Special thanks to Stacy Kim, University of Maryland intern, for this post.
MealLogger is a free, easy-to-use app that takes the tedium out of food journaling. Although studies have shown that participants who keep food journals are more likely to lose weight and keep it off versus those who do not, maintaining detailed logs of food intake can be time-consuming. MealLogger is a food journal app that allows users to track meals using photographs, eliminating the need to keep detailed calorie counts. Users are also able to document daily weights, hours of sleep, and number of steps taken, and can sync their records to fitness apps such as Fitbit or Runkeeper. With the optional capability to record notes, users can include information such as moods or stress.
People can use MealLogger socially by joining groups of members with similar interests, such as weight loss, or by creating their own community to use with friends or family. They can also search for a dietitian in their area using the app and give them direct access to their food journal to help reach nutrition goals. If they are already seeing a dietitian, they can either connect through the app or print out logs to bring to in-person appointments by signing in through the website. A dietitian can help pinpoint behaviors that are delaying progress using the client’s actual eating habits and trends.
There are some drawbacks to the app. The app is able to create graphs that trend calorie intake, number of hours slept, etc., but it requires the user to constantly input reliable data. Users who would like to track calorie intake may find it difficult since the app is not linked to a food database, and food labels may not always be available. Also, photographs may not accurately reflect portion size or how much of the food was consumed.
MealLogger is simple to use long term and can motivate people who enjoy using technology to meet their health and weight loss goals. For people who wish to monitor overall trends in their eating habits versus detailed nutrition intake, MealLogger is a great tool for dietitians to recommend.