There’s no denying it – as a society we probably spend a little too much time on our phones. That’s not always a bad thing, however, as they help us to stay connected with friends and family and keep us in the loop with the happenings of the world. True to their name, our smartphones can now do so much more than just calling, texting and scroll ing through Instagram and Facebook – there are plenty of healthy eating and lifestyle apps that can track your steps, sleep, diet and even scan barcodes for the healthiest food products in the supermarket! Hooray for health and fitness made easy!. That said, there are apps from one end of cyberspace to the other and the choice of apps can be more confusing than the menu choice for your next lunch (which you will input later into your app) – so we don’t blame you if you’re unsure which is best for you. To help you on your way, we’ve complied a list of our top 5 healthy eating apps that are sure to inspire you to lead a healthier life.
1. 8700 (available for iPhone and Android)
This is a great app by the NSW Government that helps you make healthier choices when you’re on the go. You enter your goal weight along with your gender, age, height, weight and activity level, and it generates your ideal energy intake to achieve that goal. The app has a vast database full of the energy content of fast foods and ready-to-eat options which you can refer to and make informed decisions about your food choices when you’re out and about. Give this app a go next time you’re wandering through the food court– you may think twice about that burger or thickshake .
2. Swap It Don’t Stop It (available for iPhones only)
This is a fantastic app that helps you to find that all-important balance – encouraging you to be a “swapper” and swap less healthy or inactive behaviours to healthier one while still enjoying the things you love. The app has a shopping list planner, suggests healthier food options, and physical activity ideas near your area. You can also create your own swaps, set friendly alerts to remind you to do your ‘swaps’ in the day and track your progress by earning milestone badges.
3. FoodSwitch (available for iPhone and Android)
Your personal barcode scanner at your fingertips, FoodSwitch is provided by BUPA and the George Institute for Global Health and provides you with nutritional information for a wide range of food products to help you shop smarter and choose healthier alternatives . You can set specific filters to tailor the results to suit your nutrition target such as lowering your salt, fat, sugar or total energy intake. . To use the app, you simply scan an item using your phone’s camera and a list of similar options will pop up that are either lower in salt, sugar, fat or energy content, or a combination. SaltSwitch and GlutenSwitch are also available to make life easier for those living with hypertension and coeliac disease.
4. MyFitnessPal (available for iPhones and Android)
This food and activity tracker is super simple and user-friendly! It allows you to set a goal to lose, gain or maintain weight and takes into account your activity level, gender, age, height and weight. It will then set your daily energy intake to reach your goal and you can track your progress by entering your food intake from a huge database of foods and commercial products. You can even add your own recipes and meals to make it quick and easy next time you have a similar meal. Connect up with your activity tracker and it will also track your exercise and how much energy you’ve burned.
5. That Sugar App (available for iPhone and Android)
This app will be an eye-opener for just how much sugar is in our foods – did you know that Aussies are eating more than double the recommended 6 teaspoons of sugar a day??Scan product barcodes with your phone camera (or manually look up an item) and the app will display how many teaspoons of sugar is in the product. You can add the products to your daily total and it will calculate how many teaspoons of sugar you eat in the day and highlights which foods are contributing the most sugar to your diet. You can even set up your own challenges to help you limit your sugar intake over a certain period. The app also steers clear of counting natural sugars found in fruits and dairy (which are nutritious foods when consumed in moderation) and focuses on ‘added sugars’, like those in soft drinks, chocolates or even museli bars – how handy!
The best part is that these apps are all FREE and only a click away from the iTunes or GooglePlay. We’ve only scraped the surface of the app world and would love to hear about your favorite healthy eating apps.
This blog post was written by Melissa Meier and Michelle Hsu, who are interns at The Biting Truth and currently studying their Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics at The University of Sydney.