What’s in an app?? Meal tracking in a snap!

The mind-boggling array of food and fitness websites and apps are an enormous challenge for consumers who are in a dilemma as to which one would be the right fit for them.  As smart phone apps continue to evolve, each one vying with a rival, one website and app that has claimed it’s stake as a front-runner is Myfitnesspal.com.  It’s intuitive, user-friendly design and innovative features has gained it a loyal following of over 65 million users at press time.

Purpose: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ is a website that can help you track your daily food intake and activity, as well as help you monitor your progress towards your fitness goals.

Myfitnesspal screenshot

Platforms:  The myfitness pal app runs on the Apple, Android and Windows platforms and is free by downloading via iTunes at  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/calorie-counter-diet-tracker/id341232718?mt=8.  

This mobile feature makes tracking food and activity a snap.

So what’s so special about this app anyway??

Winning features:

Growing by the day: The website/app features an incredible 4 million foods in it’s database and growing stronger every day.  In the unlikely event that you cannot find the food you are looking for, individual users can actually add their own.

Customizable goals: After creating your user profile, the app will suggest a calorie goal for you based upon your profile. However, custom goals may also be set by individual users.

Checks and balances:  In the diary screen, the app gives the user a birds’ eye view summary of where they are with respect to their calorie intake at any given time of the day.  By tallying calories used up, or bonus added to allowance (from exercise), the user gets a quick snap shot of how many calories are left in his calorie bank that he can spend from. 

Scanning bar code: This really cool feature enables you to scan bar codes of any food. The scanner reads the code, matches it to the appropriate food in the database and in the blink of an eyelid, allows you to add the food to your diary.

Entries:   By tapping the navigation bar at the bottom of the home screen, users can access food, water, exercise, weight logs and even post a quick status update to their news feed.  Daily and weekly graphs and pie charts depict at a glance one’s progress.

Tutorials: Useful tutorials ranging from basics to scanning bar codes make meal planning a cinch.  More sophisticated features include the ability to save/copy meals too.

fatmyfitnesspal

Total fat consumed daily

 

Nutrient analysis:   The app provides a comprehensive, running tally of both macro- and micro-nutrients, along with subcategories of the former.  Thus a breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins and fats along with amounts of saturated, unsaturated and trans fats, sugar and fiber can be obtained.

 

Recipe analysis:  One of my favorite features of the app is you can add recipes by either importing from the web, or add your own ingredients manually for your grandma’s heirloom recipe, or one you may have ingeniously created yourself. 

Pros : Include all the slick features noted above, in addition to exceptional ease of use. Did I also mention seamless updates from the website to app and vice versa?

Cons: The app tends to count carbohydrates from vegetables which are typically considered “free”, thus falsely inflating the total carbohydrate intake for the day. 

This nifty, superbly user-friendly app gets my vote and recommendation as one of the most superior, web-based nutrition tracking tool we have so far.

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About Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE

Hi there! Welcome to my blog! If you are confused with all the conflicting messages you get bombarded with every day on carbs, fats, proteins, gluten and anything you can think of related to nutrition, look no further! The purpose of my blog is to cut through all this clutter, utilizing scientific, evidence based guidelines to help you, the consumer, navigate the complex, dietary landscape, and thus empower you to make informed decisions.
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