Downloading a workout app to your smartphone is a great way 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. Fom basic calorie logging apps to ones that focus on specific diets, such as the keto diet, these smartphone apps can help you be smarter about meal times. (Image Credit: Sergey Edentod/Shutterstock)
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) 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.
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.
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.
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.
Kurbo Health Coaching (Android, iOS) is designed to helps kids, teens, and families build healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. The app focuses less on the minutiae of calorie tracking and is more about teaching kids to identify healthy foods, budgeting them against less wholesome fare. The app includes games, achievements, and reminders to help motivate you to eat well and be fit and active. Subscribers also get access to one-on-one health coaching within the app from Kurbo's team of coaches as well as healthy recipes and planning tools to help everyone in the family. About the only downside is price, with subscriptions starting at $85 per month; longer subscriptions get discounted pricing.
Sparkpeople's Weight Loss Diet & Calorie Counter app (Android, iOS) 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 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.