A Healthy APPetite: 7 New Apps for Healthy Eating
Instant smartphone gratification leads to updating Facebook statuses, sliding through potential Tinder dates and curating Pandora playlists. Entertainment options aside, your iPhone or Android can also be a solid resource for eating better. In fact, a Gallup study says 19% of adult participants regularly use at least one mobile application that supports healthy living, while about 50% of those who use smartphones have at least one such app. The study says calorie-counting tools, health recipes and food/exercise diaries are the most commonly used apps. You can get in on it too. Learn how many calories are in a slice of multigrain bread via Fooducate, skip the cross-country Big Mac for a nearby brown rice bowl discovered on Food Tripping and find out where to gorge on sustainable sushi from the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch. Embracing a healthy — and delicious — lifestyle has never been easier, especially with the help of these seven new empowering apps.
Food Scores: Investigating food and agriculture issues is among the tasks of Washington, D.C. nonprofit the Environmental Working Group. Likewise, the organization's enlightening new app, Food Scores, helps consumers wade through the plethora of oft-confusing supermarket labels from a vast database of 80,000 products, 5,000 ingredients and 1,500 brands. Baffled shoppers can simply enter the name of a food or scan a bar code to obtain its rating of 1.0 to 10.0, from best to worst — and green to red — based on three criteria: nutritional value, the presence of ingredients like pesticides and how much processing the item has undergone. A safe bet for breakfast: organic Quaker Instant Oatmeal (regular, not Maple & Brown Sugar, of course), which comes in at an alluring 1.0.
Up by Jawbone: Wearing a pesky band on the wrist used to be the only way Jawbone could detect one’s sleep and diet patterns. But iPhone users no longer need the shackles of a bracelet, because the Up by Jawbone app links to Apple's Health kit, keeping the process completely digitized. Maintaining fitness and wellness goals becomes a breeze when you can track all your steps (not just runs on the elliptical, but brisk walks across town to boot), maintain a food diary and log sleep sessions in one handy location.
Kurbo: Childhood obesity is at an alarming high, but this epidemic won’t be reversed through diets and calorie counting. The only safe — and long-term — solution is a transformation of lifestyle habits, embracing healthier eating patterns and a regular exercise regimen. Kurbo does exactly that. Based on Stanford University’s acclaimed Pediatric Weight Control Program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, it combines sound personal coaching advice with food and activity tracking through a youth-loving medium.
JBF Vegetables: Renowned New York-based culinary organization the James Beard Foundation has debuted its first app, and it revolves around the joys of cooking with fresh vegetables. Long gone are the days of insipid broccoli side dishes. Here, luminaries from Alice Waters to Jean-Georges Vongerichten to Thomas Keller all share recipes alongside step-by-step photographs that reveal the powerful evolution of vegetables at the dinner table. Shopping tips are yet another bonus. Make, say, Alfred Portale’s beet salad with mango, feta, orange and mint, and a recommendation for OXO's silicone whisk pops up.
HowGood: Brooklyn, New York-based research organization HowGood wants there to be transparency in grocery store aisles. By examining over 100,000 products from three different and important angles — impact on health, society and the environment — they are getting there. Based on criteria like ingredients and manufacturing processes (whether workers are paid fair wages and animals are humanely raised are also taken into consideration), products are bestowed with Good, Very Good or Great ratings. Most consumers know shunning Coke is always the wise choice, but Maine Root's seasonally appropriate Pumpkin Pie Soda, by contrast, garners a Very Good that makes it worth buying as a carbonated alternative.
Rise: Sometimes, getting healthy goals off the ground requires a kick. Meeting with a nutritionist can help, but it will set you back a few hundred dollars a month. For just $15 a week, Rise gives you access to a virtual coach. This expert will encourage you to forge ahead while customizing your eating plans and taking a gander at your Instagram-ready food photos to determine if that tempting Italian feast is worth the splurge.
BluePrint: BluePrint, the pioneering company behind raw and organic detoxifying fruit and vegetable juices, has its own app now. Opt for, say, the popular Renovation cleanse and you can set up your drinking schedule, complete with reminders, here. Along the way, inspiring quotes will keep you motivated, as will recipes for healthy treats like macadamia cream.
Alia Akkam is a New York-based writer who covers the intersection of food, drink, travel and design. She launched her career by opening boxes of Jamie Oliver books as a Food Network intern.