We all know how hard it is to grocery shop today. Organic food isn’t always available, and it’s hard to plan a meal when you don’t know exactly what you’re buying. Reading labels is a necessary evil. Or is it? If you have a smartphone such as an iPhone or Droid, you may be in luck. Indeed, many apps exist to help you eat healthy and stay healthy – including ones that help you diet the tried and true way – through good old fashioned diet and exercise. The following are the top ten mobile apps, in no particular order.
- Lose It! is one of the most popular out there, and for good reason. It allows you to set a calorie goal for the day, and as you eat, you enter your food intake and it will subtract that from your daily goal. It then reminds you how many calories you have left in your allowance, so you can see right away how well you’re doing – and keeps you on track. Its database allows you to search for food from grocery stores and restaurants, so you can find almost anything. And you can keep track of your exercise for the day. You can also synch it with your computer and check out the Lose It! website. Easy to use with a wealth of information, this one is hard to beat.
- Calorie Tracker is another weight loss app. From LiveStrong.com, this one’s database has over 525,000 food and restaurant menu items for which you can search; then you can record your selections and keep track of your nutritional intake. This app will also adjust your caloric intake based on your exercise for the day. It’s not perfect though: it’s hard to search for and find what you seek and it doesn’t let you choose a large amount of portions. Still, it’s good once you learn to navigate it well.
- Mint Nutrition lets you do two things: find nutrition information at restaurants and create “plates” of your own meals using their nutritional values. Since you can use this app to assuage the calorie count and nutritional value of all sorts of items, you should learn to choose foods and meals more wisely after using it for a while. Also, although it’s time consuming, the “plates” you create by inputting the nutritional values of meals you make will provide you with healthy recipes you can always count on when at home. A very good learning app that you’ll really appreciate.
- Fresh Fruit is an amazing app, especially if you’re trying to incorporate more and more organic fruits into your diet. Fresh Fruit tells you which fruits are well in season and their nutritional values. It also teaches you how to choose ripe ones and each fruit’s history and country of origin. A lot of fruit is out there – some about which you know nothing – so this app offers you information and suggestions on new ones to try.
- Fast Food is a calorie counter you can use when you HAVE to stop at McDonald’s or other on-the-go spots so you can make the healthiest choices you can. It has food information from just about every fast food joint around, including Wendy’s, Big Apple Bagels and Chevy’s Tex Mex. Easy to use, it not only tells you about what you’re eating but also allows you to sort items by nutritional value and keep your log for about a year. Great for helping you choose the lesser of two fast food evils!
- Nutrition Tips has about 500 tips and facts for healthy eating – and living. Created by the USDA.gov and Nutrition.gov, it’s easy to use and its information useful and often fascinating.
- The Carrot is an all-in-one app that allows you to do many things: keep a food journal, notate your blood pressure and record your workouts. You can also take note of the medications you take, look up food information and even watch out for your chronic conditions, such as diabetes. Start slowly with this one: it does so much; it may overwhelm you if you try to do too much with it at once.
- Taber’s Medical Dictionary is used by physicians, nutritionist, alternative medicine therapists and more to find the answers to medical questions, learn the latest treatments of disease and help you take control of your health. With over 60,000 terms, 1000 photos and many patient case studies, you can find the information you need. You’ll get nutrition information, alternative therapy discussions, links to pronunciation – everything you need to help you stay healthy. You also get access to the full Taber’s on the Web. Can you imagine a more helpful app?
- E-additives is an unusual app in that it analyzes the E numbers (the codes used in European packaging to tell you what additives are used; these are increasingly found in American food labels due to food importation) and additive names used on food products. Therefore, you learn what you are really eating: what pesticides are in certain foods, what they’ll do to your body and whether they are animal or GMO based. It also tells you about negative side effects you may feel if you eat that food. A definite must if you care about what you put in your body!
- CSPI Chemical Cuisine helps you shop for the cleanest, least offensive foods when you can’t buy organically. Thanks to its large database, you’ll find information about food additives, colorants, flavors and more that hide in food labels. Then you’ll learn their potential harmful side effects. It contains experts’ opinions, the latest research reports and even where the additives are banned. Another great app if you truly care about your health.
Of course, this isn’t an all-encompassing list of apps available to help you eat and be healthy. We’ve tried to include the ones we think will get you started on your way to a healthier lifestyle. Whether you’re worried about additives or trying to lose weight and count your calories, you’ll find these apps helpful.