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Health & Fitness Apps for Your Smartphone or Tablet – Segment 4: Diet – Food – Nutrition*

September 2, 2013

*This document is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. Please note: The information we provide here is based on information obtained from the companies who created the apps and online reviews of the apps. Some of the information provided within individual apps may not be scientifically proven.

Diet/Food/Nutrition

“When it comes to losing weight, what you put into your body is just as important as what you burn from it.” –Ochs, Susie (maclife.com), Twenty life-changing health and fitness apps, 2013

Tracking food is a great way to lose or maintain weight, but how do you know what foods to choose? What if your goal is to simply eat more nutritiously for better health. Sometimes, it is hard to know if you’re making the right choices. The following are some apps we think might help, both for healthy nutritious eating and weight loss or maintenance.

Top Apps in this Category

Fooducate– Diet Tracker & Healthy Food Nutrition Scanner by Fooducate, Ltd. (Free; Plus version $3.99). Hands down, this app came out on top every time in the ratings and reviews for healthy food and nutrition apps. This grocery-store navigator aims to help you better analyze food labels and get key information without having to read every detail. With Fooducate, you can simply scan items right in the store, and it will highlight the product’s positive and negative attributes. Fooducate “grades” each item based on its healthy attributes. The great thing about this app is that it will even suggest healthier alternatives, if one is available. This is not your traditional barcode scanner; Fooducate not only keeps track of the products you’re buying, it shows you what they’re made of, gives nutrition facts, tracks your progress, and allows you to set nutrition goals. Use this app to find healthy alternatives to the products you usually purchase and make healthful changes to your nutritional plan. Marketing can be confusing. For example, while orange juice may seem healthy and nutritious, one single serving cup can have the same amount of sugar as five oranges – without their fiber. You might be getting your vitamin C, but you’re also getting a ton of sugar without the benefits of just eating the orange whole. Or, what about all those products that say “sugar-free” or “fat-free”? Are they really healthy and nutritious? Are they the best alternative for your needs? Fooducate can help you see the true nutritional value of the foods you’re buying. By simply using you phone’s camera, you can scan a product’s barcode, and Fooducate will bring up a letter grade (A-F). Along with the grade, Fooducate will give you the product’s highlights – both good and bad – show you healthier alternatives, and even let you compare products. Fooducate will show you excessive sugar, trans fats, additives and preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, unnatural food colorings, and more. The app has more than 200,000 unique UPCs in its database. If a product isn’t in the database, you can take a series of photos and submit it to Fooducate to be added. If you ever wished you had a dietician along on your grocery trips, Fooducate is the app for you. For an ad-free version, choose Fooducate Plus.

Available for iOS and Android.

Healthy Diet & Grocery Food Scanner by ShopWell (Free). If you want to build a healthier grocery list, you might want to try this Shopwell app. You can list any specific dietary needs or restrictions, and Shopwell can help you find the foods that are right for you. (Of course, always consult with your physician about specific dietary needs for your medical conditions.) Shopwell will rank each item on your shopping list with a number between 1 and 100, based on how healthy it is. Simply scan the barcode, and Shopwell will give its numeric rating and tell whether it is a good match for your specific health goals. This app will also give suggestions that are better options for your health. The app aims to improve your eating (and buying) habits by offering users “trade-ups” when they enter less healthy options. You can also earn rewards like coupons and gift cards for taking healthy actions – great for a little extra motivation. Shopwell was created by a registered dietician and is a community partner of the USDA.

Available for iOS.

Restaurant Nutrition by Foundation HealthCare Network (Free). Whether you’re on the road or simply eating out, knowing the calorie and nutritional information for restaurant foods can go a long way in helping you eat healthfully – without breaking the calorie-bank. Restaurant Nutrition is a great app for this purpose. It lists nutritional information from more than 250 restaurant chains across the United States. With more than 60,000 food items in the database, you can sort through to see what the best option might be for you. Once you’ve found the foods you like, you can add them to your food journal to track your eating habits, including the calories, carbs, protein, fat, and other nutritional information. If you happen to have a food allergy, Restaurant Nutrition lets you hide menu items that contain the ingredient(s) you need to restrict. There’s also a gluten-free menu indicator for those who need or would like to restrict gluten. If you’re not familiar with a particular area, you can use the app’s map feature to locate nearby restaurants – great when you’re on the road.

Available for iOS and Android.

Honorable Mentions in this Category

Eat Local by SmartTools (Free). This is a simple app that strives to make finding and eating fresh produce easier. Eat Local tells you what produce is in season locally, where to find a nearby farmers’ market, and provides seasonal recipe suggestions. It’s a nice app for finding healthy items when traveling in an unfamiliar location. Eat Local is a great app that combines two useful features – a local produce locator and recipe suggestions – into one.

Available for iOS.

Harvest – Select the Best Produce by Sean Murphy ($1.99). Many of us would like to add more fruits and vegetables to our healthy eating plan, but sometimes the produce aisle can be confusing. Want to know which fruits are ripest, freshest, healthiest? Take a look at Harvest. Should you squeeze a fruit or vegetable to know if it’s good, or perhaps smell it, thump it, or pull its leaves or stem? The Harvest app can help with tips for picking the highest-quality items, minimizing exposure to pesticides, ideas on how to clean and store fruits and veggies, and more. Harvest has more than 120 fruits and vegetables in the database. Don’t know what arugula is or looks like, or confronted with some questionable-looking strawberries? Check the Harvest app. Information is easy to find, nicely presented, and organized alphabetically by food item.

Available for iOS.

Substitutions by ($0.99). Another helpful app in the kitchen, Substitutions doesn’t provide recipes, but if you have your own favorite recipes with less-than-healthy ingredients, this app offers a straightforward list of substitutions for more than 400 ingredients that can help you tweak them to remove some of the fat, sodium, sugar, or anything else you’d like to avoid.

Available for iOS.

Sources

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