Here is a guest article by Jared Hill outlining the benefits of some of the healthy diet apps now jostling for our attention.
Smart phones may be controversial for their potential effects on our privacy but many personal apps can harness mobile technology and bring fantastic knowledge to the savvy user. Here are some healthy diet apps that Jared has researched that we can use for helping ourselves to good health and fitness.
Summer’s begun, and it’s the perfect time of year to get active and clean up your diet. If you’re trying to adopt a healthier diet or incorporate more fitness into your daily routine, the longer, warmer days of summer are an ideal time to start both exercising and eating greener and leaner. As an added benefit, the healthier your lifestyle, the greener it often is.
Healthy diets generally involve fresh foods versus nutritionally devoid, processed food, which can be found at local markets – or even grown at home. Fresh food also reduces the amount of waste in your home, while increasing your support to local markets and farmers. All in all, the time is now to support your green lifestyle with a healthy one, and vice versa!
My Diet Coach is specifically aimed at female users. My Diet Coach aims to help you “win the mental game of dieting!”, which, as we all know, is more than half the battle. By displaying consistent reminders, the app hopes to break your bad eating habits and guide you into a healthy eating routine. Some reminders include “drink water!,” “weigh in”, and encouragement to cook nutritious (organic!) meals and record them in a food diary.
Marisa Moore, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics attests to the fact that My Diet Coach acts as “a pocket full of reminders” and for those who have already identified their problem areas since, “it may be useful as a supplement to nutrition counselling with a registered dietician, or as a motivational tool.”
The most useful aspect of the app is perhaps its reminders. The personalized notifications can assist your green goals by reminding users to, “Stop by farmer’s market today!” or, “Forget the paper cups, bring water bottle to work!” and “Set alarm earlier - Bike to office tomorrow!” My Diet Coach users can specify unique, environmentally and physically healthy tasks and reminders.
Based on the assumption that you’re not drinking enough water (and most of us aren’t!) this app lets you log how much water you’ve consumed and calculates how much you still need to drink to fulfil your daily recommended intake. The app provides easy to read charts and pesky reminders to keep you from getting dehydrated. Unique in its simplicity, from the start the designers of this app were less concerned with form and more focused on function, saying, “Our goal was to make an app that works perfectly, so while other apps may look better, ours works more effectively at helping people drink more water.”
Beyond hydration, an increase in water will (hopefully) reduce purchase and consumption of drinks such like soda, coffee, and other bottled beverages. Drinking more water can help eliminate cravings for sugary or dehydrating liquids, and in turn lower the number of paper cups and plastic bottles tossed into the trash each day.
This is a fun and easy comparison system that stacks different foods, or even the same food from different restaurants and stores, and discusses which is the better choice. Eat This, Not That! gets you to look beyond the numbers and the calories (which often cause dieters to lean towards processed and packaged foods) and learn what really comprises the food you eat.
With this app you can discover restaurant survival skills and some of the best and worst foods out there. Based on a popular book by the same name, by playing this game you might pick up a few quick facts that could help you reach your health goals faster. The importance of this app is learning what food truly consists of, whether it’s a chemical nightmare or a truly nutritious plate!
Eat This, Not That also has an accompanying website which, along with its other materials, also takes into account the environmental benefit of food choices. For example, the site warns against bottled water, explaining most bottled water is an unnecessary purchase, as it is simply tap water with minerals.
There is also an Eat This, Not That vegetarian addition to assist both new and veteran herbivores as they work to reduce their contribution to the wasteful meat production industry.
Tech giants Apple, Google and Samsung hope to allow medicine to go even more mobile within the next few years, by designing apps and devices that can help you share your fitness and medical data directly with your doctor. As Health IT Jobs points out on their website, “The growing use of technology in healthcare, fitness and nutrition has given both individuals and their physicians better data and insight which could lead to improved care.”
Today’s health and fitness apps allow users to collect, log and track a variety of personalized health data on their smartphones, data that could be well used by medical professionals. With more data being mobily shared, physicians can cut down on the number of unnecessary visits, meaning less unnecessary transportation, and a massive reduction in paper records and files. With an increase of digital usage, doctors have even begun making virtual visits and storing records online – chipping away at the mountains of environmental costs hospitals and medical facilities create meeting with, diagnosing, and documenting each patient.
At times personal health goals, no matter their motivation, can seem overwhelming and even lonely. The group ethic found in many of these apps, as well as the rewarding nature of seeing your progress, and knowing your efforts are also contributing to a cleaner environment, could be the missing link to your successful health plan!
I have not personally used any of these apps. If you have personal experience of any of them or have any recommendations for diet apps - or more general fitness apps please feel free to add your experiences to the website by using the Add Your Tips button.
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