App Your Wellness

With over 500,000 apps on the iPhone and 300,000 on the iPad, weeding through the nutrition and fitness apps made my eyeballs start crossing. There is no possible way I could view them all, so I had a criteria for choosing what to try. To compile my list, I looked at reviews showing the highest ratings from the most number of reviewers. I also reviewed a number of apps major media sources have recently recommended.  I then tried them myself and came up with a short list of the best of the best. CSL invites you to share your recommendations with the world wide web on the CSL blog.

MyFitnessPal

Cost: Free

Category/Features: Food/exercise log. Log your food and exercise and set calorie goals. You can view various nutrients. The app allows you to log on the go.

Comments: Easy to use. The program divides the meals into breakfast, lunch and dinner and shows you how you can earn extra calories from exercise. However, the nutrients available for viewing are limited, and you are not able to customize the RDA or to add custom foods.

FitDay

Cost: Free

Category/Features: Food journal and exercise log. Allows you to customize foods and nutrition goals. A wide variety of graphics are available to view for nutrient content of diet. The app allows you to log on the go.

Comments: I prefer this program because I can customize the RDA for my clients and it allows you to see a variety of graphics to showing how your diet matches up against the recommendations. I don’t, however, like the fact that it does not separate out the simple sugars from total carbohydrates nor does it show trans fats.

Whole Foods

Cost: Free

Category/Features: Claims to have healthy and delicious recipes featuring the finest natural and organic foods. You can search recipes by ingredients and dietary preferences such as gluten-free, low-fat, and vegetarian. Nutritional information and cooking instructions are included. You can enter up to 3 items you have on hand to find recipes using those ingredients.

Comments: There are a number of good recipes which would pass my heart healthy criteria but many would fail the test. For example, do not pick the Herbed Prime Rib Roast: 900 calories per serving, with 660 calories from fat and 860 mg of sodium! Do pick the Sesame-Peanut Noodles: 420 calories per serving, 100 calories from fat and 260 mg of sodium.

Locavore

Cost: Free

Category/Features: Locates local farmers markets.

Comments: Easy way to find local, in-season food. Pinpoint nearby farmers markets and farms that sell the products you love. Great way to get the best tasting, most nutritious produce.

Smash Your Food

Cost: Free for iPad, not available for iPhone

Category/Features: Learning tool for kids but adults will be challenged too.

Comments: I love this educational nutrition tool/game. Learn about “commonly abused” foods that contribute to excessive calorie consumption. Amazing graphics that uses HD video and real sound effects. Fun to watch the oil ooze out of the French-Fries as they are smashed.

Grocery Gadget

Cost: Free, 4+ rating from over 4000 users

Category/Features: This app organizes your grocery list. It stores shopping lists that will sync with other phones, scan items as you buy them to be saved on future lists. It also uses pictures so you always get the correct product.

Comments: Clever but too time consuming for me. How about just using your phone to both list and take pictures of food items. However, I list it because it is worth trying.

Pedometer

Cost: Free, 4+ rating from over 1922 users. Upgrade: $2.99

Category/Features: Made for the real fitness enthusiast to keep track of their workout. Includes: count your steps, displays your pace, approximate distance, speed and calories burned. You can set a desired pace/speed and get notified when you need to speed up/slow down.

Comments: I ended up upgrading for $2.99 for GPS+. I did, however, experience bad GPS signals on a regular basis. So unless I’m doing something wrong, save your $2.99. Use the GPS recommended below (MapMyFitness).

Shop Well

Cost: Free

Category/Features: Shop Well is a grocery and nutrition advisor site that allows consumers to rate products based on their customized needs.

Comments: Great idea because you get to decide what your nutrition concerns may be and then scan the product bar code. The product is rated and recommendations are made that may be a better match for you. The down side is that it can be time consuming and your product information may not be in the system. Hundreds of new grocery items are introduced on a weekly basis and some leave the market. It may be hard for the app team to stay up to speed.

MapMyFitness

Cost: Free

Category/Features: The GPS technology allows you to use your iPhone to track your outdoor fitness activities. It will mark out your path along an interactive map and record duration, distance, pace, speed and elevation. The data can be saved and it automatically uploads to www.MapMyFitness.com. You can view your route, workout data, workout history, and share with others via email and Twitter.

Comments: This is great for finding out the true distance of your exercise route. No more guessing your distance (and in my case, underestimating). Caution: you may not want everyone using this app knowing your workout course. You can opt out sharing this information.

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