Eat Healthier with These Apps
Downloading a workout app to your smartphone or using the best home gym equipment are great ways to get fit, but exercise is only half the battle. You've got to manage what you put into your body, too. Luckily, a lot of smartphone apps can help impose some dietary discipline, helping you watch what you eat — or at least be better informed about the food you consume.
If one of your goals in the new year is to eat better, check out the following calorie logging apps as well as software that focuses on specific diets, such as the keto diet. These mobile apps, available for iOS and Android, can help you be smarter about meal times. (Image Credit: Sergey Edentod/Shutterstock)
KetoDiet (Android, $6.99; iOS, $8.99)
Ketogenic diets — which feature lots of fats, moderate proteins and very few carbs — are all the rage these days, thanks to high-profile celebrities who tout the wonders of going keto. (Nutritionists and dietitians are less enthusiastic, pointing out the drawbacks and risks to keto diets.) If you're trying out the keto lifestyle, KetoDiet (Android, iOS) can be a handy tool, offering recipes, articles and advice from experts. The nutritional data in KetoDiet promises to be accurate, as the app spurns crowd-sourced data in favor of information from verifiable sources. The hundred of recipes include nutrtional facts, alternative ingredients and the ability adjust for serving sizes.
Fooducate (Android, iOS: Free)
Fooducate (Android, iOS) helps you shop and eat healthy by allowing you to quickly pull up nutritional information about food products from barcodes. The app also allows you to make sense of nutritional labels. Fooducate displays a letter grade from A to D, along with a quick summary of nutrition information in plain language; it suggests healthy alternatives, too. If you cook your own meals or eat out, you can also manually enter a meal's nutritional information. In addition, the app also doubles as an intake, calorie and exercise tracker. A pro subscription removes ads and unlocks additional features.
Shopwell (Android, iOS: Free)
The first step to eating well is shopping well. At least that's the idea behind Shopwell (Android, iOS), a barcode scanning and shopping assistant app that rates foods and grocery items according to your nutritional objectives. ShopWell users create a personalized profile and select from a series of nutritional goals (Heart Disease, Athletic Training, and so on), as well as dietary restrictions (Celiac disease, food allergies, vegetarian, and more). The app then takes these settings into account and uses them to score scanned grocery items, as well as provide layman-friendly nutritional pointers, and healthy suggestions.
Nutrients (iOS: $4.99)
Formerly known as Foodle, Nutrients provides users with a rich database containing nutritional information for a wide variety of meals and ingredients. Users can search for specific foods or ingredients and view a breakdown of its important nutritional content, or they can instead choose a particular nutrient, like Vitamin C or Potassium, and then find foods that are loaded with what they're looking for (citrus fruits or bananas, for example). Users can even create custom recipes with a mix of ingredients, or view data or search from an Apple Watch app.
Lifesum (Android, iOS: Free)
Rather than aim for a simple, cut-and-dried accounting of every calorie and macronutrient you ingest, Lifesum (Android, iOS) aims to help you build a healthy lifestyle, with plans for losing weight, gaining muscle mass or maintaining a healthy body. Users choose a fitness plan that's right for them, and then record exercise, water and food intake manually or with a bar code scanner; the app gives you feedback and recommendations based on fitness goals. Users can view their fitness and eating habits over time, as well as health tips and reminders to get enough food or water. Lifesum Premium subscriptions provide users with more specialized diet plans, as well as more detailed nutrition breakdowns for food, as well as in-app integration with a variety of fitness trackers and smart devices.
8fit Workouts & Meal Planner (Android, iOS: Free)
You can download a dedicated workout app or a nutrition helper, but 8fit Workout & Meal Planner (Android, iOS) thinks you'll prefer just one tool to handle both jobs. Download the app and set a wellness goal, whether it's weight loss or boosting your overall fitness. Enter in your height, weight, and an estimate of your body fat, and 8fit will work up a customized fitness plan with step-by-step guidance. Pay for a membership and you can also get customized meal plans that include healthy eating tips and ingredient alternatives. People with special diets will like filters that exclude things like gluten or create specialized paleo, vegan or vegetarian plans. A monthly membership costs $19.99, but paying for a full year at $59.99 reduces that monthly cost.
Sparkpeople Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker (Android, iOS: Free)
Sparkpeople's Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker (as it's known on Android) is a total fitness app, calorie counter and exercise guide with a wealth of tools and integration with Sparkpeople's fitness and healthy living user community. The app, which goes by Sparkpeople Calorie Tracker on iOS includes a calorie counter with a rich library of more than 4 million food items, complete with a barcode scanner for easy entry as well as exercise demos. A workout log makes it easy to record your exercises, including sets, reps, and weight/rep. A gamified system of SparkPoints rewards tracking and healthy habits, and you can use SparkPoints to send virtual gifts to other users. In addition to the built-in tools, the Sparkpeople app integrates with various fitness trackers and devices.
Noom (Android, iOS: Freemium, $60/month)
Noom (Android, iOS) is another app that focuses on building healthy habits to build a healthy body. The app's free tier provides users with food and exercise logging options and an in-app pedometer, but the real gold is in Noom Coach's customized premium plans that provide daily goals and personalized coaching to help you achieve your fitness goals. The app's dashboard puts your daily tasks and activities front and center with challenges and feedback designed to build healthy habits, rather than just unsustainable weight crashes that you'll rebound from in no time.
FoodPrint by Nutrino (Android, iOS: Free)
The FoodPrint by Nutrino app (Android, iOS) is a nutrition goals and meal planning app that is designed to work with other apps and devices to intelligently track your exercise activity and automatically adjust food recommendations. Users set their nutritional goals (eating healthy, losing weight, building muscle) as well as any dietary restrictions (gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, halal), and Nutrino builds a personalized meal plan. Users can further customize this plan by selecting preferred foods and swiping for alternatives, and in addition, they can log in exercise, sleep, and water. The free tier provides food, exercise, and medication logging, while premium subscriptions add meal planners, diet options, and healthy meal suggestions.
MyPlate Calorie Tracker (Android, iOS: Free)
Livestrong.com's MyPlate Calorie Tracker (Android, iOS) is a versatile calorie tracker and nutrition app that makes it easy to log your food intake and and track your consumption habits as you progress toward your health goals over time. The app comes with a comprehensive database of more than 2 million different food items, with a barcode scanner for easy logging of prepackaged food, as well as a tool for creating custom meal items. Users can track intake of calories and a variety of macro and micronutrients, as well as their water intake. The app also doubles as an exercise log, complete with Google Fit and Apple HealthKit integration and support for a variety of wearables.
Calorie Counter Pro (Android, Free; iOS: $3.99)
MyNetDiary's Calorie Counter Pro app (Android, iOS) is a comprehensive food scanner, nutrition log and exercise tracker. The app can scan barcodes for a product's nutritional information, and it offers the option to input custom foods and recipes, with tracking for up to 45 different nutrients. An exercise tracker allows users to enter more than 500 different activities; you can manually enter calories burned, too, with time and distance tracking for walking. In addition, the app includes planning features for dieters who want to set a target weight and plan out their eating and exercising habits, with Calorie Counter Pro helping plan out intake and activity for weight loss or maintenance.
PlateJoy (Android, iOS: starts at $69 for 6 months)
Rather than use one-size-fits-all diet plans, PlateJoy (Android, iOS) builds custom diet and meal plans based on your user profile and nutritional goals. The app provides users with a lifestyle quiz that helps define your taste preferences, dietary restrictions, and what you want to get out of your healthy eating plan; then PlateJoy uses a variety of data points to build a customized meal plan, complete with shopping lists and the option to have your groceries delivered straight to your door, getting that hassle out of the way so you can focus on food prep and eating right. Subscriptions start at $69 for 6 months, or $99 for 12 months.
My Diet Coach (Android, iOS: Free)
My Diet Coach (Android, iOS) aims to build healthier eating and fitness habits using a system of goals and challenges to gamify weight loss. You set your weight loss goals, and the app will send you reminders and motivational messages, as well as guides to avoid such bad habits as exercise laziness. Regular challenges encourage healthy eating goals, such as filling up with water, or making sure you fill your plate with vegetables. Users can track their meals with a diet diary and calorie calculator. In-app purchases unlock extra features.
Calorie Counter — MyFitnessPal (Android, iOS: Free)
MyFitnessPal's Calorie Counter (Android, iOS) app helps you out on that front, functioning as an easy to use calorie and nutrients counter with a database that boasts more than 2 million foods (and it's growing every day). Easily look up and track the foods you're consuming with the help of a barcode scanner as well as a recipe calculator for inputting custom creations. Track exercises, set diet goals and sync your progress to myfitnesspal.com for free.
Lose It! (Android, iOS: Free)
Lose It! (Android, iOS) is another excellent nutrition and exercise logging tool targeted at those looking to lose a few pounds. Simply enter a few details about yourself such as weight, height and goal weight, and the app will help you come up with a daily calorie budget. The app keeps tracking your food intake easy, with barcode scanners for grocery items, as well as an extensive database of dishes and restaurant meals. The app also has an exercise tracking feature, and can also sync data with other exercise apps to help log your routine.
Calorie Counter by FatSecret (Android, iOS: Free)
Calorie Counter by FatSecret (Android, iOS) offers a solid package of tools for calorie conscious dieters: a barcode scanner for food nutritional info, a food and exercise diary, a weight chart, and meal and recipe ideas. Additionally, users can also sync their data online to their FatSecret account to access online and across multiple devices.