This is the first of several installations of various nutrition/weight loss/fitness apps out there right now.
I will say this at the beginning – all of my experience with these is on my I-Phone.
Platforms: Apple (iPhone, iPad), Android, Blackberry, Windows
Also you can just go online, and create an account, and use it the old fashioned way, on a computer. Enter your email, password, and create that account.
So this is probably one of the more popular health/fitness apps – primarily because it is free.
Pros: It is free, it is has scanner component so it can scan food product bar codes, you can enter personal info to help create an individualized calorie goal, there are so many options of a great deal of foods, it is simple & user friendly, it’s easy to adjust/delete/reenter info, you can get a breakdown on your fat/carb/protein ratios and adjust them – along with sodium etc. It also allows you to add in your water intake, as well as physical activity
Cons: I have noticed for myself, that I don’t necessary agree with the macronutrient distributions – so I fiddled with mine a little, because thee are so many options it can sometimes be overwhelming – and you can have a hard time figuring out which one to choose, this app give the perception that if you “go over” by “x” amount of calories, that you can “earn them back” with exercise – which is not the case in reality, and lastly it is difficult to add strength exercises in terms of calories expended.
HalfRD Score: 4/5, I think the more this app is used the better it will get, overall I think it is a really good app, (AND IT’S FREE) so give it a whirl if you are looking to drop a few pounds, or if you’re just interested in seeing how much of what you consume in a day (that can also be pretty surprising).
Yeah the app is called “Restaurants” by Unified Lifestyle
Platforms: Apple Products & Android
So this app is essentially ALL about what the title indicates: Restaurants – essentially if there is a chain restaurant that you can think of, this app will likely carry the nutrition facts of the restaurants’ entire menu (and even some discontinued items too) > so definite pro.
Pros: The app is free, and basically every chain restaurant you can think of is listed on here, the app updates often as to add more restaurants to the list, you do not need to be connected to wi-fi/or even have service to use this app, you can hide certain restaurants – to personalize your list, you can also add in your own calorie/protein/fat/carb recs into the app (but the app does not generate them for you), there is also a search function.
Cons: there really aren’t many. This is easy to use, it’s free, the only thing is if you are already using MyFitnessPal you don’t necessarily need this, HOWEVER this is a great app that can help you make healthier decisions when dining out.
It would be really nice if this app would add a “compare” feature, to put two or three things together to compare the macros/micros head-to-head
3) Healthy Out
Platforms: iPhone and iPad & Android
Healthy Out is THE app for selective and more healthy delivery and dining out. There are a multitude of filters, broken into categories such as “nutrition”, “calories & points”, “cuisines”, “ingredients”, “type of dish”, “open now”, and you can also select pick up/dine in/delivery.
I love this because this app can genuine change and shape the way people dine out.
Pros>> This app can help those are follow specific diets, or meal plans make better choices. There is a tab devoted to calorie or weight watchers points restrictions. Additionally you can use multiple filters in conjunction with one another, then when you select a restaurant it will show you the items on that menu that meet the filters you selected.
I used the filters: open now & low carb, and one of my favorite sushi restaurants popped up. On the menu it highlighted their low carb options for me.
Cons>> One thing I would like this app to add in the future would be- you can select restaurants based on specific ingredients, I would like this area to be tweaked to common food allergies, or add an area under the nutrition tab specifically geared towards those with food allergies. I think with that modification this app would the end all-be-all of dining out apps.
However, diners beware any time you are not in control of your food prep – there will likely more salt (at the very least) then if you had prepared food at home.
Half RD Score: 5/5 > Despite that I think there are a few areas for improvement I think this app is really a helpful one for those who are trying to make better decisions when dining out.
4) Seasonal and Simple
Platforms: Android & iPhone
Seasonal and Simple is a fantastic app brought to you by the University of Missouri Extension. Two thing I hear A LOT from my patients, that prevents them from eating more fruits and vegetables are: 1) Fruits and veggies are too expensive, and 2) I don’t know how to prepare them.
Pros: This app is a great (and free) way to help people select produce, it also helps people by categorizing produce into seasons – and therefore can help people save money, as you tend to save more when you buy produce in season. Upon finding a select produce there are recipes available within the app of how to prepare these vegetables (and fruit). This app is also user friendly, it is not over-complicated, you can either search or scroll to find your produce.
Cons: Only really one con – I would just like to see more produce added – things like artichokes, are missing from the list. Also some things are “clumped” together i.e. kale, collard greens, swiss chard are just lumped together under “greens” same things with winter, and summer squashes. For people who are REALLY unfamiliar with veggies – may have difficulties in that regard. I would also like it A LOT if the nutrition info could be added into the recipes.
Half RD Score: 5/5, despite the two things I listed as cons – I think this is a really helpful and useful app to help people better select seasonal produce, and find ways to use that produce.
This is an app geared towards fitness, to allow people to pre-plan running routes
Pros: This app can by synced with GymPact (another app that will be reviewed on here shortly), it’s free, it’s a good starter app to help people who are newer to running, and don’t want too many bells and whistles. The online feature of being able to pre-plan a run route, is one of my favorite features.
Cons: I just don’t feel like this app is really accurate. This is the app I started out with, and I liked it at first until I really got more into racing, and I was noticing a lot that it was not matching up to the miles on the course – not just once – but multiple times.
HalfRD Score: 3.5/5 > It’s nothing personal MapMyRun, I just think there are better apps out there for running, that are free, that offer the same features, and are more accurate. You get the additional .5 because of the online course planning feature.
I hope this helps some people make some informed decisions about some of the more (or less) popular health/nutrition/fitness apps out there. Some apps I’ll be reviewing in the upcoming weeks will be: Fooducate, Nike +, GymPact, Chem Cuisine, and maybe 1 or 2 more.