These five holiday diet apps can be helpful sidekicks for people who find fitness and nutrition difficult during the holiday season, when there’s less time for exercise and more food around every corner.
MyFitnessPal helps users track exercise, diet, calories and more. It has a barcode scanner and claims to have the largest food and calorie database in the world, including more than 3 million foods and restaurant meals. It tracks your weight, but also projects your future weight based on what you consume in a day. (This can be a great motivational nudge in the right direction, especially when you’re surrounded by rich holiday foods.)
MyFitnessPal is free, which, along with the extensive food database, makes this holiday diet app a great choice for many people, whether eating out or cooking at home.
2. Lose It!
Lose It! has many of the same features as MyFitnessPal. It’s popular for its ease of use—it’s simple to use and customize. (It was also featured in an Apple ad during the Super Bowl. Public awareness never hurts.)
Lose It! has a barcode scanner, but the food database is underwhelming. However, the simplicity and option to connect with other users in a supportive community make Lose It! worthwhile.
There’s a free version of Lose It!, but it includes minimum functionality. To get the most out of this holiday diet app, you’ll need to purchase the Premium version, which runs about $3.30 a month, and includes detailed information about sleep cycles, hydration, body fat and more.
Scan bar codes in the grocery store and learn about a food’s calories per serving, sugar content and other nutritional stats. Foods are graded by letter (and very few earn an A+—not even tap water).
A lot of this information is available on a product’s nutrition label, but Fooducate also provides unbiased feedback from other shoppers (it doesn’t accept information from manufacturers), FoodPoints that can assist dieters in making good choices, and information on potential dietary turn-offs, like gluten, GMOs or MSG.
Fooducate is free.
4. Healthy in a Hurry
Healthy in a Hurry, by Eating Well magazine, contains a database of 200 quick, simple, healthy recipes. At its foundation, it’s basically a healthy recipe book on your iOS or Android device. It doesn’t have to download information from the internet, which means it functions quickly. You can search by meal (breakfast, dinner, etc.), ingredient and cooking time.
An excellent feature of this holiday diet app is that once you decide on a recipe, it can compile a grocery list and send it to a friend so they can do the shopping for you.
5. Healthy Out
Healthy Out finds nutritious restaurant meals in your area. It can tell you which meals are healthiest at a certain restaurant, or can search your area for the right dish. It has a wide range of nutrition and diet filters, including the types of cuisine you like.
The app is free, but for $26 a month, Healthy Out can function as a meal planner, having your meals ordered and delivered to your house. Many people could find that a lifesaver during the busy holidays.
Like Healthy in a Hurry and Fooducate, Healthy Out doesn’t function as a nutrition tracker, so the app might be best paired with MyFitnessPal or Lose It!