The full Weight Watchers Core Plan food list is available online only to Weight Watchers' online subscribers ($10/month, yikes!), it's here. If you're not a member, that link will only take you a subscribing pitch. If you're considering subscribing but still skeptical, I suggest you ask your WW Leader for a trial access code or brochure. I highly recommend online subscription, because of:
- the online POINTS tracker which automates and rewards journaling, complete with activity points tracking, Flex points tracking and notes so you can record your moods, challenges, successes
- Complete POINTS lookup function which is more complete than the booklets they sell, I find, and
- the Recipe builder, so I can easily figure out the points for one of my mother's Angel Biscuits is, or my homemade Cornbread stuffing, for example.
But here's the jist of the core foods list as I understand it. I in no way guarantee this is correct, but please help me correct any misconceptions you notice, or I won't lose weight and I *will* get frustrated.
It's NOT just like Atkins - Fruit! Whole-wheat pasta or brown rice daily! Conspicuous absence of fats! And if I can stick to it faithfully, I'm pretty sure it'll be successful, as well as good for my slender husband and son.
Meat and Meat Substitutes
- Lean beef, lamb, pork and veal (loin or round and trim visible fat)
- Ground beef (7% fat or less)
- Organ meats (eww, for me!) fresh, frozen or canned (canned organ meat? double eww!)
- Poultry – Chicken and turkey, again trim visible fat, no skin
- Ground chicken or turkey, once a day only
- Fish and shellfish, fresh, frozen, or canned, any variety as long as not packed in fat or oil. Sign me up for all-you-can-eat shrimp with homemade cocktail sauce with Splenda instead of sugar.
- Tofu, any type
- Frozen veggie burgers - wonder if this means not the large, delectable ones in restaurants? Probably not.
- NO deli meats or hot dogs - so much for the Atkins connection, but how many of us have followed Atkins only to remain fat? I know I have!
Eggs, Dairy & Cheese
- Whole eggs or whites (yay, rah!) as long as we prepare without butter or fat OR count the FLEX points
- Eggbeaters and other egg substitutes
- Fat-free milk, cheese and sour cream
- Soy milk and soy cheese
- Plain yogurt. I take it that the aspartame-only - no sugar varieties would be OK, or that it's OK to sweeten it myself and add my own fruit.
- Weight Watchers Smoothies (or ALBA) or fat-free, sugar-free instant hot cocoa are OK, but only once a day (danger, will robinson)
- NO real, yummy cheese, unless you spend your Flex points on it, apparently not even Parmesan over the lowfat spaghetti sauce
- Any fresh, frozen or canned fruit (no added sugar; canned must be packed in water or juice (not syrup); AND drained before eating, as they don't allow JUICE, see next item
- NO juice - too easy to overdo, I suspect
- Unsweetened applesauce
- NO Dried fruits, too high caloric density, they're too dangerous
- ANY fresh, frozen or canned veggies without any non-Core-Food ingredients, especially watching for added oil or sugar.
- Yes, potatoes - no, French Fries
- Yes, sweet potatoes
- Yes, corn
- Yes, beans and lentils, fat-free refried beans are OK
- Tomato paste, puree and sauce
- NO vegetable juices; I suspect they think I'll gorge on carrot juice or somesuch. But does this mean no more free v-8? Doesn't that contradict the tomato sauce or tomato soup ruling?
- If you make soups only with core foods, we can go for it!
- Bean soups like lentil or split pea are fine, even corn chowder, though I'd go sparingly on that unless on maintenance!
- Bouillon broth are fine, add core foods only
- Tomato soup is allowed; again, why not V-8 then?
- NO Cream soups, though it's OK to use soymilk or fat-free evaporated milk.
Cereal and Grain
Once a day, we can have:
- all-grain cereal with fat-free milk or soymilk (I like Silk). For dry cereals, this means ONLY puffed wheat or rice, shredded wheat, and all bran cereals with no added sugar. Rice Krispies and Special K and the like have added fat AND sugar, unfortunately. Look them up on the web, like at Kellogg's. For hot cereals, we can have Cream of Wheat, oatmeal and such. I'm liking Fiber One, Puffed Kashi and Spoon-sized Shredded Wheat.
- Hot cereals: Malt-o-Meal is tasty and filling, also Bob's Red Mill oatmeal, which is thick, and doesn't cook up slimy.
- Add fruit! It makes the cereal sweeter, and not so boring and tasteless. Sliced apples, peaches, blueberries, strawberries make it so pretty! Splurge on the fruit you buy. Shake a little frozen fruit out ofo the bag into your hot cereal and stir; it'll defrost in no time.
- Add a packet of Splenda if you need extra sweetness. Sometimes I go for cereal as my "bednight snack" (as my son calls it).
- Once a day, we can have whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, or potatoes. Note: Beware of the new American Beauty Healthy pasta, which is secretly regular pasta with a smidgen of added whole grain.
- Other whole grains, such as barley, grits, cornmeal and couscous, are unlimited. (Thanks for the correction, Linda!) Try cooking couscous in ff broth instead of water; it's quite tasty!
Fats, Oils Dressings
- 2 teaspoons (NOT tablespoons :( heart-friendly oil per day
- other than that, none, nothing, zip, nada. Get ready to use your Flex points for this good stuff.
- Nonstick cooking and baking spray
Other Free Stuff
- Ice and water, including sugar-free, clear beverages such as any diet soda (NOT coke's new C2 though)
- No-calorie sweeteners like Splenda, Equal or Sweet - n -Low.
- Seasonings and herbs, without added sugar - have to read those labels.
- Fat-free salad dressing; I find all the fat-free butters and dressings yucky, myself and will be using flex points.
- Fat-free margarine (I stay away from this hydrogenated stuff; it's supposed to be bad for the arteries, isn't it? Besides just dampening the bread that I already can't have)
- Fat-free mayonnaise (I'd rather spend flex points for the real deal)
- Extracts and flavorings. Vanilla extract in FF cottage cheese, with cut-up pears and wheat germ is great in a cheesecake-y sort of way.
My Flex Points Will Be Going Toward
- Tiny dabs of real butter, sour cream and mayonnaise to liven up the veggies
- Bread - bagels and tortillas mostly, for me
- Alcohol, when I can't stay away from the red wine or the occasional Fat Tire ale
- Eating out - because how the heck can you ensure following Core Plan unless it's a side salad with fat free dressing?
I am very interested to hear how people are doing on this, so please let me know by commenting. I need your encouragement and ideas. Thanks to all those who've already commented!