Saturday, 12 April 2014

10 of the best free health and nutrition apps: Part One

Technology just keeps amazing me. Maybe because when I was young computers just started being an every household appliance, and we moved from the old Nokia bricks to teeny tiny mobiles to large flat 'smart phones' and suddenly you're weird if you don't use email, have facebook and twitter and spend endless hours on your phone or tablet or laptop that you'll never get back again. Getting the sense that underneath all my blogging wizardry I'm actually a technophobe? Well you'd be correct. I'm what my advertising and marketing student boyfriend calls a 'lagger'. I was the last of my friends to get msn, myspace and facebook and I only THIS CHRISTMAS got a smartphone! (That's right, before then was a simpler time that consisted of only using my phone to send texts or make calls).
But the point I'm (slowly) getting to is that technology can be used for good instead of evil, especially when it comes to health. One of the most exciting parts of getting a smart phone, for me, was scrolling through the app store searching for awesome health and nutrition apps (free of course, because I remain a huge tight arse). So I thought you'd appreciate a list of my top 10 favourite apps! In fact I started writing this blog and realised it would be way to long if I did all 10 at once, so I've decided to break it into two blogs. Here are the first 5, in no particular order (although number 1 is my clear favourite)...
1. Easy Diet Diary- Xyris Software
From the makers of the software Dietititans use, Easy Diet Diary lets you keep an electronic diary of the foods you eat and the exercise you do. You can enter in your own profile, including your weight and energy goals, add your own foods and recipes or scan the extensive database of generic and branded foods and activities. Keep track of the energy you consume (as well as major nutrients, by food, meal and day) and the energy you burn to meet your daily target. You can even send the diary to your Dietitian who can then open it in their FoodWorks program!
2.      Food Switch- Bupa & the George Institute
A brilliant app that lets you scan barcodes while shopping to see what's in your food. It uses a traffic light system for different nutrients (green for good, orange for ok and red for not so good) and lets you select a switch- to generally healthier products, to products will less salt, or to products without gluten. An easy way to decipher nutrition panels and choose the better choice. You can save your favourites and make personalised shopping lists too.
3. 8700- NSW Government

This government campaign is a great one in my opinion, aiming to make Australians more aware of what kilojoules are (the unit of measure used for the energy people get from eating and drinking, also known as calories, in case you were wondering). You can calculate your 'ideal figure'- the number of kilojoules you need to consume to maintain a healthy weight- and then search the amount of kilojoules in fast foods (both generic and brands) as well as how many kilojoules you can burn doing everyday activities, sports and exercise. Each food also shows up how much activity you'd have to do to burn it off!
4. Calorie King
Calorie King has a website, a pocket book and now an app. You can quickly search the nutritional information of certain foods, by category, brand or fast food chain. And for those of you who just got your heads around kilojoules from the last app, Calorie King displays both calories and kilojoules.
5. My Energy Balancer- Medibank
It can be difficult to balance the energy you consume and the energy you burn, but this balancing act is (in the most part) what determines whether we gain weight, lose weight or maintain our weight. This app lets you search for a food item and choose your quantity, then choose an activity and it will show you how long you need to do it (say, walking) for in order to burn the food off. Or vice versa.

(Keep an eye out for the next 5 in my next post coming soon!)

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