Happy 2012 everyone!
Who’s made a resolution??
A lot of new year plans include trying to eat better, eat right or just to pay more attention to how you eat. Whenever someone tells me that they’re trying to do any of those things, I always suggest that they keep a food journal. Most of the time, I think that people know what the basic nutrition principles are that they should be following. At the very least, I think people recognize major dietary missteps – eating an entire cake or finishing off a six-pack by one’s lonesome, for example. Keeping track of what you eat can sort out other areas for improvement that you may not realize exist.
There are a LOT of nutrition apps available and many can be used across platforms. We use our smart phones to manage our lives. So, why not use them to help manage our nutrition? 😀 I hope that I can help to sort out the world of nutrition/diet apps. I’m going to let you in on a couple of things that I noted about some of the apps that I’ve come across in the iTunes App Store and tried out. We’ll start out with a few today in celebration of starting the new year and keep it going throughout the year.
SparkPeople Food and Fitness Tracker – This app requires a membership to SparkPeople.com, which, like the app, is free! The website is based on community support to reaching diet and fitness goals. It also provides expert advice on the topics in addition to tips from other SparkPeople users.
Things I like:
- Large database of foods to track
- Manually enter foods if they are missing or search from other user entered items
- Track meals, water intake and physical activity in one place and get a weekly summary of how you stack up
- Tracks calories and multiple nutrients (such as carbs, protein & fat)
- Website and app give suggestions on how much to consume and exercise, as well as sample diets and fitness plans
Other things to know…:
- The website has tracking features are more robust than the app, but the app is a quick way to jot down what you’ve eaten
- Even though the website employees health experts, the meal and fitness plans are not entirely individualized. So, they should be looked at as guidelines and not gospel
- As far as I can tell, the app (unlike the website) doesn’t allow sharing of progress outside of the SparkPeople community to other social sites, like Facebook
Lose It! weight loss app – This weight loss program is very similar to SparkPeople with slightly less focus on the community aspect in comparison though it’s still part of the program.
Things I like:
- App contains weight and other personal information but has the option of being locked using a passcode
- Allows you to scan barcodes of prepared foods/ingredients to easily search the items
- Also has a large database of foods to use in daily meal tracking
- You can share your progress through Facebook and Twitter as motivation to achieve goals
- Visual calorie budgeting that accounts for exercise done
- Multiple nutrient tracking
- Share progress and have accountability with other Lose It! friends
- Reminds you to log meals
- Very user-friendly
Other things to know…:
- Same as with SparkPeople – the program uses a calculation to determine a calorie budget based on current weight and activity level, but don’t stick to firmly to the numbers if you find that the amount of food is not typical for you
- Also, the website has more options than the app so they’re best used in combination
Both of the apps are geared towards losing weight. So, don’t get caught up in that. There’s no reason why you can’t use weight loss/dieting apps just to keep an eye on how you’re doing. If you’re not looking to lose weight and just looking for some accountability, make sure you set the goal to maintain.
Friendly disclaimer: I’m not giving any endorsement to either of these apps or any future apps I test out.
What nutrition or healthy food apps do you like?