Gone are the days when the only way to learn about healthful, wholesome foods was to open up a book or spend hours on the Internet. Now, more and more health-conscious eaters are turning to their phones and other portable electronic devices to make eating and weight management accessible, attainable and -- most importantly of all -- convenient when on the move.
Whether you're dealing with diabetes, struggling with weight loss or simply trying to put a healthy meal on the table for your family, these five RD-approved apps are perfect for making small and realistic changes that yield big, long-lasting results.
Best for Diabetics: dLife
Living with diabetes can feel overwhelming at times. Enter dLife, an empowering app that makes life with this condition manageable through the use of a daily log. A great on-the-go tool, users record their blood sugar, carb intake and insulin units. Better yet, dLife simplifies the process by providing clickable notes like "skipped a meal," "drank alcohol," "missed exercise," "changed infusion site," and "feel hypo," among others.
dLife is an incredibly useful resource for anyone living with diabetes and includes 9,000 recipes and the nutritional values of 25,000 kinds of food. That said, one doesn't have to have diabetes to benefit from this app; dLife may be valuable for anyone in need of free nutrition education and a healthy catalogue of ready-made meals.
Best for Grocery Shopping: Fooducate
Wading through ingredient lists can be a daunting task when all you really want is to head to the checkout line and escape the supermarket swarms. Fooducate eliminates stress from grocery shopping by inviting users to quickly scan the barcode of whatever product they want to purchase and categorizing that item with a grade of A through D. Both user-friendly and practical, Fooducate helps healthy consumers to determine quickly and effortlessly which items are truly worth purchasing, and which items are better off left behind.
Best for a Healthy Mindset: Mindful Eating
Ditch the diet mentality and improve your relationship with food. Mindful Eating, a food-logging app, makes health and weight management feasible and fun by allowing users to chronicle their experiences come mealtime. Mindful eating features an optional reminder for the particularly forgetful, and supports the use of a hunger and fullness scale (numbered from 1 to 10). Use this scale to identify your internal hunger and fullness cues to best determine when your body truly needs food and when you are actually satiated.
Best for Weight Management: My Food Dairy
Between calories and carb counting, maintaining a food diary can be stressful in itself. My Food Diary takes the hassle out of managing food intake by equipping its users with a database of 75,000 foods, 15 nutrient types and the ability to calculate the number of calories burned during 700 kinds of physical activity. Best of all, My Food Diary resolves that, "Diets are temporary. Change your lifestyle," meaning users needn't feel guilty about slow weight loss or a couple of extra calories here and there. Instead, through fun, color-coded reports and an interactive weight-loss forum, My Food Diary emphasizes small, realistic changes for a lifetime of healthy living.
Best for Big-City Meditation: Buddhify
Living in the heart of a major city can make anyone feel anxious and lost, two feelings that often transfer to a person's relationship with food. Download Buddhify to find inner peace and calm your mind before sitting down for a meal. Through mindful meditation before and after meals, Buddhify helps to prevent emotional eating by encouraging four facets of emotional health: stability, connection, clarity and embodiment. Over time, you'll find that, despite the loud and chaotic nature of the outside world, there are many ways to find calm and lasting happiness from within.
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