Weight Watchers Power Foods: What’s In, What’s Out.

A handy cheat sheet to how the old Filling Foods list translates to the new Weight Watchers Power Foods list.

First, the basics. Power Foods are determined by the energy density of a food as well as the nutrient content of a serving of food. We combined foods into categories, for example beef, cookies, yogurt, and ranked all the foods in each category using a proprietary formula tailored to the category. (Some categories, such as cookies, do not have any items that make the cut.) The foods that rose to the top of the list — based on the lowest energy density, as well as being low in fat, saturated fat, sugar, sodium, (depending on category) and/or fibre — are determined to be Power Foods. They are the healthiest and most filling choices within a specific category of foods. These foods were assigned the green pyramid to identify them as Power Foods.

A great many of the Filling Foods have stayed on the Power Foods list, along with a few exciting new ones. And some didn’t make it. There were some foods that, while they have healthy properties, they didn’t meet all the criteria we set for Weight Watchers Power Foods. Avocados, for example, may have lots of healthy fats in them, but the fact remains that they are simply still high in saturated fat. And many canned vegetable soups no longer make the grade because of the high amount of sodium they contain. (Of course, this doesn’t mean you can no longer eat them!)

So, here’s a handy cheat sheet to what’s in and what’s out in the Weight Watchers Power Foods list.

What’s in — new on the Power Foods list

Light breads (whole-grain varieties are preferred) are now Power Foods. They were added to the list after the aforementioned analysis, and our tests of the new Plan showed that eating these breads didn’t have a negative effect on weight loss.

More pasta varieties
Pasta is normally made from wheat, but increasingly available are varieties made from other grains such as rye, spelt and kamut. These are now Weight Watchers Power Foods.

Fat-free yogurt (artificially sweetened)
Yogurt’s a delicious way of getting in some of your dairy servings, and we’ve made the fat-free, artificially sweetened varieties a Weight Watchers Power Food.

What’s out — Filling Foods that aren’t Power Foods


Canadian bacon

Beef — porterhouse steak, T-bone steak, tongue

Cereal — puffed, shredded wheat

Chicken — canned

Chicken livers

Fish — including cooked eel, herring, mackerel, farmed salmon and pompano. Also lox (smoked salmon) and sardines canned in tomato sauce

Lamb — cooked, trimmed leg and loin, also cooked ground lamb

Milk — fat-free evaporated

Plantain — baked or boiled

Pork — including cooked and trimmed leg and loin, plus cooked lean sirloin

Pudding — fat-free, sugar-free, various types

Soup — many canned or instant soups including black bean, lentil, Manhattan clam chowder, split pea, tomato and vegetable beef.

Soy cheese

Sun-dried tomatoes

Textured vegetable protein

Turkey — 93% ground, cooked, plus regular, cooked

Veal — cooked leg, trimmed

Veggie burger — black bean