There are thousands of apps out there for smartphone users. Games, social media, tools, light sabers – but I really like the apps that help me be a smarter shopper, be a better steward of my resources, or make healthier choices for my family. I’ve compiled a list of food and health-related apps to get the discussion rolling. To download one just type the app name into your phone’s app store search box. If you have one you particularly like please add it to the comments section below!
“Cooking” by Portable Knowledge – available for iPhone and Android FREE: no recipes here, just lots of useful information for cooking. This app gives you measurement conversions like how many teaspoons are in a Tablespoon or how many cups in a pint. It also gives amounts such as how many banana slices in one cup, and ingredient substitutions in case you find you’re out of buttermilk but still want to make those muffins. It also gives definitions for common cooking terms and ingredients.
“Meal Planning & Grocery List” by Food on the Table – available for iPhone and Android. FREE: this app helps you make a weekly menu and build your grocery list using recipes from websites or your favorites. It is linked to major grocery chains and allows you to shop based on sales in your area.
“Healthy Out” by HealthyOut – available for iPhone. FREE: this app helps you find local dining out choices according to your nutrition and dietary needs. You can search low-carb, gluten-free and vegetarian as well as Paleo-friendly restaurants. Of course there’s the usual searches for Italian or other cuisines, and also a nutrition information section for popular restaurant dishes.
“Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide” by Non-GMO Project – available for iPhone and android. FREE: this app is a searchable database of all products receiving Non-GMO verified certification. There is also a listing of common crops and common food ingredients containing GMO contamination, and some history and background information on the non-GMO movement.
“ShopNoGMO” by Jeffrey Smith – available for iPhone. FREE: this app is more than just a database; it allows you to personalize with lists of your favorite non-GMO brands. There’s an FAQ section plus tips for avoiding GMOs while dining out. Find hidden sources of GMO in the ingredient database and learn ways to talk to friends and family about the dangers of GMO.
“Find Real Food” by Real Food Mobile, LLC – available for iPhone (android coming later this year) FREE: this app is the electronic version of the annual Shopping Guide for the Weston A Price Foundation. The paper version has grown so large over the years that an electronic version was needed to keep it portable. Using a “good-better-best” scale, this shopping guide lists recommended items in 30 searchable categories including eggs, dairy, seafood, meats, vegetables, nuts, fats and oils, cultured foods and breads. Use this app to make good choices at the grocery store and to find online or mail-order sources of nutrient dense real food. There’s a place to add your own suggestions. The database will be updated frequently. It also allows you to share favorite brands on Facebook and add your own comments and ratings to products you buy and enjoy.
“Fooducate” by Fooducate, Ltd. – available for iPhone and Android. FREE for the basic version but $14.99/year for the “pro” and “gluten & allergies” versions: this app allows you to scan the barcode on a product and receive an analysis of the nutrition information and ingredients. It also give you a rating from A+ to D-. The FREE basic version alerts you to things like high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fats, artificial sweeteners and additives & preservatives. The premium versions also include GMO information. (I’m disappointed with Fooducate because the GMO info used to be part of the basic, now they are charging extra for it rather than helping the non-GMO movement by keeping that info more easily available to everyone.) Other premium versions can also alert you to specific allergens such as gluten, soy or lactose.
“Seafood Watch” by Monterey Bay Aquarium – available for iPhone and Android. FREE: this app allows you to make educated seafood choices at the grocery store and dining out. Sort by “best choice”, “good alternative” and “avoid” categories, you can use the GPS function to find regional guides for your location. Use this app to purchase sustainably caught seafood of all kinds. Add your own discoveries to the database when you find shops or restaurants selling sustainable seafood.
“Skin Deep” by Environmental Working Group – available for iPhone and Android. FREE: this app isn’t about food, but it is about keeping you healthy. Use Skin Deep at the store to scan barcodes on your personal care products and receive green/yellow/red hazard ratings as well as ingredient lists. Using this app can help you avoid toxic and carcinogenic chemicals and make safer choices for yourself and your family. Everything from shampoo and toothpaste to make-up and deodorant can be found in this often-updated app.
Use the comment section below to add your favorite food or health-related app. I’d love to hear from you and how you use your smartphone to make shopping easier. I’m not receiving anything from any of these app producers – I’m just interested in learning more!