I mentioned the new Weight Watchers Protein Stix snacks in my post on the meeting yesterday. But, I decided they deserve their own post.
I tried the chocolate last night (as did my husband) and thought it was great. I then tried the peanut butter today. And, it was just as great. I mentioned to my husband that I thought they were Weight Watchers best snack ever. And, he suggested they deserve their own post. I decided he was correct.
Me and WW Snacks
Let me start out saying that for years, I never bought Weight Watchers’ snacks. They just didn’t appeal to me. I did feel some of them were perhaps healthier than the foods they might be replacing, but I just didn’t feel that I needed them.
A few months ago, though, I cracked. I started buying some of the 2 point mini bars and the 2 point Cinna-licious Swirl. Basically, I was looking for a 2 point snack to eat mostly in the evening. I have a lot of 3 point snacks that I regularly eat. Particularly, the Kay’s Natural Protein snacks which are 120-125 calories and 3 SmartPoints. I still like those snacks, but they are 3 points and sometimes I don’t want to spend that much. Or, I’ve already had a Kay’s snack earlier in the day and want something different.
I felt the mini bars and the Cinna-licious snack fell within the category of not exactly healthy for us, but not really bad for you if you eat in moderation. So, I’ve been having those as a 2 point snack for awhile.
What I Love About WW Protein Stix
First, they have 7 grams of protein, but are only 2 points. The Chocolate Protein Stix have 70 calories, while the Peanut Butter have 80 calories. So, those are basically about 10 to 11 calories per gram of protein. That is the same as the Kay’s Natural Protein snacks. Yes, the Kay’s have 12 g of protein, not 7 g. But, they Kay’s are 3 points and 120 to 125 calories. I really try to get in protein, particularly on weight lifting days. So, 7 grams of protein is awesome.
Second, these taste great. Both flavors. I mean seriously great. I’m glad they are in individuals packages in the box. The reality is that a lot of the dietetic snacks or the so-called healthier versions of snacks are just, well, not as good. I loved potato chips. I sometimes eat baked chips. They aren’t bad exactly, but not as good as regular chips. That was true for some of the Weight Watchers snacks. I bought some of the crisps. They weren’t awful. But, for me, they weren’t good enough to not be a waste of points. These protein stix? Let me put it this way. Even if they didn’t have the protein, I would want to eat them. They are just great.
The point count and calories are what I am looking for in a secondary snack. I am a big snacker. My main snack each day is Antep pistachios, usually 5 points worth. I sometimes have a Kay’s snack (3 points) or an Enlightened bar (3 points) or a Vitatop (4 points) or a piece of at least 72% dark chocolate (3 points). Yes, yes, I do have zero point fruit. But, sometimes I just want chocolate or something more indulgent…but I don’t want to spend 100 calories or don’t to spend 3 points or more.
The size of the serving is satisfying. The problem with a lot of 2 point indulgent snacks is that they serving size is too small. I like Weight Watchers Chocolate Pretzel Blast mini bar. It is also 70 calories and 2 points. It is a good snack for me and tastes great. But, it is tiny. Honestly, I could eat it in 2 bites if I wanted to. Now, I usually eat it more slowly, taking tiny bites. So, it lasts a bit longer. But, it is still tiny.
These protein stix are not tiny. Here is the chocolate one.
It is about 3 1/4 inches long. You get way more bites out of it than out of a mini bar. So, it is more satisfying. Here is a picture showing the inside of it.
I also like that it is a high protein snack that has no artificial flavors or sweeteners. I do eat artificial sweeteners, but I do try to limit them. While not a big deal to me, I would also mention it is gluten free and non GMO.
What I Don’t Love About WW Protein Stix
I mean, nothing’s perfect. And, neither is this snack. So, what is not to like?
This snack, not surprisingly given the lack of artificial sweeteners, has added sugar. The chocolate one has 4 grams and the protein one has 3 grams. I haven’t had a week where I averaged over 30 grams of sugar a day in about 4 months. Usually, I am in the low 20s. And, that includes natural sugar, not just added sugar. I really try to limit my added sugar. And, I know I eat well within recommended guidelines.
So, no, I prefer snacks with little to no added sugar. That said, I eat so little that has added sugar that a snack with 3 or 4 grams is not going to send me over the edge to a level higher than where I want to be. Now, if I absolutely refused to eat any added sugar of any kind then I wouldn’t eat this snack. But, I don’t absolutely refuse to eat added sugar. Rather, I look at my average per day over the course of the week. In this case, I will probably stop buying the mini bars and buy the protein stix instead given the protein benefit, the great taste and the larger size of the snack. And, these have less added sugar than the mini bars I usually buy.
The second objection to this is that it is a very processed, created food. It has a long list of ingredients. Levels of processing do vary. Canned vegetables in water are processed, but are still a “real” food. Bread is processed, but most people recognize that as a real food. Protein stix? Not so much.
I do work to limit the amount of highly processed food that I eat. But, the fact something is highly processed is not — to me — what makes it objectionable. The main reason I limit highly processed foods are that they tend to have (1) lots of bad stuff in them, (2) too much of food that is OK in more reasonable quantities, and (3) too many ingredients that I don’t remotely recognize.
So, highly processed foods are often actively bad for you, have too many calories due to things like too much sugar and fat, and have ingredients that I have no idea what they are. But, I judge processed foods on an individual basis. In this case, I’ve looked at the ingredients. The stuff in the protein stix are things that I either don’t find objectionable at all or are not objectionable to me in the quantities found in this snack. For example, I do find a lot of sugar objectionable but 3 or 4 grams is acceptable to me.
On balance, the advantages of these protein stix for me outweigh the negatives. Now, I wouldn’t eat a ton of them. I don’t think I should buy a box of 6 servings and eat all of them in a day. If I couldn’t moderate my eating to one serving, then I wouldn’t buy them. But, I think I can moderate that and so I am adding these to my protein arsenal.