Healthy eating apps

Also called nutrition apps

Healthy eating apps are also called nutrition apps. They may encourage healthy eating by helping you make better food choices. Healthier food choices are mostly ‘whole’ or less processed foods. Choose unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats, foods with little or no added sugar and foods that are low in salt (sodium). Read more about healthy eating. On this page you will find information on:

App reviews – nutrition apps

The following nutrition apps have been reviewed.

App name

Description

Clinical score

Easy Diet Diary NZ

  • Calorie counter
  • Diet tracker
  • Barcode scanning
  • Exercise tracker
  • Available from iTunes
  • Cost: Free

Read more about Easy Diet Diary NZ

Four out of five stars
 

FoodSwitch

Foodswitch icon

  • NZ-based food database
  • Barcode scanning
  • Can be organised around certain diets
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Cost: Free

Read more about FoodSwitch

Four out of five stars

FoodEye

Foodeye icon

  • NZ-based food database
  • Barcode scanner
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Cost: Free

Read more about FoodEye

Four out of five stars

Calorie Counter - Fat Secret

Calorie counter by fat secret

  • Calorie counter with food database
  • Weight tracking
  • Free recipes
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Cost: Free

Read more about Calorie Counter- Fat Secret

Four out of five stars
My food coach icon
 
  • An app for people with kidney disease or other conditions that require a modified diet 
  • Education and information
  • Recipes
  • American-based food database
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Cost: Free

Read more about My Food Coach
  • Calorie counting with food database
  • Weight tracking
  • Integration with fitness tools
  • Social networking
  • Personalisation

Read more about My Fitness Pal

Excluded apps
  • Gluten Free NZ: This app was last updated in 2013. Since it has not been updated recently, it is likely to be missing several foods. Read more Gluten Free NZ Dietitians NZ
  • Healthy Diet Chart: This app is poorly written, as it shows a selection of pictures under a range of meal names (breakfast, fast foods, vegetables, etc) with no guidance or analysis of portions, ingredients, preparation or suitability. Nutrition information is not consistent with New Zealand recommendations and no evidence or expertise cited. Read more Healthy Diet Chart Dietitians NZ 
  • Nutrition Facts: This app requires significant nutrition knowledge and literacy. It does not use a New Zealand food database and common New Zealand brands are not present. Read more Nutrition Facts Dietitians NZ

Tips on how to use nutrition apps safely

While nutrition apps have the potential to help you make healthier food choices, they must be used with caution. Here are some tips on how to use nutrition apps safely.

  • Avoid getting too fixated and becoming overly obsessed with specific numbers each day, especially with features like calorie counting and portion size. This can lead you to lose sight of the overall nutrition picture. Being healthy isn’t just about the way you look or how much you weigh. Read more: What is healthy eating.
  • Although nutrition apps may ask for your age, weight, height and gender, they do not have the sophisticated functionality to give you personalised diet advice best suited to your activity level and health needs. For personalised advice, it is best to seek professional advice from a dietitian or nutritionist. Read more: Dietitian and nutritionist – what is the difference?
  • While weight loss is the main motivator for some people to use nutrition apps, be aware that goals like reaching a target weight within a target date must be realistic. Having unrealistic expectations can be harmful and lead to nutritional deficiencies and eating disorders. It is best to get professional advice about what is the best approach for you.

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References

  1. Popular nutrition-related mobile apps: a feature assessment. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2016 Aug 1;4(3):e85
Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team .