Modern technology makes it easier than ever to find the information and encouragement you need to make nutritious food choices. Whatever barrier is standing between you and a healthier diet — be it a lack of knowledge or a lack of willpower — there’s a smartphone application to help you overcome it.
Ready to recommit to your healthy eating goal? Simply determine your stumbling blocks, download the corresponding apps, and start making that resolution a reality.
Your pitfall: You want to count calories, but it seems too cumbersome and annoying.
Try this app: Calorie Counter by MyFitnessPal (Free, available for iPhone, Android or Windows Phone)
MyFitnessPal’s Calorie Counter is often rated the best of its kind. The app is fast, user-friendly, and boasts an impressive food database containing over 3 million foods. It’s easy to set daily calorie goals and track major nutrients, plus you can enter custom recipes and meals as needed.
Bonus feature: You can scan the barcode of a packaged food and match it to the app’s database in mere seconds.
The HealthyOut app searches the menus at local restaurants to find selections that fit your personal healthy eating goals. Categories are based on nutrition preferences (like heart healthy or low fat), dietary restrictions (like gluten-free or vegetarian), and structured eating plans (like the South Beach or Atkins diet).
Bonus feature: You can filter results by ingredients or type of dish — for example, use the filter “Not a Salad” if you’re tired of ordering them.
Your pitfall: You find reading food labels to be the equivalent of reading a foreign language.
Try this app: Fooducate (Free for basic version, available for iPhone or Android)
The Fooducate app takes the guesswork out of reading nutrition labels once and for all. All you do is scan a food’s barcode or type in its name, and the app gives you the item’s most relevant nutritional stats and a list of its dietary pros and cons. What’s more, the food is slapped with a letter grade (A through D) so you can quickly determine if it’s worth adding to your grocery store cart.
Bonus feature: Your favorite food not scoring too high? The app will also suggest healthier alternatives.
Your pitfall: You buy healthy food but then don’t know how to cook it.
Try this app: How to Cook Everything ($4.99, Available for iPhone)
The name makes a big promise, and it delivers! Based on the bestselling book by New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman, the How To Cook Everything app features recipes, how-to illustrations, and cooking guidance for almost any food you can imagine. Not sure what to do with a parsnip? Stumped at how to make that head of kale tasty? This app answers those questions and many, many more.
Bonus feature: Built-in timers make the app extra user-friendly in the kitchen.
This isn’t the first time we’ve raved about Pinterest, and with good reason! This social media platform is an amazing tool for finding and sharing new ideas. Navigate to the “Health & Fitness” category for a wealth of inspiring recipe ideas and creative ways to eat healthier. Your taste buds will thank you!
Bonus feature: Follow your friends so you can share your latest recipe finds with each other.
Your pitfall: Your motivation to eat healthy disappears the minute someone mentions cookies.
Try this app: Everest (Free, available for iPhone)
The tagline of this app is “Everyone’s got their Everest. Climb yours.” It motivates you to reach your goal by breaking it into small steps, tracking your progress, and offering suggestions when you’re stuck. So the next time that extra piece of cake beckons to you, the encourage you need to resist it will be right in your pocket.
Bonus feature: Capture and share moments of success along the way — like a photo of a healthy meal you cooked.
Your pitfall: You’re always eating in front of the television, while surfing the web, or while otherwise distracted.
Try this app: Mindful Eating ($5.99, available for iPhone)
The Mindful Eating app can help you feel more satisfied by encouraging you to pay attention to your food while you’re eating it. The journal-like style of the app allows you to record not only your meals, but also your level of hunger and how much pleasure you got from the experience. Because what good is eating dessert if you’re too distracted to enjoy it?
Bonus feature: You can easily export your journal to share with your health care provider.
Which smartphone apps do you use to help you eat healthier?