Apps to Help Track Your Food Goals

By Tracey Dowdy

We all know diets don’t work. A recent article in the New York Times that followed up on TV’s Biggest Loser contestants showed when it comes to keeping the weight off, it’s an uphill battle against your metabolism. Contestants’ bodies resisted keeping the weight off and fought to hang on to every calorie. Incorporating your food choices into an overall healthy lifestyle with regular exercise is the only way to succeed.

So when I say “food goals”, I’m not suggesting you go on the Cabbage Soup diet or some other radical plan that you’ll never be able to stick to long-term. I’m talking about finding ways to integrate nutritious and satisfying foods into your diet and being able to maintain that lifestyle over time.

If you’re looking to make a serious lifestyle change, it’s best to start with a conversation with your doctor and get his advice. You should also be aware that depending on your current health, age, weight, fitness level and fitness goals, your dietary needs will be different from the guy next to you on the treadmill.

So, whether you’re training for a 5k or a marathon, trying to maintain your weight or simply trying to undo years of treating your body like you would a rental car, these apps can help you reach your food goals.

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPalMy Fitness Pal is a calorie counter and food tracker that pairs with over 50 devices and apps including Apple Watch, Withings, Fitbit, Jawbone UP, DigiFit, and Runtastic. With a database of over 6 million foods, users can set goals, track progress, scan barcodes, share meals, create recipes, and track exercise. Keep your data private or share with other MFP users on Facebook and Twitter. The app includes a Restaurant Logging feature that allows users to search for nutrition information for chain restaurants and foods.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry
Cost: Free


LoseIt

LoseItLoseIt is also a calorie counter and comes loaded with a substantial number of foods in its database. Manually enter nutrition information or scan the barcode for automatic uploading. Users can include protein, fats, carbs, sugar and sodium levels – features very useful for individuals trying to track sugar or salt intake as well as calories. LoseIt also allows you to tally the amount of calories burned, which you can then “eat back” or choose to modify your overall calorie allowance based on your activity level.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: Free


Calorie Counter PRO by MyNetDiary

CalorieCounterCalorie Counter PRO is popular with users for its streamlined, easy-to-use interface and bright, upbeat design. With a database of nearly a million foods and 500 exercises designed to help you lose weight, you can track your food and exercise, plan nutritious meals, and stay motivated. The app provides a Virtual Coach that provides customized advice, reminders and motivation to help you stick to your goals. The app also allows you to track your water intake – something not all the apps on this list offer.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: Free, $3.99


Diet Point – Weight Loss

Diet PointDiet Point – Weight Loss isn’t so much a calorie or nutrition counter as much as a supplementary tool to the other apps on this list. Offering over 150 diet plans including Low Carb/Fat, Paleo, Mediterranean, Raw Food, High Fiber, Vegetarian/Vegan diets, the app isn’t only for those looking to manage fat and calories but is a great resource for individuals who have been instructed to eliminate specific foods or ingredients based on their doctor’s recommendation. Each menu item comes with a shopping list and allows you to choose a pre-set or customized menu plan. Get reminders when it’s time to eat, monitor your weight loss and get motivation from a virtual coach to help you stay on track.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

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