If there’s one thing that most of us should be doing more of, it’s paying more attention to what we eat. In this day and age, it can be tough to keep track of snacks, meals, and drinks, and even tougher to know what you should be eating altogether.
Thankfully, those little friends in our pockets and purses are here to help with all types of apps to track, coach, and assist in order to help you reach your goal weight, whether that’s gaining some mass, losing a few pounds, or maintaining your current figure.
1. Fooducate: Unless you’re a regular Henry David Thoreau, you probably shop at a grocery store. And if you shop at a grocery store, you probably are barraged with flashy labels that say things like, “Celery: no trans fat added!” and “Bread: now fat free!” It can be quite the conundrum navigating your way through the sayings and pseudoscience towards healthy decisions. That’s where Fooducate comes in.
The 1st prize winner in the US Surgeon General’s Healthy App Challenge, Fooducate let’s you scan the barcode of your potential purchase while still in the store, and will provide you a nutrition grade (A-D), letting you know the pros and cons of eating that certain food item. The app will also help you choose healthier alternatives should your product score a low grade on the test. Fooducate is made to hunt for potential dietary pitfalls, like trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, additives, and excess sugar. If you have a special health concern, you can customise your settings by your height, current weight, gender, activity level, health condition, and allergies. The reason Fooducate beats so many other apps is that it helps you eat quality calories, not just a quantity, all while educating you for your future healthy lifestyle. Get Fooducated!
2. WeightWatchers App: I personally don’t care for Weight Watchers, but it works fairly well for a considerable amount of people, and it seems to have evolved well into the Information Age. Weight Watchers actually offers two apps: one called Simple Start, and another that’s just the Mobile app. If you’re unsure about whether or not you are interested in getting into WW, and just want to get your feet wet, you can download the WW Simple Start app. The app provides two weeks worth of meals for you to start with or get back into if you temporarily quit. For more serious users. the Mobile app is a bit more rife with features, like activity and food tracking, charts, and thousands of recipes. The app is completely free, but you must have a Weight Watchers subscription to use it.
3. HealthyOut: You can prepare clever, healthy meals all you want at home to keep yourself on the right nutritional track all you want, but when your special someone or group of friends call hoping to spend a night out on the town, you might struggle to find the right meal for your current diet. With HealthyOut, you can search for meals at the restaurant that you’re headed to to see what foods fit your current diet. Whether it’s Paleo, Low Calorie, Carb, Fat, or sodium, Atkins, or Gluten free, you can find the perfect healthy, delicious meal at your favorite dining establishment! There are many different filters to block out any meals that won’t fit your strict plan, which makes it simple to narrow your choices—no more staring at a menu and deliberating while your friends, the waiter, and guests outside the eatery wait for you to make your decision. You can also see the nutritional breakdown of your preferred dish and points associated with the meal. The app is clean and easy to use, and it even has a special option for those tired of the tried and true dieting stable: a “Not a Salad” filter.
4. Primal Paleo: One fad that seems to keep gaining steam is the Paleo Diet. (Or, as followers of the diet would say, the Paleo Lifestyle!) If there is a single diet that can cause the most confusion, it’s the Paleo Diet. “Eating like your ancestors” is easier said than done in this world, because after all, it’s not 10,000 B.C. However, fear not, caveman-in-training. Primal Paleo will handle all of the recipes, exercises, community and even cheat days for you. 365 recipes are included with your $1 purchase of the app, along with an exercise database with 3 levels of intensity and 3 different workout styles. There is a special search capability that allows you to search to see if your favorite dish is paleo, or whether it needs to be scrapped from your life for good. Strapped for time and stuck with a hodge-podge of items in the fridge and pantry? Just enter in your ingredients and see what recipes will work with what you have. You can also use the app to get connected to other “Grogs” or “Groks” like you and find coupons, deals, and goings-on in the Primal Paleo world.
5. Lose It! Lose It! is an all-in-one dieting app that gives you a complete health rehaul. You can set goals relating to weight, body fat, hydration, sleep, steps, exercise, and nutrients and log your activities and meals each day to get one step closer every night. Fitbit, Jawbone Up, Twitter and Facebook all work flawlessly with the app to help you log exercise and share your progress with fellow health nuts. The most popular running apps also integrate into Lose It! There’s an extensive food and exercise database for finding and entering information into the tracker, and you can also build recipes and scan barcodes to get quick nutrition facts. If you have a goal that you think will take some encouragement to accomplish, join or create a group for sharing ideas, recipes, plans, or even just a kind word or two. One of the most exciting features of Lose It! is the challenge feature. You can create or join challenges in order to get some friendly competition going in categories like weight loss, exercise, or fruits and veggies eaten. There is also a new messaging feature for communicating with others on the road to a healthier tomorrow. Lose It! is the primary competitor to the following application, so keep reading to see which one you should download.
6. My Fitness Pal:Here we are: the holy grail of health applications. MyFitnessPal. Sitting firmly in the 10 million to 50 million installs category (as opposed to Lose It!’s 1 million to 5 million), so you know it has the features and ease of use to appease the masses. With an extremely extensive database—2 million foods—and an efficient workout database, the app has everything you could need for tracking your fitness.
When you first start out, you select your goals and your timeframe, and MyFitnessPal takes care of the rest. You can add multiple foods at once to your log, and save entire meals and recipes for easy adding of your favorites. With MFP, you can contact friends and share your progress via their profiles, which can boost your progress by up to 3x according to MyFitnessPal. You will need to make an account in order to use the app, but once you make the account, you can add items both on mobile and desktop—whichever is more convenient.
Another special feature of MFP is the room for customization. Mystery recipe? Make a custom food to enter into your daily record. Your running watch calculated your calories burned during a workout? Add your custom exercise as well. My personal favorite aspect of the app is the data arrangement. Graphs and charts give you an efficient view of your progress, as well as an extremely useful pie chart to show your caloric breakdown. So go ahead and get connected and break out of your current plateau.