please explain!

Still Stumped
Answer@2x Hi Still Stumped,

Thanks for being a fan! First things first, I want to assure you that Hungry Girl takes pride in providing only the most accurate information possible. When it comes to SmartPoints®, we've always followed Weight Watchers' lead and used their same calculation methods. So you can trust that the SmartPoints® values you see in your HG emails and on the website are 100 percent correct. Here's what you need to know, made simple...

The SmartPoints® calculator isn't meant for recipes; it's only for individual foods. To get the value for something like a slice of bread, you'd enter the calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein into the calculator. But the recipe method is different.

The SmartPoints® value of a recipe is determined by adding up the values of the individual ingredients. Makes sense, since most fruits and veggies have a value of zero and remain zero in recipes. Say the recipe consists of 2 large eggs, 1 cup sliced peppers, and 3 tbsp. shredded part-skim mozzarella. To get the SmartPoints® value of the recipe, you'd simply add up the values of each ingredient: 4* for the eggs, 0* for the peppers, and 2* for the cheese, giving you a total SmartPoints® value of 6*. For a two-serving recipe, you'd just divide the value in half, rounding the value as needed.

There's just one exception. Zero-point fruits and veggies DO contribute points to a recipe when they're liquefied and part of a beverage. When you use the Recipe Builder, clicking the "This Is a Drink" box will automatically apply values to fruits and veggies based on their calories, saturated fat, etc. That's because fruits and veggies are more satiating when they're chewed as opposed to sipped. Get more info on that here.

If you want to calculate a recipe yourself, just go to the Recipe Builder on the Weight Watchers website. (Log in, click Create, and select Recipe.) Perfect for recipes that came out prior to SmartPoints®. Easy peasy!

Bottom line? Plugging a recipe's stats into the SmartPoints® calculator isn't the accurate way to determine its value. You can trust the values we provide were calculated correctly! Hope you're un-stumped! Spread the word...

Chew on this:

Did you know that July is National Pickle Month? Celebrate with a crunchy dill or a sweet bread 'n butter spear...

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We may have received free samples of food, which in no way influences whether these products are reviewed favorably, unfavorably, mentioned with indifference, or mentioned at all. Click for more about our editorial and advertising policies.

*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.