Mobile Apps for Healthy Eating

Posted at May 5, 2012 | By : | Categories : Uncategorized | Comments Off on Mobile Apps for Healthy Eating

Mobile Apps for Healthy Eating

Mobile Apps for Healthy EatingI once thought it would be impossible for me to eat healthy and lose weight without participating in some kind of dieting fad and gimmick. All I wanted was to eat healthy, exercise and live a healthy life style. It seemed to be a simple proposition, right? Well, it wasn’t that simple. Keeping track of what I eat, how many calories I burned during workouts and all the other components of living a healthy life style is overwhelming. I turned to my iPhone for help. Technology can take a confusing world of product packaging, foods with 30 different types of ingredients, endless number of nutrition labels and turn it into a simple to read form that summarizes all of this information. The Smartphone application I am currently using is myfitnesspal but there are many other Smartphone applications that complement many different healthy lifestyles.

The Smartphone application myfitnesspal; website: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/mobile, is a wonderful piece of software that can help you achieve your fitness goals by helping you eat right. To begin with, the application has nutritional information for restaurants and many of the foods you eat. To access this nutritional information you have two options. You can type the name of the product or restaurant to find the food item. If you have a packaged product that you bought from the store, you can just scan the bar code to load the nutritional data. This helps you see exactly what you are eating. You will quickly learn that some restaurants are better choices than others. The application keeps a running total of calories and other nutritional content such as sodium. Furthermore, it will add calories burned from exercise to your daily allotted calorie count. It provides you a recommendation of daily calorie intake based on your gender, age and height. Lastly, at the end of the day when you are done with eating and your workouts, it will let you know what your weight should be in 5 weeks if you continue to eat and workout like you did that day. This is a great function because it adds perspective to what you eat every day.

Some other smart phone applications are; Calorie Tracker (By LIVESTRONG.com); this application provided users with all the benefits of the extensive food database, even organic foods, ethnic foods, and meals from chain restaurants like Boston Pizza and TGI Fridays. (http://fitfoodista.com/2012/04/5-apps-that-turn-your-smartphone-into-a-personal-traine/)

You can also try Diet Assistant; the Diet Assistant app makes losing weight a breeze! It helps you plan all of your weekly meals and track your calories consumed and calories burned with a handy weight calculator and progress chart. This application is very similar to myfitnesspal. (http://fitfoodista.com/2012/04/5-apps-that-turn-your-smartphone-into-a-personal-traine/)

Tap & Track; is a comprehensive application that calculates your calories and recommends how much you should be eating each day. Just like with myfitnesspal, you can enter what you’re eating and how much you’re exercising, and Tap & Track creates graphs that make it easy to see your progress. (http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/best-apps-2011-new-apps-healthy-living)

Lastly, there is Google Goggles; take a picture of a food label on your Smartphone and this app tells you everything you want (or maybe don’t want) to know about that product: Nutrition information, the company’s website, where it’s sold, and more. (http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/best-apps-2011-new-apps-healthy-living)

Regardless of what type of Smartphone you are using in your daily life there is most likely an application out there to help you manage your eating habits. The keys to their success are being honest when documenting what you are eating and how much you are exercising. In order to win at the game of being healthy, you must have goals, and document your progress in achieving those goals. Chelsey Bobcek, MS, RD, CD, CSSD stated;

Here’s the one thing that I have learned to help manage my weight—eat it, write it!

Not only has my own anecdotal experience taught me the lessons of food tracking, but more research studies than ever have now proven that when you embark on the great journey of weight loss, meal tracking will increase your likelihood of success.

But now that we are on the horizon of hi-tech nutrition informatics, is it enough to just write it? What about the amazing array of all of those gizmos and smartphone apps out there? Do we truly need to “write” anything or is the answer to “tap” to our hearts content!

More meal tracking apps are available every day on smart phones to electronically enter your food on your own personalized program. If you have an iPhone, Droid, Windows 7, or BlackBerry, have no fear, a meal tracking app is available for you.  Between Lose It!, DailyBurn, MyNetDiary, Tap & Track, and Weight Watchers® Point Track, you have no shortage of choices. You can stop after having lunch with your coworkers, pick up your smartphone, and enter the brutal truth that was your lunch.

With all this overload of hi-tech meal tracking options, ask yourself these questions:

1.       Is it worth it? 

2.       Which app is best for me? 

3.       Can I make sense from all that data that was my lunch to meet my health goals?

Embrace technology to help you navigate the world of endless restaurants and food choices. You don’t have to be limited to just soup and salad. With knowledge you can chose from an assortment of meals and side items. The key is knowing what you are eating then tracking calories and nutritional content throughout the day, week and month. With this knowledge you can manage your meals and exercise regiment and make adjustment throughout the day. Chelsey Bobcek, MS, RD, CD, CSSD provided some helpful advice on how to find Smartphone applications that match your Smartphone and lifestyle;

  1. Read the reviews. If you like what other customers are saying, than usually the majority rules and you probably will like it too.
  2. Go ahead and look on a search engine for the top-rated meal tracking apps. Chances are you will find one you love.
  3. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can get inspired by the name. If you like the name of the app and it motivates you to track, go for it!
  4. Check out the health and fitness categories on the app stores. You’ll find apps galore there!

Lose It!, DailyBurn, and Calorie Tracker, Oh My! (http://www.eatright.org/Media/Blog.aspx?id=4294971102&blogid=6442451184&terms=smartphone+apps)

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