The 10 Best Health Apps as Picked by a Dietitian
By Alyssa Kessel, RDN, LD, Expert Dietitian
If you’re not already using a health tracking app, you may want to consider downloading one. From reading food labels to counting calories, finding healthy recipes to tracking workouts, health apps help you be more mindful of your food and exercise habits.
In addition to being easy to use, many health apps have benefits that are supported by scientific evidence. Several studies have shown that self-monitoring may promote weight loss by increasing awareness of your habits and progress.
To help you navigate the app store, I’ve compiled a list of my favorites, including food trackers, meal prepping, mindful eating, recipes, workouts, and overall health.
Lose It! is an excellent nutrition and exercise logging tool that can help you achieve those extra few pounds you’ve been working hard to shed. Using your age, height, weight, and desired goals, this app formulates a daily calorie goal and personalized weight loss plan.
You can use this app to keep a daily food record of your meal intake; the database has over 7 million foods, restaurants, and brands. Plus, you can even “snap it”, an option that allows you to track your intake and portion size simply by taking pictures of your meals.
As an added bonus, you can track your exercise in-app or by syncing data from other exercise apps. Best of all, it’s extremely easy to sign up and free!
Fooducate is a great tool for navigating options at grocery stores. Simply scan the barcode to pull up all the nutritional information and a guide to reading the nutrition label. Each food item in their database comes with a letter grade (A, B, C, D), as well as healthy alternative suggestions. This is a great resource to have at your fingertips when grocery shopping. Plus, you can use the app to log your intake, calories, and exercise.
Spark People is the mobile extension of SparkPeople.com, the largest online diet and healthy living community. I recommend this to anyone who is looking to make social connections with people who have similar health goals. You can log daily mails, weight, and exercise right in the app. Plus, when you sign up, you gain access to their exercise videos on how to perform specific exercise routines.
Feeling overwhelmed about meal planning every week? Mealime is a great tool to remove that stress! This app helps singles, couples, and families plan healthy meals. Their plans and recipes are highly customizable, so you can personalize a plan that works with your unique tastes and lifestyle. Plus, you will find detailed nutritional information with calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients listed.
Mindful Eating Tracker
If you struggled with your relationship with food, Mindful Eating Tracker can help you establish more mindful food behaviors. By taking the focus off calorie-counting and putting it on journaling, it helps you be in touch with your hunger and fullness cues. Awareness of why you’re eating will help you learn to differentiate between physical, mental, or emotional hunger. It’s a great tool for people starting or stuck in their journey!
Recipes you will find on Allrecipes come from a community of more than 50 million users. One of the best features is that you’re able to see what ingredients are on sale in the grocery stores close to you, and what recipes are the cheapest to make on certain days. Plus, walk into a select store, and you’ll get notifications for recommended recipes! Already have a list? Allrecipes lets you create shopping lists, save recipes, and filter by diet and cooking time.
Yummly is a recipe and shopping list app that collects recipes from cooking sites and food blogs, and matches these to your cooking preference. With a large search engine and over 1 million recipes, you are able to tailor the searches to fit your specific needs. Over time, this app will learn what you like (and don’t) so it can recommend the perfect recipes for you to try! It also provides digital recipe boxes, videos, and a smart shopping list.
Another app from SparkPeople.com, HealthyRecipes is focused on healthy eating with nearly 200,000 recipes, each with detailed nutritional information. You can also search for specific low-fat or low-carb recipes.
With over 350,000 recipes, BigOven will help inspire and organize you in the kitchen! Highlights of this app include the ability to add pictures of your own recipes, as well as the option to make grocery lists based on the recipes you’d like to make. Need another reason to love it? Type in the ingredients you have in your fridge, and BigOven will show you what you can make with them!
Short for “Simply work it”, Sworkit is all about making exercise simple. Users have the option to pick more than 20 different pre-made workouts. Each workout guides you with audio cues and short videos of trainers demonstrating the routine. Sworkit is great for tailoring specific workouts based on your schedule and goals.
Looking to build muscle and tone your body? This is the app for you! To start, you’ll undergo a fitness test so that Freeletics Bodyweight can customize a weekly workout plan for your body type and physical abilities. You don’t even need a gym; this app has routines that can be done anywhere, even in small spaces!
Apativ has over 2,500 on-demand workouts for all levels, including a 7-minute beginner routine. Each workout is led by an expert trainer who talks you through a treadmill or outdoor run, elliptical session, cycling strength training, stretching, or yoga. Plus, each session is set to a playlist made of popular songs to help you reach your goals.
It’s true, your sleep schedule could be to blame for your weight loss plateau. When it comes to weight management, there’s more in play than just diet and exercise. It’s also about hormones, stress, and sleep. Sleep Cycle tracks movement and sleep patterns to give you tips on how you can improve your quality of sleep and overall health.
Exercising mindfulness is just as important to your health as exercising the body. HeadSpace is a meditation app that teaches you the basics of meditation and how to live mindfully. Meditation has been shown to promote subtle improvements in focus, attention, and the ability to ignore distractions.
These are just some of the best health apps you can use to support your individualized weight loss goals. They each have options for community support, point systems, and tools to document your progress. Give them a try and let me know if any of them help you increase motivation, focus, and overall health.
My goal is to help you reach your goals, so if you’d like more support, please fill out our online consultation form to get started with our weight loss program.
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