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The Way It Was... 1972 Weight Watchers Program

I  came across the book, "Weight Watchers Program Cookbook" in a used bookstore (I love those used bookstores!) After reading the 1970's Program I thought I would share it with you. Weight Watchers has definitely come a long way! I don't know about you, but after reading the Program I am so GRATEFUL that Weight Watchers has come up with this new Points program (and I guarantee YOU will too!). I have a newfound respect for my wonderful leader, Renee (23 years maintaining her goal weight), and all the rest of you who started on this plan or one very similar to it - and lost your weight - what willpower & determination you had! I love the new Points Program!  If I had to do this 1970's version (this is an overview of that program) of the Weight Watchers Program I would have failed miserably (I hate hearing, "you can't have") and probably would of NEVER started it. "You can have anything" sounds so much more enticing, doesn't it? One of the things I love about the Weight Watchers Program is that they are always IMPROVING on their program - all great improvements too!  This program is the easiest program to attain that healthy new lifestyle you want and lose your weight too!  What more can you ask! See My Journey and how I lost 95 lbs. in 8 months on the NEW Weight Watcher Points Program.


Please follow the Program as given. Eat only the foods listed in your Menu Plan, in the quantities and weights specified and at the meals named. Never skip a meal. Foods may be combined in varied ways, as described in our recipes, but remember to count all ingredients. Keeping a daily food record as outlined later in this book will help you do this.

1.  DIETETIC PRODUCTS  For the most part, dietetic products are not permitted. The exceptions are the artificial sweeteners, carbonated beverages and imitation and/or diet margarines.

2.  USE AS DESIRED  A number of condiments and seasonings, such as herbs, spices, certain prepared sauces, and beverages, may be used as desired. See p. 235 for a complete list. Note that the products listed under #2A are unlimited; those listed under 2B are limited.

3.  VEGETABLES (UNLIMITED AND MODERATE AMOUNTS)  The 3A vegetables are unlimited - nibble on these whenever you're hungry. The 3B vegetables are to be eaten in the amounts given on p. 243. All vegetables in groups 3 and 4 may be used fresh; canned; frozen (without sauce); or freeze-dried (measured or weighed after rehydration.

4.  VEGETABLES (LIMITED)  Select one vegetable or a combination of several (totaling 4 ounces daily) from the list on p. 286, at noon or evening meal. Vary your selection from day to day. A serving is 4 ounces, weighed after the vegetable is cooked and drained.

5.  FRUIT  See your Menu Plan for the amount of fruit you are allowed. Choose one fruit or juice daily at breakfast. Fruits are divided into 3 groups; see pp. 128-130 for lists and details.

6.  FISH, MEAT, POULTRY AND ALTERNATES  Your Menu Plan gives net cooked weight (fat, skin and bones trimmed away from fish, meat and poultry; cooking liquid drained from Alternates.) Do not use natural gravies from any item below except from Group A.

Fish: Must be used at least 5 times a week, counting only lunches and dinners. (Although fish is allowed at breakfast, you don't use enough to consider it a fish meal.) Just once a week, you may select from the special shellfish group and count it, if you wish, as one of your 5 must fish meals.

Meat, Poultry and Alternates: These are divided into Group B and Group C foods. Choose from Group B foods exactly 3 times a week - no more, no less - for lunch and dinner, as you wish. Group B is further divided into two parts, and you are not to choose from the second part more than once a week. Choose from Group C as desired (but allow for must meals).

7.  LIVER  You must eat liver at least once a week - if you have it more often, consider it in the Group C category. Liver from any meat or poultry that's permitted on program may be used: beef, chicken, calf, steer, lamb, pork, etc.

8.  BREAD  You may have bread at mealtime only, as listed on your Menu Plan. Use packaged, presliced, enriched white bread, 100% whole wheat bread, or enriched rolls. Each slice of bread and each roll should weigh one ounce.

9.  CEREAL  You may have one ounce (or cup measure equivalent) of ready to eat (not presweetened) or uncooked cereal with at least 1/2 cup skim milk.

10. CHOICE GROUP  Two or three times a week you may, by omitting one slice of bread from your menu, substitute one item from this group.

11. FATS  Daily, but at mealtime only, you must use one tablespoon of any one of the fats listed on p. 213 (or 2 tablespoons of imitation - diet - margarine). The fat may be used in a spread, salad dressing, or sauce; it may also be used in cooking.


Eggs: Use 4 eggs a week for morning or noon meals only. Cook them in shell, poach or scramble without fat. See p. 73 for additional rules.

Cheese: Cheese and cheese products, while not required, add variety to your breakfasts and lunches. Select cottage cheese made with skim milk. Use no more than 4 ounces of hard cheese weekly.

13. MILK  See your Menu Plan for amounts of milk permitted; you may have skim milk, evaporated skimmed milk or buttermilk, as described on p. 196. Milks labeled "skimmed milk products" are not allowed on Program.

14. Do not eat or drink the following (except, of course, for "legal" recipes as given in this book):

Alcoholic beverages, beer, wine
Bacon or back fat (fat back)
Cake, cookies, crackers, pies
Candy, chocolate
Catsup, chili sauce
Coconut or coconut oil
Cream, sweet or sour
Cream cheese
Fried foods
Fruit, dried, canned in syrup or dietetic
Ice cream, ice milk, ices and sherbets
Jams, jellies, or preserves
Luncheon meats
Muffins, biscuits
Non-dairy creamers or toppings
Olives or olive oils
Pancakes, waffles
Peanut butter
Peanuts, other nuts
Popcorn, potato chips, pretzels
Pork products
Puddings, custards, flavored gelatin desserts
Raw fish or meat
Specialty breads
Salad dressings
Smoked fish (except finnan haddie and salmon)
Soda pop, ades, punch


1.  Amounts: Woman (1 slice for breakfast, 1 for lunch)  -  Man (2 slices for breakfast, 2 for lunch)  -  Youth (1 slice for breakfast, 2 for lunch, 1 for dinner.

2.  Use packaged, pre-sliced, enriched white bread or 100% whole wheat bread. Slices should be 1/2" thick or about 1 ounce. No thin-sliced, dietetic or specialty bread. Use packaged, enriched white or 100% whole wheat rolls weighing about an ounce each.

3.  The bread must be eaten at mealtime only; never between meals.

4.  Exceptions: When you are having cereal for breakfast, you may either have your bread at breakfast, or transfer a slice to another meal. You may also omit one slice of bread from the menu for one of the Choice Group (but don't do this more than 2 or 3 times a week).

CEREAL One ounce (or the cup measure equivalent) of any ready-to-eat cereal or uncooked (not presweetened) cereal may be used if desired. Cereal must be eaten with at least 1/2 cup milk. If cereal is taken - it is allowed only at breakfast - your slice of bread may be taken at breakfast or another meal.


1. Amounts: Breakfast (1 ounce hard or 2 ounces farmer or 1/4 cup cottage or pot cheese)  -  Lunch (2 ounces hard or 4 ounces farmer or 2/3 cup cottage or pot cheese.

2. Do not use more than 4 ounces of hard (or semi-hard) cheese weekly.

3. Cheeses are "illegal" if they are soft enough to spread evenly and not hard enough to slice easily. Do not use cheese spreads.

4. Any hard or sliceable cheese and any soft cheese which does not spread smoothly are approved. Follow your Menu Plan. The following cheeses are permitted:

Hard or Semi-Hard: American cheese - mild to sharp; Bleu - sharp, spicy; Canadian slices; Cheddar - mild to sharp; Colby and Coon (type of cheddar) - mild to sharp; Edam - mild, nutlike; Farmer (colby type); Feta - slightly salty; Monterey Jack (monterrey, or jack cheese) - mild; Mozzarella - mild; Muenster - mild to mellow; Parmesan - sharp, piquant; Port Du Salut (oka) - mellow to robust; Ricotta salata; Romano - sharp, salty; Roquefort - sharp and spicy; Stilton - piquant, spicy; Swiss - sweet, nutlike; Tilsit - mild to sharp.

Soft: Basket; Cottage (skim milk variety preferred); Farmer; Pot; Ricotta


Omit 1 slice of bread from the menu and select one item from this list 2-3 times weekly, if desired. Beans (fresh) - lima, 1/2 cup cooked; red or white, 1/2 cup cooked; soybeans, 1/2 cup cooked; Cornmeal (1 ounce dry)
Cowpeas and/or black-eyed peas: 1/2 cup cooked; Hominy Grits (enriched): 3/4 cup cooked; Pasta (enriched): 1/2 cup cooked noodles (see note); 1/2 cup cooked pastina (see note); 2/3 cup cooked macaroni or spaghetti; Potato: 1 (about 3 ounces) baked or boiled; Rice (enriched), 1/2 cup cooked. Rice, brown: 1/2 cup cooked. Note: Green noodles and green pastina are permitted.


1. Use 4 eggs a week, for breakfast or lunch only, never for dinner.

2. Eggs may be cooked in shell, or poached or scrambled without added fat. Do not eat raw eggs.

3. Egg whites and egg yolks may be prepared in separate recipes, provided that both white and yolk are consumed as part of the same meal.


1. Amounts: Woman, Man & Youth (2 ounces for breakfast; 4 ounces for lunch); Woman & Youth (6 ounces for dinner); Man (8 ounces for dinner) When buying fish, allow 2 ounces extra for shrinkage in cooking and 2 ounces more for bone, in addition to cooked weight.

2. You must eat a minimum of 5 weekly fish meals (for lunch or dinner), but use shellfish only once a week. You may have more fish meals if you wish - follow the Menu Plan.

3. Use fresh, frozen or canned fish (except if packed in olive oil). Drain off oil before using any allowed canned fish.

4. The only commercially smoked fish allowed are finnan haddie and smoked salmon. Raw fish is not allowed.

5. Fish may be boiled, poached, broiled, roasted, baked or browned in a non-stick skillet and the sauce or liquid left in the pan when fish is cooked may be consumed.

6. Fats (see p. 213) may be added by any of the following methods: a) After fish has been cooked and served on your individual platter, you may add fat. b) After fish has been broiled, transfer it to an individual broiling pan, spread it with "legal" fat, and return it to the broiler for no longer than one minute. c) For luncheon, combine "legal" bread crumbs with fat, and spread on cooked fish in an individual pan, then put under broiler just long enough to melt fat (no more than one minute).

7. Approved fish (select 5 meals weekly from this list): Abalone, Angel, Bass, Blackfish, Bluefish, Bonita, Bullhead, Buffalo, Butterfish, Carp, Catfish, Chicken haddie, Clams, Cod, Crappie, Cusk, Dolphin, Drum fish, Eel, Finnan haddie, Flounder, Frog's legs, Grouper, Haddock, Halibut, Leopard shark, Mackerel, Mullet, Octopus, Oysters, Perch, Pike, Pompano, Porgy, Porpoise, Red Snapper, Roe (from any fish in this group), Salmon, Scallops, Scrod, Sculpin, Scungilli, Scup, Shad, Shark, Smelts, Snook, Sole, Speering, Squid (cuttlefish), Sturgeon, Sucker, Sunfish, Swordfish, Tile fish, Trout, Tuna, Turbot, Weakfish, Whitefish, Whiting.

8. Choose only once a week, if desired. Crab, Crayfish, Lobster, Mussels, Shrimp


1. Amounts: Woman (3 fruits a day); Man and Youth (5 fruits a day)

2. One fruit must be taken at breakfast. Select 1 daily from List #1 and the others from List #1 or #2.

3. Use fresh, unsweetened frozen or unsweetened canned, packed in its own juice. Freeze dried may be used if equated to fresh fruit.

4. List #1: Choose 1 fruit from this list daily. Cantaloupe, 1/2 medium; Currants (fresh), 3/4 cup; Fruit juice: orange, grapefruit, orange and grapefruit, or tangerine, 1/2 cup (4 fl ounces); Grapefruit, 1/2 medium; Honeydew or similar melon, 2-inch wedge; Orange, 1 small; Orange sections with juice, 3/4 cup; Papaya (1/2" cubes), 3/4 cup; Strawberries, 1 cup; Tangelo, 1 small; Tangerine, 1 medium; Tomato juice or mixed vegetable juice, 1 cup (8 fl ounces); Ugli fruit, 1 medium. Note: If tomato juice is used in this way - it is in addition to your daily bonus of 12 ounces tomato juice.

5. List #2: Choose daily from this list, if desired. Apricots (12 per pound), 3 whole or 6 halves with 2 tbsp juice; Berries (blackberries, blueberries, loganberries or raspberries), 1/2 cup; Boysenberries, 2/3 cup; Caimito, 1 medium (available in Puerto Rico); Crab apple, 2; Cranberries, 1 cup; Gineps, 2; Guava, 1 medium; Jobo, 1 medium; Mandarin orange, 1 medium; Mandarin orange sections, 1/2 cup; Nectarine, 1 medium; Paw Paw, 1/4 medium; Peach, 1 medium or 2 halves or 1/2 cup slices with juice; Pineapple (canned in its own juice), 2 small slices (or 1 large) with 2 tbsp of juice or 1/2 cup crushed, chunks or diced, with juice; Pineapple (fresh), 1/4 medium; Plums (any type), 2 medium or 1 large; Rhubarb, 2 cups raw or 1 cup cooked; Sour sop, 1/3 cup; Sweet sop (or sugar-apple), 1/2 cup. You may choose from the following daily if desired: Woman (as 1 of your 3 fruits); Man (as 2 of your 5 fruits); Youth (as 3 of your 5 fruits) Apple, 1 medium; Pear, 1 medium

6. List #3: Once a week, if desired, you may substitute one of the following for one of your daily fruits. Do not choose the same fruit every week. Woman and Man (On the day you make this choice, do not include an apple or pear among your fruits); Youth (On the day you make this choice, do not include more than 2 apples or 2 pears among your fruits). Banana, 1 medium; Grapes (any type), 1 cup; Sapote (marmalade plum), 1/4 cup diced; Sweet or sour cherries, 1/2 cup pitted or 3/4 cup unpitted.


1. Amounts (net cooked weight): Woman and Youth (4 ounces for lunch, 6 ounces for dinner); Man (4 ounces for lunch, 8 ounces for dinner)

2. Liver must be eaten at least once a week, either for lunch or dinner. It may be taken more often. If so, consider it as a Group C meat, which may be broiled, baked, roasted or pan broiled (without added fat). If liver amount is split, you may not count it as one of your required liver meals.

3. Liver from any meat or poultry that's allowed on Program may be used. This includes chicken and calf liver (the tenderest and most delicately flavored); lamb (not often available), steer and baby beef liver (usually tender and of good quality); and the more robust kinds of liver, which include mature beef, turkey, rabbit and venison livers. This last group of livers are frequently marinated for 30 minutes before they are cooked. Or they may be covered with boiling water, drained after a few minutes, dried and cooked as directed in the recipe.


Amounts (net cooked weight): Woman, Man and Youth (4 ounces for lunch or Alternates, 7 ounces; except soybeans, 6 ounces); Woman and Youth (6 ounces for dinner or Alternates, 10 ounces; except soybeans, 9 ounces); Man (8 ounces for dinner or Alternates, 14 ounces; except soybeans, 12 ounces).

Meat and Poultry   1. For each serving, allow 2 ounces for shrinkage in cooking and 2 ounces for bone, in addition to cooked weight. Fresh and frozen meats are permitted. The only smoked (or cured) meat allowed is ham. 2. Remove all visible fat before cooking. 3. Broil, bake or roast Group B Meat on a rack. Broil, bake, roast or pan broil Group C Meat. Meat marked with an Asterisk may be boiled. To do this, pierce first if necessary, then boil until cooked. Drain before serving.

Alternates Dried peas and beans, as listed, may be used. Cook them according to package directions. Drain, weigh and serve in the amounts indicated in your Menu Plan. Liquid drained from Alternates may be consumed. Group B (choose only 3 times a week): Beef, Gizzards; Kidney (beef, calf, lamb); Lamb

Choose only once a week, if desired: *Frankfurters (all beef); *Ham; *Heart; *Knockwurst (all beef); *Sweetbreads (beef, calf, lamb); Pork; Beans, dried lima, red or white; Lentils, dried; Peas, dried, black-eyed or cowpeas, chick or garbanzos, split. *Can be boiled, pierce first if necessary, drain.

Group C (choose as desired): Antelope; Buffalo; Capon; Caribou; Chicken; Cornish hen; Elk; Goat meat; Guinea hen; Moose; Pheasant; Pigeon; Quail; Rabbit; Soybeans, dried; Squab; Tripe; Turkey; Veal; Venison.


1. Amounts: Woman and Man (16 fl ounces skim milk, or 12 fl ounces buttermilk, or 8 fl ounces evaporated skimmed milk); Youth (1 quart skim milk, or 24 fl ounces buttermilk, or 16 fl ounces evaporated skim milk).

2. The skim milk we allow is the instant non-fat dry milk, reconstitute according to label directions; or skim milk labeled either "skimmed milk" or "modified" or "fortified skim milk" with no whole milk solids added. Do not use milk labeled "a skimmed milk product" or "99% ft free."

3. Your daily allowance of evaporated skimmed milk may be diluted with an equal amount of water to make a total of 16 ounces skim milk.

4. The buttermilk may be made from either whole or combination of skim milk and whole milk; Bulgarian buttermilk is not permitted.

5. You may use your milk at any time, at meal times, as snacks, at bedtime, in coffee or tea, or in our popular milk shakes and whipped toppings, but you must consume the amount allotted to you in your menu plan.

6. Mix-and-match your milk if you like. For example, a woman may use 1 cup (8 fl ounces) skim milk and 1/2 cup (4 fl ounces) evaporated skim milk to complete daily requirement.

7. Instant non-fat dry milk reconstitutes to the ratio of 1:3; therefore, if you stir 2 tsp dry milk into your coffee, you must count 6 tsp (1 fl ounce) skim milk.


1. Fats in the amounts included in your Menu Plan must be taken daily (at mealtime only): 1 tbsp (3 tsp) mayonnaise; or 1 tbsp (3 tsp) vegetable oil; or oils such as corn, cottonseed, safflower, sesame seed, soybean, peanut and sunflower; or 1 tbsp (3 tsp) liquid vegetable oil margarine or 2 tbsp (6 tsp) liquid vegetable oil imitation (or diet) margarine.

2. Fats may be mixed-and-matched; e.g., you may have 1 tsp margarine and 2 tbsp mayonnaise daily.

3. Any product labeled "mayonnaise" and any oil labeled "vegetable oil" may be used.

4. Two types of margarine may be used. Molded margarines in stick form or by the pound may be used only if the first word on the label ingredient list is "liquid" followed by the name(s) of the vegetable oil(s) used. The second type of margarine which may be used includes those labeled "imitation and/or diet" margarine. These are usually sold in containers.

5. Fat must always be spread with a spatula or knife (not brushed on) so that none will be lost.


1. Dietetic Products: Two are permitted, in reasonably unlimited amounts: Any artificially sweetened carbonated beverage not to exceed 15 calories per day. If a 12-ounce container of beverage has only 3 calories, you may consume 5 containers in one day. If a 16-ounce bottle contains 8 1/2 calories, you may drink 28 ounces per day. Any dietetic beverage that contains 3 calories per fl ounce must be limited to approximately 5 ounces.  Artificial sweeteners: There's no limit on the amount allowed (until you reach the Leveling Plan). However, many of the revised formulas for sugar substitutes have changed in caloric content. Check labels: If the packet (equivalent to 2 tbsp or more of sugar) lists up to 4 calories, consider it "legal."

2A. Unlimited - Use as desired the following: Browning sauce (liquid); Clam juice; Club soda; Coffee; Dehydrated vegetable flakes (as seasonings), e.g. celery, chives, onion parsley, not dehydrated vegetable flakes containing carrots or potatoes; Herbs, spices and other seasonings (e.g. shake-on type) for flavor. Shake-on seasonings in which either sugar or starch is listed as first ingredient are not permitted; Horseradish (red or white); Lemon and lime juice, fresh or reconstituted (for flavoring only); Mustard, prepared or dry; Pepper sauce; Postum (limited to 2 cups daily); Red hot sauce; Salt, pepper; Seaweed (agar agar, dulse, kelp, etc.); Soy sauce; Tea (mint, Gossip, rose hip, sassafras, unsweetened instant teas, and usual tea leaves); Vinegar (all vinegars are "legal": Cider vinegar, made from apples, wine vinegar from grapes, malt vinegar from grain, etc.); Water, Worcestershire.

2B. Limited Items - Bouillon cubes, instant broth and seasoning mixes: Not more than 3 per day; Extract and flavors (natural or with added imitation flavor): Use 2 tsp per day. Please note that we use the term "flavor extract" throughout the book to signify products labeled either "flavor" or "extract."; Unflavored gelatin: Up to 3 envelopes (3 tbsp) per day. Kosher unflavored gelatin is permitted; Tomato Juice or Mixed Vegetable Juice: You may use up to 1 1/2 cups (12 fl ounces) daily, if desired. In cooking, 3/4 cup tomato puree or 1/3 cup tomato paste may be used in place of 1 1/2 cups tomato juice reduced to half its volume.


1. Use vegetables raw or cooked; fresh frozen (without sauce), or canned, either at meals or between meals (but always have at least one #3 vegetable at lunch).

2. You may eat all you want from Group A. Eat up to 4 cups raw or 2 cups cooked from Group B. Note that cucumbers, peppers, pickles and tomatoes are counted rather than measured. The number listed (e.g. 2 medium cucumbers) counts as the total daily requirement of #3B vegetables. However, you may mix and match; for example, on the day you use 1 medium tomato, you may also have up to 1 cup cooked or 2 cups raw #3B vegetables.

*3. Please note asterisks designating dark green, deep yellow and red vegetables. You must select from these marked vegetables at least 2-3 times weekly. Vary your selection from day to day.

3A. Unlimited: Capers; Celery; Chicory; Chilies (peppers); Chives; Escarole; Gherkins; Lettuce; Nasturtium leaves; Parsley; *Pimentos; Radishes (Daikon); Romaine; Truffles; Watercress (Peppergrass).

3B. Moderate Amounts: Anise; Asparagus; *Bean sprouts; *Beans, green; Beans, wax; *Beet greens; *Broccoli; Cabbage, red or white; Cabbage, swamp; Cauliflower; Chard (Swiss); Chinese cabbage (Bok Choy); Chinese pea pods (Snow Peas or Chinese peas); Chinese winter melon (Tonqua); Collard Greens; Cucumbers, 2 medium; *Dandelion greens; Eggplant; Endive (including Belgian); Fennel; Fiddlefern (Fiddlehead greens); Finocchio; Grape leaves; *Kale; Kohlrabi; Mushrooms; *Mustard greens; *Peppers (green and red), 2 medium; Pickles (dill, sour), 2 medium; Poke salad greens; Sauerkraut; Sour grass; *Spinach; Squash (summer); Casserta; Chayote; Cocozelle; Cymling; Pattypan; Scalloped; Spaghetti; Straight or Crookneck; Vegetable Marrow; Zucchini; Tomatoes, cherry (1 1/2" in diameter), approximately 10-12; *Tomatoes (green or ripe), 2 medium; Turnip greens.


1. You must eat 4 ounces (drained raw or cooked weight) per day, or a combination totaling that amount (for example, 1 ounce each of 4 different kinds). The #4 vegetables may be eaten only at the noon or evening meal.

2. Please note asterisks designating dark green, deep yellow and red vegetables. You must select from these marked vegetables at least 2-3 times weekly. Vary your selection of #4 vegetables from day to day.

3. These may be bought fresh, canned or frozen (except for those frozen with butter or other sauces); they may be eaten raw or cooked.

4. Drain your vegetable before you weigh it, but not down the drain. You may consume the liquid as is, or use it to replace water in making soups from bouillon cubes, etc.

5. The following vegetables belong to this group: Artichoke hearts; Bamboo shoots; Beets; Burdock; *Brussels sprouts; *Carrots; Celeriac (celery roots); Jicima; Leeks; Okra; Onions; Oyster plant (Salsify); Parsnips; *Peas; *Pumpkin; Rutabagas; Scallions; *Squash (winter) - Acorn, Banana, Butternut, Calabaza, Des Moines, Gold Nugget, Hubbard, Peppercorn, Table Queen or Danish Turban, Turks Turban; Turnips.

From "Weight Watchers Program Cookbook" by Jean Nidetch

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