Special thanks to Chelsea Fuchs, Teachers College Dietetic Intern, for the following blog post!
Finding the right app among thousands of options can be a challenge. With nutrition and fitness apps, it can be hard to find one that is easy to use in addition to having accurate nutrition and exercise information. Here are eight free nutrition and fitness apps that have been reviewed by nutrition experts for helpfulness and accuracy. These apps focus on weight management, healthy food shopping, and fitness, among other topics.
Description: With an emphasis on weight loss promotion, this popular app allows you to track your food and exercise daily.
Pros: The app will remember your commonly eaten foods and activities making it easier to add those items to your log again. Includes a food database of over 2,506,000 items and a barcode scanner that allows you to scan in packaged foods. The app also allows you to add your own foods and recipes.
Cons: Less polished interface than some of its top competitors
Description: To promote minimally processed, real foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants, this app grades food products with a letter grade based on its nutrition facts and ingredient list. You can search for basic food items and find the healthiest brands, making this app useful when food shopping.
Pros: Provides daily tips to find more nutritious foods and discusses current events and public health policy. Bar code scanner for packaged items.
Cons: Navigating through the app can be difficult. Manually searching for key words can yield unrelated results.
Description: Tracks food, exercise, weight, and all of the nutrients listed on a Nutrition Facts label. The app includes inspirational articles, healthy recipes, and an easy-to-understand help section.
Pros: Detailed analysis section; logging-by-voice feature; large database of foods; easily able to log common and recently eaten foods and meals; bar code scanner; community forums for group support
Cons: Takes a long time to register and navigate through the app. Also, the app doesn’t track sodium, saturated fat, fiber and other important nutrients.
Description: Keeps track of foods you eat with a detailed, easily searchable food database. Users can also enter exercise, set goals, and establish a daily calorie budget. Great for individuals looking to lose weight or for individuals with diabetes.
Pros: Food database includes restaurant items; easy-to-use interface; can be integrated with Facebook or Twitter; offers reminders if you forget to log meals
Cons: Food logging can be time-consuming, especially if you are entering homemade meals with multiple ingredients. Also, not all foods in the database include all of the nutrients users might wish to track.
MY NET DIARY:
Description: Easy-to-navigate, thorough app for logging calories and other nutrients throughout the day, tracking exercise, and monitoring.
Pros: Large food database and built-in scanner; database of +500 exercises; calculates target calories, weight maintenance calories, BMI and Basal Metabolic Rate; shows Nutrition Facts label upon request; recipe section; detailed daily nutrition summary
Cons: Average food database; does not automatically save foods manually entered
Description: Leading calorie counting app with unique logging-by-voice feature available for free for a limited time.
Pros: Logging-by-voice function; barcode scanner; food database includes offline support; syncs with caloriecount.com; includes food, activity, weight and water logs; detailed nutrition analysis; active forums
Cons: Requires creation of log-in credentials; interface isn’t as sleek and well-designed as other apps; social forums and updates on homepage can be distracting
MY DIET COACH:
Description: Designed to keep dieters motivated and committed to meeting their weight loss goals. Uses reminders that pop up at the moment you might experience diet derailers like food cravings, emotional eating or exercise laziness.
Pros: Simple design and navigation; quick start guide; reminders can be received through push notifications; customizable reminders; direct links to YouTube videos and other online sources to perform quick exercises.
Cons: User must be able to first identify danger zones; poor image quality and copious typographical errors; only the paid version includes an extensive diet journal and weight chart.
LIVESTRONG MYPLATE CALORIE TRACKER
Description: Useful app for individuals trying to manage their weight, including an easy-to- use tracking feature for major nutrients and fitness activities. The app is a companion tool for members of The Daly Plate at www.livestrong.com.
Pros: +625,000 food and fitness database; tracks major nutrients like calories, fat, sodium, sugar and protein; shows how many calories are left during the day; shows related free apps that may be useful
Cons: Lacks goal-oriented details; may send unnecessary emails; does not track iron, saturated fat, calcium and other vitamins