I just wanted to drop you a line and ask if you know anything about the recent calorie increases on some of the Lean Cuisine items. I eat them every day for lunch and have pretty much stopped checking the boxes for nutritional info, because I have the numbers memorized. However, I happened to notice recently that two of my faves have increased in calories -- the Margherita Pizza (which went from 320 to 340 calories) and the Chicken, Spinach & Mushrooms Panini (that one's gone from 280 calories to 320!). I just thought that I'd share the word and ask if you knew anything about why this has happened. Thanks, and keep up the good work!
Lean Cuisine Lover
Dear Lean Cuisine Lover,
I've gotten dozens of emails about this. I know it's frustrating when companies suddenly change the nutritional info on their packages with no warning, but it's a fact of life. Sometimes I'll scan the back of a new box and have to look at it five times to make sure my eyes aren't deceiving me. And when I realize I'm reading it correctly, a wave of sadness comes over me (it seems the calorie counts only go UP, never DOWN!). In the case of Lean Cuisine, I've seen the calorie and fat counts on quite a few of their products change over the years. We may never know the reasons for these (or other companies') changes. Sometimes, companies claim that the ingredients have changed, and so they had to adjust the nutritionals accordingly. Other times, they'll say that after retesting the product, they realized it had more calories all along than they'd previously thought. Either way, I have to say, it's annoying. BUT, let's look at the bright side -- wouldn't you rather have accurate numbers (even if they are higher)? I would. And on a related note, always go by the numbers on the actual package (not the website) -- those are almost always the most accurate and up-to-date. If you've recently spotted changing nutritionals, drop me an email so I can share the info with everyone. Thanks!!!
While talking to a co-worker (and fellow WWer) today, I discovered that he calculates POINTS® differently than I do. When making a sandwich, for example, he will add up the calories, fat grams and fiber in all the ingredients and then apply the WW POINTS® formula to the TOTAL. I figure out the POINTS® for EACH ingredient, and then add them together. Something tells me the POINTS® do not end up the same. Who's correct?
First thing's first, I know people who approach POINTS® counting in each of those ways and have been successful on the WW plan. So if your method has been working for you, I wouldn't stress too much about it. But if it hasn't, you might want to consider this. Even though I'm not an official WW employee, I'm pretty fluent in the language of Weight Watchers -- and I do think your friend is right. If you think about it, the reason is pretty clear. If your method was accurate, you'd be able to take a food that has a POINTS® value of zero and pair it with another food (or TWO or THREE foods) that has a POINTS® value of zero, and you could conceivably eat that stuff all day long, nonstop, and not take in any POINTS® at all. That doesn't make any sense, because you'd still be taking in calories and fat, and they all add up. So, just like the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com does, when you combine foods and create recipes, you should add up all the calories, fat and fiber in those foods and THEN calculate the POINTS® value. I do this whenever I eat a plate of different foods all in one sitting, even if it's not a specific recipe. It is possible that you could come up with a lower total POINTS® value this way (like if you have two foods with a POINTS® value of 1 each, but combined they still have a POINTS® value of 1). Still, for the most part, I think we're WAY better off calculating the total POINTS® value of a meal, snack, or recipe versus adding up all the ingredients' POINTS® values separately. If you want to get this explained to you in further detail, you can ask your WW leader or even hop onto the WW website message boards. There are gazillions of WWers on hand to share their opinions and experiences at all times. And remember, if what you're doing is working, no need to worry about who's "right" and who's "wrong". Happy POINTS®-counting!
CHEW ON THIS: Today, January 30th, is the second-to-last day of Fiber Focus Month. So remember to focus on fiber A LOT today and tomorrow. Click here and here for some of our favorite ways to celebrate!
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*The Points® 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 Points® registered trademark.