“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Once a week, I will be sharing a tip, trick, or some interesting information about meal planning. I believe meal planning is critical to any long term and effective healthy living or weight loss goals. For me it was the single thing that finally made permanent weight loss achievable. The quote stood true, when I failed to plan, I failed, and I don’t want that to happen to others.
Additionally, I believe that meal planning is a skill that takes time to master and we can all use some help! When I first started meal planning it took up countless hours pouring over recipes, calculating nutritional info and/or points, and creating elaborate calendars. It was painful. Anything I can do to ease that pain for someone else is a win-win in my book.
Finally, I hope by sharing meal planning strategies, it will help you find a system that works for you. Whether it’s using our meal plans, scratching one into your weekly planner, or creating your own meal planning system – I hope this feature inspires you to start planning at least a few meals every week. It will save you time, money, and it truly will help you reach your weight loss and healthy living goals. So with that, on to this week’s tip!
Meal Planning Made Easy: New Weight Watchers® SmartPoints™ Recipes and Meal Plans
This week Weight Watchers® launched their brand new SmartPoints™program. Although the basic program still works the same - tracking foods using points towards a daily target, weekly bonus points, and points earned for exercise - the way that points are calculated has changed and the focus has shifted to making healthier food choices. Under the new system, PointsPlus® have been replaced by SmartPoints™ and Activity Points® have switched to FitPoints™. Here are some of the key ways the program has changed.
- SmartPoints™: SmartPoints are the new way that foods are tracked in Weight Watchers®. SmartPoints™ are calculated using calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein. In the new system, lean proteins have lower points than in the previous program and foods high in saturated fats and sugars have higher points. This shift is to help people make healthier food choices and not consume as many low point sweets and non-nutritious foods. Fruits and vegetables are still zero points in the new system and are no longer counted in the recipe calculator! (There is one exception to this when fruits or vegetables are blended.)
- Daily Points Targets: In addition to switching to SmartPoints™, the new Weight Watchers® program also has new daily point targets. The minimum daily points level is now 30 SmartPoints™ and increases from there based on current weight, age, gender, activity level, and more. For those with low daily targets, they may see an increase in daily points but many with high daily points allowances are seeing their targets shift to lower numbers.
- Weekly Points: Under the previous program, everyone was given 49 extra points weekly to use as they wanted. Now the number of extra weekly points you have is a range starting at 21 SmartPoints. This number is based on weight, weight loss goals, activity level, gender, age, and other factors.
- FitPoints: FitPoints™ are the new name for Activity Points and are calculated using a new system. Additionally the new program encourages everyone to earn FitPoints weekly and helps users set goals according to their current activity level and weight loss targets.
- Click here to read more information about Weight Watchers SmartPoints.
How will this affect Slender Kitchen recipes and meal plans? Starting next week, we will be including the new SmartPoints™ in all of the recipes in the meal plans. For those sticking to PointsPlus®, you will still be able to access those points values in the individual recipes and can calculate them on your own using the nutritional information provided in the recipes as well.
Additionally we are in the process of updating all of our recipes to include Weight Watchers SmartPoints. We will also show the PointsPlus® that were previously included in the recipes.
For those who aren't Weight Watchers, every thing will stay the same with the meal plans.
Love the idea of meal planning but don’t want to do all the work? Since I know that many people simply don’t have the time to create their own healthy meal plans, we provide delicious and healthy meal plans at Slender Kitchen that you can customize to meet your needs.
Here are some highlights from this week’s healthy meal plans:
- Slow Cooker Maple Pork Tenderloin
- Slow Cook Ratatouille with Polenta Rounds (vegetarian plan)
- Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pasta
- Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles with Sausage (low carb plan)
- Spicy Peanut Chicken (with tofu for vegetarians)
- Crispy Buttermilk Chicken with Zucchini Fries
- Italian Salmon with Tomato Basil Salsa
- Green Chili Turkey Burgers
- Gingerbread Oatmeal
- Curry Lentil, Butternut Squash, and Apple Soup (vegetarian plan)
- & more
Each healthy weekly meal plan comes full of delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The meal plans come in regular, vegetarian, and low carb options. All feature complete nutritional information, Weight Watchers PointsPlus®, and categorized shopping lists! There are also two bonus fallback recipes weekly and the option for either a complete meal plan or a Dinner Only plan. All that for less the cost of one cup of coffee per month with the yearly plan.