SmartPoints and Snacks: It Had to Be Snacks!

In my last post, I wrote about some of the reasons I think that SmartPoints is an improved program particularly because it encourages eating less sugar.  However, one of the things that has been difficult for some people is how to eat snacks, without blowing a ton of SmartPoints.  Some foods have gone up a lot in points, particularly snacks that are high sugar.  There are several options.  Eat the same thing you ate before, but eat the higher point stuff less often.  Eat the same thing, but in a smaller portion.  Or, change what you eat.

The solution is…all of the above.  That is, I may choose to eat the high point food and make that my main indulgence of the week or I might eat a smaller portion or I might try something different.  What I want to do here is suggest some snacks that we routinely eat in our household.  The good thing about most of these snacks is that they have either stayed the same in points or have increased by a minor amount.  I usually have at least one or two of these on most days.

What you won’t see are suggestions for things like fruit or nonfat, plain yogurt.  I am leaving out of this post the kinds of “healthy snacks” that we all probably know about.  Yes, I eat some of those, but I wanted to shine a light here on some things you might not think of.

If there was a perfect snack for SmartPoints, it is these:

Kays front

I did a full post about Kay’s Natural Protein snacks awhile ago.  I have tried several of these since SmartPoints came out (I’m eating a pack of Cinnamon Almond Cookie Bites as I write this) and they have all been 3 SmartPoints (same as they were before).  Some of these snacks are sweet like the cookie bites or, my favorite, the Cinnamon Toast Pretzel Sticks.  Others are more salty type snacks, like the Crispy Parmesan Chips or the Chili Nacho Cheese Chips. They all have 120 or 125 calories and, even the sweet ones are low in sugar (they usually have stevia in them).  They are gluten free and usually have a lot of protein for a snack.  The Pretzel Sticks I am eating right now clock in at 12g of protein with no saturated fat and only 3g of sugar!  They are sweet with a great cinnamon flavor.  If it late in the day and I am running low on meeting my protein goal, I will eat one of these.

You might say that you like chocolate.  I actually love chocolate.  And I have a lot of chocolate choices that, in the portions I eat them, work out to 3 or 4 SmartPoints:

Chocolate

The Vitatops are 100 calories and are 4 SmartPoints and made with mostly whole grains.  I don’t eat them often, but it is a nice treat.  The Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt is my husband’s snack.  It is also 100 calories and 4 SmartPoints.

All of the chocolate bars are what I pulled out of my desk drawer.  They range from 60% cocoa to 80% cocoa.  The 60%, of course, have a bit more sugar.  I have a snack from a chocolate bar 3 or 4 times a week.  If you haven’t tried dark chocolate, I would suggest starting with the 60% and work your way up.  I like to get a bar that has some sort of extra flavor in it, while my husband likes his plain.  The key to eating a chocolate bar 3 times a week is that I eat a very small portion.

Most of these bars say a serving is 1/2 a bar and is between 210 and 240 calories.  I don’t eat that much.  I usually eat 60 to 75 calories worth, occasionally a little more. The one I’ve been working on this week (not pictured) is 88 calories and 4 SmartPoints.  The 60 calorie portion usually works out to 3 SmartPoints. You might think that eating 60 calories worth would be an absurdly small amount.  I have gotten to a point where I rarely want more.  I eat my chocolate very, very slowly.  It takes me several minutes to eat that 3 SmartPoints.  I don’t just absently eat it.  I savor it, putting all my attention on it, letting it melt in my mouth.

But, maybe you are a little hungrier and want something a bit more substantial:

Quest and cheese

The cubes of cheese are full fat cheese.  I eat 7 cubes for 1 ounce and 4 SmartPoints.  That is a snack I often pair with something else: berries, or a piece of chicken breast (cubed), or some almonds.  If I can’t really afford 4 SmartPoints, I’ll just eat the Weight Watchers Jalapeno Cheese Stick for 1 SmartPoint.

I have pictured some of the Quest Bars that I like.  The Chocolate Cookie Dough has remained 5 SmartPoints.  I usually warm it in the microwave for about 15 seconds.  When I have more time, I cut it into 6 pieces then bake them for a few minutes and they taste like chocolate chip cookies.  Yum!  I sometimes have that for breakfast. My husband likes the Chocolate Brownie Quest bar and it actually went down a point and is now 4 SmartPoints.  The one is the back is the Chocolate Peanut Butter, also 4 SmartPoints.

The nice thing about these are that they have high protein (usually around 20g) and are low in saturated fat and sugar.  Note that some of them have artificial sweetener (sucralose) such as the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and the Chocolate Brownie.  If you don’t want to eat artificial sweetener, some of them do not use artificial sweetener such as the Chocolate Peanut Butter which uses stevia and erythritol.  I like chocolate so these are all chocolate flavor, but Quest has plenty of non-chocolate bars.  These push my limits on eating processed foods, but they are processed.  But, I don’t really object to the ingredients I do eat them.

The snack I have almost everyday, however, is some sort of nut:

Nuts

In the bag in the back is my absolute favorite food, bar none:  Antep (Turkish) Pistachios.  I eat half a cup (unshelled, which is 1/4 c. shelled) almost every day.  I buy them in 5 pound bags because they are pricey.  So much better than California pistachios!  These are 5 SmartPoints a serving and take a long time to eat (have to open the shells) and are very filling.  For a change of pace, I like the Wasabi & Soy Sauce Almonds, which are 5 SmartPoints for an ounce.   Sometimes, I just eat the plain unsalted almonds as well.

Another snack that isn’t pictured is popcorn. I usually buy the popcorn already cooked in a bag.  I find that it is best to go by weight rather than measuring by volume.  I like, but am avoiding, the chocolate drizzled popcorn. It tends to be high in saturated fat and sugar and isn’t really worth it.  Basically, look at the ingredients and avoid the bags that are high in sugar or saturated fat. Get those that are the plain popcorn or have a flavor that doesn’t add a lot of sugar.

What good SmartPoints values have you found for snacks?

Comments

  1. shari says

    I found sugar-free vita tops is 3 SP, the regular ones are 4 and they taste just the same! I also found cocoa almonds in the pre-portioned bag to be 3 SP . WW popcorn pre-portioned snack bags that you microwave are still 3 in SP too! But without including now GHG (I am not required to use 2 points on oil or 2 servings of dairy), I can use those points plus the ones that they added to my daily points target and get a lot more in SP per day. Is that cheating?! Between adding 4 more SP per day from the points plus, eliminating 2 points on oils and my dairy serving there seems to be actually more in flexibility?! I feel conflicted about it frankly!
    LOVE your posts, thank you !!!

      • Arlene says

        I’m in Canada and found lots of the Kay’s products on amazon.ca … I also found the 5 lb bags of Antep (Turkish) Pistachios but whoa … they are $115.99 … too $$$ for poor ol’ me. 🙂 Love all the snack suggestions though. Thanks.

        • says

          Wow! That is a huge price. I get them on Amazon (from We Got Nuts) and it is $54 US for 5 pounds which is about $75 Canadian. The Kay’s protein snacks are really good.

  2. Kelley says

    I haven’t started on the Beyond the Scale plan yet (Saturday is my meeting day), so not sure if there will be a jump in points for my favorite go-to snack. I love Kind bars, specifically the Kind Nuts & Spices bars, they are 4-5PP–they are low glycemic, gluten free, high in fiber, low sugar, low sat fat and usually have around 7g of protein. I’ll be sad if they increase in points too much.

  3. Suzanne says

    I’m new to your blog. Thank you so much for trying to soften the blow! You are a dear! I’m in the ‘I hate the new plan’ camp but I’ll try it for a couple weeks. They’ve basically taken away the choice and freedom for a lot of people. I already eat pretty healthy but my snacks are precious and help me feel that I’m not being restricted which is very key for me. I know a lot of people feel this way. Honestly, I will probably cancel my subscription and go with one of the pointsplus apps available. I’m sorry if this turns into a rant but I feel safe doing it here…I don’t appreciate the people who try to ‘encourage’ us that this is going to be good for us (present company excluded). Everything on the CrazyPoints plan is completely doable on PointPlus. Not my fault that people didn’t reign themselves in. And now, for all intents and purposes, we don’t have a choice. This was purely marketing and I predict it will be a failure. It’s already starting to hit the news. WW on Facebook is lit up for everyone to see, the technology and the plan are not looking good. This is more than just ‘glitches’. The Oprah effect is not going to save this one. Anyway Kitty, thanks for listening. Time to put my big girl panties on for a couple weeks and give it a go. I’m going to try and not change anything I’ve been eating and see where that puts me pointwise. And then I’ll decide. I’m really glad I found your blog and I apologize if I offended anyone. Thanks again for for trying to help. Kudos to you.

    • says

      I think trying it for awhile and then assessing is a good strategy. While I like the new plan, I fully understand that there is no plan that works for every person. I will never take the view that One Size Fits All. I welcome comments from those who want to go in another direction. It is all about finding what works best for you.

    • Michelle says

      I am kind of in the same boat. I really liked points+ because I felt I still had options… now everything I like is just ridiculous in points value. 🙁 Will try it for a few weeks, at least!

  4. Carol says

    I’m a new reader to your blog and I really appreciate all the time and effort you’ve put into explaining the new plan. I just switched over yesterday and I love it. Full Disclosure: I lost a ton of weight on Momentum and never found my groove with PointsPlus. I’m confident that Smartpoints will help me get back down to my goal weight.

    I had to laugh because I was eating pistachios and string cheese and an apple as I was reading about your favorite snacks. I haven’t tried Quest Bars yet because I thought they were pretty pricey, but they do seem to be a good SP value.

  5. Lis says

    One of my frustrations with WW’s secrecy is that we had recently stockpiled a whole bunch of ZonePerfect Nutrition bars.

    On the old plan, I had 26 points per day, and the bars were 5 points – about 20%.
    On the new plan, I have 30 points per day, but the bars now cost 8 points apiece – over a quarter of the day’s eating in one bar.

    Had WW provided more information, we wouldn’t’ve bought so many.

    • says

      Yes, I can certainly see why you wouldn’t have bought so many. And, yes, it would have been nice to get more of a head’s up from WW. I guess they don’t do it for competitive reasons and they did kind of hint around about it (looking back, there was a lot of discussion in the last few months about things like sugar and protein). But, certainly one of those things more clear in retrospect than now.
      Kitty recently posted…SmartPoints and Snacks: It Had to Be Snacks!My Profile

  6. Audrey says

    I really dislike processed food snacks and see no reason for them. I like air popped popcorn, baked apples and only rarely have turkey jerky. Snacks like many of these can become uncontrollable habits.

    • says

      I think it is something you really have to be careful about. I do read the ingredient labels on everything I eat and if I object to an ingredient I don’t eat them. I do feel that if you can’t have a particular kind of snack in the house without overeating them, then it is best to not have them (which is why I don’t have keep potato chips in my house). So, yes, I would say exercise caution and buy only a few of something until you are sure that you are able to stop at the amount you planned on.

      For example, on the Kay’s snacks some of them can be bought in boxes (they have cereals and some of the cookie bites). I don’t buy those. I know I can do just fine with a bag of cookie bites (just had one) and I am not tempted to have more. But, there is no way I would have the box at home.

  7. Lynda says

    Do you know how many Smartpoints are in popcorn? Either air popped or packaged like Boom Chicka Pop which I’m addicted to! I also pop my own.

    • says

      2 cups of plain air popped popcorn are 2 points. 3 cups of light microwave popped are 3 points. 4 cups of Boom Chicka Pop, sea salt are 4 points. But — not surprisingly — 2 cups of Boom Chicka Pop Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn are 5 points. So, basically it is just going to depend

  8. Jenny says

    There are hordes of Special K bars that are 4 points. The Special K Protein cereals are also low points.

    Rice cakes any flavor — plain, cheese, kettle corn, are just 1 point each.

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