Expert Health Articles

Apps for Health Goals

Rachel Snyder, RDN, LD

Registered Dietician

As the New Year rings in, our minds run through the accomplished and failed goals of 2017. With the beginning of the New Year, we feel renewed and refreshed by the thought of something new, meaning time for new goals. We start off strong, but within a couple of months, only eight percent of those making resolutions are able to stick with their goals. Without specific plans and tools to help accomplish our goals, we typically set ourselves up for failure. How are the plans you made for 2018 going? Have you fallen off track? If so, reflect on what didn’t work and re-evaluate your priorities. Decide on one goal and put your focus on preparing, planning and collecting the tools to succeed. It is not too late to rethink your goals!

If striving to eat better and exercise more sounds similar to your own health goal, try incorporating technology to help keep you accountable. There are several means of technology to keep you on task including various apps. See below for recommended apps to help stay accountable, track goals and/or provide more exercise and nutrition tips.

Nutrition and Exercise Tracking

  1. MyFitnessPal: Enter certain criteria such as height, weight and gender, along with weight goals and MyFitnessPal will populate a calorie range to follow. Through MyFitnessPal you have the ability to track nutrition and physical activity giving you a one-stop place to view progress towards goals. This app syncs with most phones and wearable technology.
  2. Nike+ apps: Nike + apps includes Nike +Training and Run Club which provides different exercise programs to follow, along with the ability to track what is completed. Different achievements are awarded along the way to show what progress is being made.
  3. Fooducate: Take the question out of whether a grocery store item is healthy or not. Simply use the Fooducate barcode scanner and it will give the product a letter grade. If the product receives a lower letter grade, a healthier alternative will be provided.
  4. ShopWell: A convenient app to use when shopping if you are avoiding certain ingredients or have specific dietary restrictions. After entering in goals and dietary restrictions, a barcode scanner will alert what products to avoid based on the criteria entered. This takes the guessing game out of what ingredient labels mean.

Stress Management

  1. Headspace: Unfamiliar with the practice of mediation for stress management? Headspace provides short meditation sessions, guiding you through each step. With the busiest of schedules, anyone can complete a meditation session with the short and sweet sessions.

Healthy Recipes

  1. Epicurious: Features more than 28,000 recipes taken from magazines, cookbooks and restaurants. Users can sort through recipes based on different categories, including ingredients and meal types. Nutritional information is provided with recipes.
  2. SparkRecipes: This is a user-driven app, so most recipes are submitted by users of SparkPeople, a tracking app similar to MyFitnessPal. Recipes can be sorted by special dietary needs along with ratings, prep time, etc. Nutrition information is also provided with each recipe.
  3. Yummly: Similar to Epicurious this app is essentially a database of recipes from all types of sources. Yummly will ask a series of questions to help customize your experience based on cooking experience, personal tastes, nutritional needs, special occasions and more. The app provides the ability to save and share recipes as well.
  4. Tasty: Commonly seen on Facebook in the form of short cooking clips. Tasty provides step-by-step instructions through overhead video shots. Through this app, you can sort through what types of recipes you’d like to see based on a variety of filters. All your favorite Tasty videos can be found in one spot!
  5. Pinterest: A platform to discover and save recipes that are collected from various websites. Participants can either use a guided search or enter in their own key terms to search for recipes based on the criteria they are looking for. All posts or “pins” can be saved to be viewed later.