How Many Weight Watchers Points is a banana?
What makes Weight Watchers different from other
diet wellness programs and the reason it worked well for me is that you can eat whatever you like. On WW no foods are off limits.
To help you make better choices, and fill you up, most fresh fruits and veggies on the Weight Watchers plan are zero points, which means you can eat them without adding to your daily point total.
Weight Watchers Points for Fruit
All fresh fruits—including bananas—have 0 points on the Weight Watchers program.
In addition to bananas, the 0 points fruit list includes apples, apricots, blueberries, grapes, oranges, pineapple, plums, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon. Canned fruit packed in its own juice also has zero points, along with frozen fruit without any added sugar.
Dried fruit is different. You do have to count points for dried fruit.
So a ¼-cup serving of dehydrated, dried or freeze-dried bananas has 4 points.
The WW points value for the same size serving of other dried fruit ranges from 4 to 7 depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Dried apricots have 4 points, dried cranberries 5 points, raisins and dried figs 6 points, and dates 7 points.
A dried fruit mix has 6 points per ¼-cup serving.
Canned fruit packed in syrup also has points.
A ½-cup serving of peaches packed in extra light syrup has 3 points, while the same serving packed in light syrup has 4 points and packed in heavy syrup has 6 points.
A ½-cup serving of mandarin oranges packed in light syrup has 5 points, and a ½-cup serving of fruit salad packed in heavy syrup has 7 points.
Fruit juice also contains points.
There are 2 points in a half cup or grapefruit juice, 3 points in a half cup of orange juice or pineapple juice and 5 points in a half cup of prune juice.
The History of Bananas Points on Weight Watchers
Speaking of bananas, did you know that they have a long and complicated history on Weight Watchers?
As a Weight Watchers geek who first learned of the original plan in the early 1970s when my mother and grandmother attended for a time, and then used it myself to lose weight and achieve lifetime status in the early 1990s, I find it a fascinating illustration of just how dynamic the fields of nutrition and weight loss are.
I was inspired to write up this brief history in response to a question I received recently...
Q: I love eating fruit whether fresh or cooked! But I have read in other weight loss groups that bananas, pineapple, melons, and grapes are counter intuitive to you losing weight. They should only be eaten rarely so I am trying to cut back on eating them. Has this been discussed within the WW community or meetings?
A: Fruit can be a hot topic within the WW community. But first a disclaimer: What I'm about to share is ONLY my personal opinion and not endorsed by WW. I'm not connected with WW at all beyond being an active lifetime member.
When I look at the history of the WW diet I find it fascinating. The original WW plan (1960s) was very very restrictive.
While 2-3 servings of fruit per day were allowed, bananas, cherries, watermelon and grapes were considered "illegal." (Yes, foods were categorized as "legal" and "illegal" in the early years.)
Later when Weight Watchers used the exchange approach, (the plan I lost my weight with) 2-3 servings of fruit were recommended. Half a medium banana or 10 grapes was considered "one serving."
When The Weight Watchers Points System was introduced in the mid 1990s, both an Oreo cookie and a banana cost you 2 points. The responsibility was on you to incorporate "the good health guidelines" and eat a balanced diet.
I can remember being at meetings where members would say they weren't going to "waste" 2 points on a banana when they could have a snack pack of cookies instead. (Losing weight is not a rational process.)
I believe Weight Watchers caught a lot of flack from the health community for this and so fruits became 0 points with the introduction of PointsPlus. The motivation was to encourage eating fruits and vegetables because most Americans don't get enough. I fully support this.
However, some members really struggled transitioning from Points to PointsPlus because they began overeating fruit. I think this is still an issue for some people.
A few years ago, I read a WW magazine article by it's former CEO, David Kirchhoff, saying that "0" isn't the same as "free" and while you could have success on the plan eating a banana, it didn't mean you could eat a bunch of them.
I think this is especially true when you only have a small amount of weight to lose.
(A large raw banana has about 120 calories, a small one about 90. So if you eat several of them a day you can end up taking in as many calories as a Big Mac!)
Talk about doing a 180. In a little over 50 years, on Weight Watchers the banana has gone from "illegal" to "most tracked" food!
Personally, I love bananas and eat one (or half of one) most days. I know other Weight Watchers members who feel they are "fattening" so steer clear of them.
I've even met members who claim to eat 5 to 6 bananas a day. What I like about WW is that it provides a framework that allows for plenty of individual choice.
I usually limit myself to 2-3 servings of fruit a day. More than that and I tend to gain weight.
History would suggest that when you are trying to lose or maintain your weight moderation of all foods, even those labeled "0 Points" or free, is necessary. But the bottom line is that it will take experimentation to figure out just how much fruit is right for you!
Did you find reading about bananas and their Weight Watchers history interesting?
Did it help you better understand how bananas went from being banned to the most tracked food on the program in just a few decades?
Do you see how when it comes to eating, there's no one right way, only the right way for you?
I hope so. Thanks for reading!
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*PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT each plan's ZeroPoint Foods (Green plan, Blue plan, Purple plan) using the WW Recipe Builder.
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