I remember when I used to sit in judgment of stay-at-home moms with smartphones. Why would we possibly need one? Of course now I’m a convert and I can’t remember how I functioned without one. While I rely on it heavily for work so I can get things done away from my home office, I also use my phone to help manage almost every other aspect of my life from tracking my family’s chaotic schedule to saving money. Likewise, I’ve found my smartphone my best accountability partner when it comes to getting fit and eating right. I’ve tried dozens of apps to find the ones to help keep me on track and I’ve narrowed them down to the four that I consider to be the best apps for weight loss and healthy living in general. And because I’ve got five kids to feed, all of my favorite apps are free.
If you want to eat healthier, but rely on the convenience of packaged food, Fooducate will help you make healthier choices. Just scan a bar code and Fooducate will calculate a calorie quality score. If you want to learn how to make your own determinations, just click the “Why?” link next to the score to find out how Fooducate has arrived at a food’s quality value. Fooducate is ideal for individuals who are just beginning to eat healthy or confused about all of the information regarding what’s healthy and what’s not. I find it helpful when I’m traveling and have a hard time locating fresh, whole food.
If you use Fooducate as a food journal, it will also score your diet each day and help you track calories. You can track your exercise too. Like most weight loss apps, Fooducate has a community feature so you can connect with others to motivate and inspire one another.
If you have a specific weight loss goal, Lose It! is a wonderful tool. Fare more than a food and exercise log, Lose It! allows you to create a customized weight loss plan and has plenty of charts and graphs to you help you track your progress. You can connect with friends to help cheer each other on (or compete with one another, if that type of motivation works better for you).
When I am trying to lose weight, Lose It! is my go-to app. I’m a visual person, so I love the graphs. Plus, I like the end-of-day report that lets me know when I can expect to reach my goal if I keep up the same habits.
My Fitness Pal
The app that I find the most convenient and comprehensive is My Fitness Pal. It has the largest food database, so when you record your food intake it will automatically bring up all the information. It can also scan barcodes so you don’t have to input calories, fat and other pertinent information when you are recording your food, which makes this app super quick and easy to use. The app remembers your favorite foods and you can add multiple items at once. Plus if you cook a lot it has a recipe importer.
In my post, #1 Secret Weapon Busy Moms Use to Lose Weight, I shared how effective keeping a food journal is for weight loss. My Fitness Pal is what I use to track my food and exercise. Since it’s on my phone and has so many foods and workouts pre-loaded, it’s easy to input my food and activity immediately no matter where I am.
Exercise is a critical component of any weight loss plan and of healthy living. While the three apps I’ve already mentioned will help you track your exercise, none of them is designed to specifically help you come up with a fitness plan. That’s where Workout Trainer comes in. It’s a database of FREE workouts to help inspire you and get you in shape. Whether you’re a cardio junkie, yoga master, or strength trainer, Workout Trainer has workouts just for you.
There are literally hundreds of apps that do similar things as the four I have listed here. These are the four that are my personal favorites and that I come back to again and again when I need to straighten up my lifestyle. If you have a favorite that didn’t make my list, please share it in the comments along with why you love it.
Also, please note that although all of the apps listed above are free, most of them have a premium version you can pay for. I have not upgraded any of mine to the premium version so my recommendations are based on the features available in the free versions.