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If you haven’t seen it already, there’s a viral TikTok snack hack going around: pasta chips!
Pasta chips are essentially just air fried pieces of cooked pasta. This is best when done with a smaller shape, like penne or bow ties. But I’ve seen some influencers like The Korean Vegan do this with ramen noodles, too! So your options are limitless.
One of my favorite TikTokers is Steph Grasso, a clinical dietician who tried this with chickpea pasta for an added protein boost. I absolutely love Banza’s chickpea pasta and pizza crust, so I knew I had to try this!
Banza’s chickpea pasta is just made with chickpeas (plus a little tapioca and some xanthan gum). It packs 22g of protein and 8g of fiber per serving! So it’s much more filling than standard pasta.
I tried Banza for the first time when I participated in Veganuary. Their products are vegan and gluten-free, so they fit the bill for a vegan substitute. Anthony and I both really loved it and found that there wasn’t really a flavor difference from regular pasta. And calorically, it’s similar (190-200 calories per 1 cooked cup).
When making my protein pasta chips, I had seen a ton of recipes with Italian seasonings and Parmesan cheese. But I wanted to try something different. At the time, I was really craving cool ranch flavored Doritos!
So I whipped up some seasonings that I had and found that this totally hit the spot. It made for a great pre-workout snack! I used penne pasta and it reminded me of Takis.
Different creamers contain a surprising amounts of sugar. I recommend starting here if you're trying to transition to black coffee because it was, in my opinion, a way easier change than adding sweetener packets. I started by trying different fat free and sugar free creamers, and then eventually made the switch to unsweetened vanilla almond or cashew milk. It's only 15 calories for half a cup, which makes your coffee super creamy so you don't need even that much! A little goes a long way and helped me transition.
2. Slowly cut back on your added sweeteners
If you're currently using sugar but have weight loss on your mind, start by switching to something like Stevia. This is a more natural sweetener than something like Splenda. Sometimes they'll add sugar alcohols to stevia packets, but it's largely natural since Stevia is from a plant.
I took this one month at a time. Embarrassingly, I used to drink a large cup of coffee with four packets in it!
And, if you like using syrups, you can try Jordan's Skinny Syrups since they're sugar free. Then, you can ween off from there if you want. If you decide to stop using them once you've gone to black coffee but have leftover, they're great for baking or in protein shakes, too!
3. Start with Iced Coffee
4. Get flavored coffee
5. Remember that you don't need to exclusively drink black coffee
I switched to black coffee because Anthony and I have a lot of (post-pandemic) international travel plans to some destinations famous for their coffee in different ways, and I wanted to be able to enjoy them how they were without them all just tasting like how I do at home. Ask yourself what your goals are and go from there - remember, it should be because you enjoy it, not because you feel like you have to.
If you've been in a Weight Watchers Facebook group or been on WW Connect for five minutes, you'll know that a lot of Weight Watchers members love Trader Joe's. The closest Trader Joe’s to me is about 20-30 minutes away, so usually we just shop at Publix since it’s closer. But I wanted something different, so I decided to try a bunch of Trader Joe’s foods I’ve seen all over Instagram and TikTok and see how they were for myself!
I’ll include the SmartPoints and calories per serving and my rating for each item.
Sunday: Thai Sweet Chili Veggie Burger and Chicken Chow Mein
This had a really nice flavor! The Thai Sweet Chili flavoring was definitely there but not so strong that I felt it was spicy (and I am weak when it comes to heat in food, ha!).
It didn’t really need any condiments because the flavor profile was really nice on its own. I had it on an Ole wrap with some lettuce and it made for a really nice wrap! It didn’t get too mushy in the microwave like other veggie burgers I’ve tried, either, which was a nice surprise.
SmartPoints: 4 per patty
Jessica’s rating: 9/10
We had the Chicken Chow Mein for dinner - this was something I actually had fairly frequently when I started my Weight Watchers journey and wasn’t super great of a cook yet since it’s super quick and easy. It being low fat means it’s fairly low in SmartPoints. Just be sure to weigh this one when serving. The packaging says that 1/3 of the package is a serving and there are 3 servings per package, but I often find that it's more like 1/2 the package for the amount of grams listed. Score! Only thing I don't like about this is that it's usually pretty heavy on the red pepper, which I don't like. I pick mine out and give it to my husband.
SmartPoints: 5 SmartPoints per serving
Jessica’s rating: 7/10
Monday: BBQ Chicken Teriyaki with Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry
SmartPoints: 1 SmartPoint for a serving of the rice; 4 SmartPoints for 1 cup of the chicken
Calories: 150 for the chicken; 75 calories for 1.5 cups of the rice
Jessica’s rating: 9/10 for both
Tuesday: Jicama Wraps
- I am a chronic over-stuffer. I never learn my lesson. My Ole wraps never stood a chance.
- It helped me slow down a bit and feel like I was eating more since visually, I was eating more tacos even if the filling amounts were the same.
SmartPoints: None! This is a Zero SmartPoint food.
Calories: 30 calories for 85 g
Jessica’s rating: 10/10
Wednesday: Sprouted Wheat 7-Grain Bread and Pumpkin Butter
I topped each slice with half a tablespoon of the seasonal Pumpkin Butter (2 SP per tbsp) and a little bit of pumpkin pie spice and you guys, this was the most decadent toast I’ve ever had. So good.
Total SmartPoints: 6 (+ the eggs if you’re on myWW Green) for the combo
Total calories (excluding eggs): 200
Jessica’s rating: 10/10 for both the bread and pumpkin butter
Thursday: Cauliflower Gnocchi
SmartPoints: 4 for 1 cup of gnocchi
Calories: 140 per cup
Jessica’s rating: 9/10
Friday: Chicken Cilantro Wontons
Dinner was fantastic. My only wish with these wontons would be to have the flavor profile be a bit stronger - the chicken cilantro flavor is there but it's very mild. However, that mildness lets these wontons be really versatile in what kind of cuisine you decide to make them with.
SmartPoints: 1 SmartPoint for 4 pieces
Calories: 50 calories for 4 pieces
Jessica’s rating: 9/10
Saturday: Mahi Burgers
SmartPoints: 2 SmartPoints for 3.2 oz
Calories: 140 for 3.2 oz
Jessica’s rating: 6.5/10
Other Trader Joe’s foods I tried this week:
My husband loves these so we always stock up on a few boxes whenever we go to Trader Joe’s. These are super easy to make since you just microwave them so they make for a pretty good option if you’re craving some carnival-style comfort food.
SmartPoints: 5 each
Calories: 150 each
Jessica’s rating: 7/10
This hummus was just okay, in my opinion. When paired with crackers or fruit, I thought that the flavor was kind of bland and I wish the chocolate profile was a bit stronger. However, I’ve found this to be an excellent option when blending into nonfat plain Greek yogurt; a tablespoon of that and a stevia added into the mix really makes for a good chocolate yogurt.
The Original Savory Thin Crackers were something I saw a lot of Weight Watchers members hype up as a wonderful cracker option, but it was just your standard rice cracker and the SmartPoints value was pretty standard. It was fine, just didn't live up to the hype!
SmartPoints: 4 SmartPoints for 30 g crackers; 1 SmartPoint per tbsp hummus
Calories: 130 for 30 g of crackers; 25 calories for 1 tbsp hummus
Jessica’s rating: 6/10 for both
I'll talk first about the light ice cream. This is Trader Joe's competitor to Halo Top, Enlightened, etc., and it comes in this flavor and cookies and cream.
It was alright. I thought compared to other ice creams, it was kind of chalky. I don't think any of the Halo Top type ice creams are particularly good (though Chilly Cow was fantastic, but I can't find it at my local stores anymore). If you pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds, it helps not only make it soft enough to scoop but helps with the chalkiness a little bit. I added some Choc Zero syrup and that masked it, too. I'm not sure if it was from the peanut butter in the ice cream, so I'd be curious to see if that chalkiness is present in the cookies and cream flavor, too (and if I just had a weird batch, please let me know in the comments, ha!).
SmartPoints: 3 SmartPoints for 0.5 cup
Calories: 90 calories for 0.5 cup
Jessica’s rating: 5/10
This ice cream was brought to my attention by Blogilates when she raved about how creamy it was in a TikTok. I’m trying to reduce my intake of animal products, so figured I’d give this ice cream a try regardless of the SmartPoints.
Casey was not lying - this ice cream was incredibly creamy. You would never know that this was a vegan alternative if you went into this blind. The almond brittle and candied strawberries gave this a really nice touch, too.
SmartPoints: 9 SmartPoints for 0.5 cup
Calories: 195 calories for 0.5 cup
Jessica’s rating: 100/10 (no, that is not a typo)
Have you tried any of these foods from Trader Joe's or have any other favorites that weren't mentioned? Let me know in the comments!
That all being said, here's a guide to how many SmartPoints some of your favorite candies are on myWW this Halloween.
There are affiliate links throughout this blog post for your convenience, where I can earn a small commission. I never support a product or brand I don't personally use and enjoy, but if you'd like to learn more, you can head to this page on my blog!
York Peppermint Patties
These are my mom's favorite! You can have three minis (or three of the mini pumpkin ones!) or one full sized patty for 8 SmartPoints. One of the minis is 3 SmartPoints, and two of them is 6 SmartPoints (gotta love Weight Watchers math, am I right?)
You can order them on Amazon here.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
You can have three mini Reese's for only 6 SmartPoints and 130 calories, so this is a great option for Halloween without spending all of your SmartPoints budget! Two of the Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins are 8 SmartPoints (170 calories), and for a normal Reese's Peanut Butter Cup you can have 1 cup for 4 SmartPoints and 2 for 7 SmartPoints.
A serving of three mini Snickers are 6 SmartPoints at 130 calories, so this makes for another great option for Weight Watchers. For reference, a full sized Snickers bar is 12 SmartPoints.
You can order some Snickers Minis on Amazon here (just in time for Halloween!)
One full-sized Hershey Bar is 11 SmartPoints (and 10 SmartPoints if you like them with almonds). If you get a bag of Hershey's miniature assorted chocolates to dump in your candy bucket, you can have...
M&Ms are a classic and luckily, come in convenient individual serving bags for Halloween. Three packages of M&Ms fun sized chocolate candies are 10 SmartPoints, and you can have one package for 3 SmartPoints.
Order M&Ms Halloween candy on Amazon here.
Also, is it just me, or do the minis taste better than the normal size?
Similarly to M&Ms, you can have one package of the Halloween candy portions for 3 SmartPoints or 3 packages for 10 SmartPoints.
What's really fun is for Halloween you can get Skittles' Zombie Mix, which includes some rotten-flavored ones for a fun game of trick or treat. You can order Skittles Halloween candy on Amazon here.
Starburst are a great option for Halloween candy! They're only 1 SmartPoint per piece and since they're chewy, they take a while to eat - meaning its harder to overindulge on these than, say, miniature chocolates.
You can order a bag of them on Amazon here to throw into your Halloween candy bowl mix.
There are a few varieties of Kit Kats you might have in your candy bucket this Halloween! The Kit Kat pumpkin pie miniatures are 9 SmartPoints for 4 wafers or 1 piece for 2 SmartPoints.
Similarly, miniature Kit Kats are 2 SmartPoints for 1 and 9 SmartPoints for 4 wafers.
You can have 19 pieces of Brach's classic candy corn for 8 SmartPoints. If you're weighing and measuring, 1 ounce is 5 SmartPoints, which works out to 13 Pieces.
If you only want to spend 2 SmartPoints, you can have up to 6 pieces of Brach's candy corn.
Weight Watchers friendly candy
TrySmart Sweets! Smart Sweets sells a lot of candies that are reminiscent of the bags of candies you can get at a drugstore and touts that they don't use any sugar alcohols. One bag of their Berry Sweet Fish, Peach Rings, Sour Blast Buddies, or Gummy Bears are 3 SmartPoints. You can try them on Amazon.
Try Choc Zero! Choc Zero (available here on Amazon) sells a bunch of different chocolate sweets that are free of any and all sugar alcohols - thank goodness! They sell chocolate squares and peanut butter cups and they use monk fruit as a sweetener instead of anything that could cause you any tummy troubles. I've tried their chocolates and their syrups (1 tbsp is 1 SmartPoint) and absolutely love their products. You'd never know it was a keto-friendly option.
One peanut butter cup is 3 SmartPoints and one of their milk chocolate squares is 2 SmartPoints. One ounce of their keto bark is 5 SmartPoints.
They're having a few sales now, though, as we wait for Prime Day - these are subject to change, but when Prime Day comes around, you can get notifications in the app for when an item may go on sale for Prime Day. You can also look for Prime Day badges in blue on products.
A waffle maker make your protein pancakes fun
I love making Kodiak Cakes in a waffle maker, especially with fun shapes, so I can jazz it up. The one pictured specifically makes skulls, which is perfect for Halloween, but they sell a bunch of other shapes if you want something different (like pumpkins, pineapples, or hearts; or, you can get it to look just like normal waffles).
This waffle maker also acts as a panini press so you can use it for all kinds of foods, and it comes with a recipe book.
This Puma Dash Backpack for a cute gym bag or Future travel
Whether you're looking for an upgrade to a gym bag (because we deserve things that spark joy, not just stereotypical plain gym duffles) or want something sleek and stylish (that doesn't scream tourist) when you're traveling for your next vacation, this Puma backpack is a great option. Plus, you can get the Puma logo in a bunch of different colors.
Check it out on Amazon here.
An air-fryer to save oil and time
An air fryer is a must-have kitchen tool in my personal opinion. I love mine and use it all the time from making two-ingredient dough bagels, getting frozen fries perfectly crispy, and cooking tofu for dinner. If you're looking for a nice starter air fryer, check out this Amazon Basics 3.2 quart air fryer that's available for Prime Day.
One thing that's nice about this air fryer is the recommended times and temps for certain foods right on the machine. No guessing!
A juicer to make it fresh yourself
I love juice but hate buying it because it's usually loaded with sugar. That's why I think a juicer is great for days you're craving something other than water but don't necessarily want to have a bunch of weird preservatives or a ton of sugar in the mix. Nothing beats fresh, right?
Check out this juicer on Amazon. It's got a high juice yield and works for all different kinds of fruits and veggies.
Workout Leggings with pockets that actually fit your cell phone
Amazon is offering uo to 40% off of their own brands for Prime Day, so that means its the perfect time to treat yourself to some workout leggings that are great for hitting the gym or working from home in. They come in four colors, are super stretchy but still have a little bit of compression, and are high waisted. I'll take one in every color, please! Sizes run from XS-3X.
Order them here to try them yourself. You can also order these with the super trendy cross-waist (shaped like a V to help with the appearance of a more narrow waistline) here.
A 13-piece cookware set to give your kitchen a refresh
Good cookware makes all the difference when you're cooking a lot (something I know I have done since starting Weight Watchers). Heat conductivity, nonstick quality, there are so many factors that are important so it's something I don't think you can cheap out on!
Right now, NutriChef's 13-piece set is on sale so you can get everything you might need. They're built to be safe for use for gas, electric, and induction counters, plus they have cool-touch handles.
A Mesh Cropped workout tee to stay cool and comfy when you're working out (whether it be for at home workouts or your local gym)
This mesh tee comes in six different colors and runs in sizes XS - 3X. It's perfect for your home gym or for hitting your local gym. It's a slight crop, so it pairs really nicely with high waisted leggings and the fabric is lightweight, moisture-wicking, and breathable with the unique all-over mesh pattern.
Try it on Amazon today!
A loose leaf tea subscription to mix up your water intake
For Prime Day, you can save up to 60% off on subscription boxes. One I'm eyeballing is this loose leaf tea subscription box. You get four types of tea in one box, which should yield between 16 and 20 cups! Every tea is accompanied by a Tasting Notes card, providing rich detail of the tea's origins, flavor notes, and best brew method.
You can order this one on Amazon now with the Prime Day deal!
An Echo Dot for hands-free help as you cook
Alexa is my best friend when I'm cooking dinner! Not only is an Echo Dot super helpful if you have a recipe where you need help converting measurements and your hands are full, but Alexa is compatible with Weight Watchers. You can get Wellow by WW for your Echo Dot to track your food, look up SmartPoints® values for different items, quick-add meals, look up your tracked and remaining SmartPoints® budget, and get basic plan information.
You can get one on sale for Prime Day (and Prime members get two for $39.98 - check for the coupon code on the listing).
This ADidas cropped hoodie, since we're all living in athleisure wear these days
Fall is here, which means I'll be working from home in hoodies instead of t-shirts. This Adidas cropped hoodie will pair super nicely with some workout pants, leggings or high waisted jeans so it's super versatile and comfortable.
It's also eligible for Prime Wardrobe (another reason to sign up for Prime if you haven't already), where you can have an item shipped to you and try it on before you commit to actually buying it.
Check it out in white and pink.
Looking for something else?
I never recommend replacing a meal with a protein bar (I actually advise against this), I do think that protein bars are fantastic for an on the go snack or for pre-workout fuel. So that being said, here are some of my favorite protein bars to enjoy on Weight Watchers that don't totally break your SmartPoints budget.
They're also coated in dark chocolate, so that's a plus! You can shop now by clicking this link. You can also get 10% off if you use the coupon MagicallyFit. My personal favorite flavor is the Cookies and Cream, and my husband really likes the Cherry Barcia.
Try a variety pack now on Amazon!
Try ONE on Amazon, and also check out their minis for an option to curb a sweet tooth. They also have some plant based options that are vegan friendly.
Protein One by Fiber ONe
Try them on Amazon!
*Note: price discrepancies below are due to certain selections being a single box vs. multipacks. Don't fret, it's not $35 for a box of 10! I wouldn't do that to you.
Jessica is a huge Disney, anime, and Star Wars nerd who channeled that love into motivation to lose 75 lbs.