Looking to get a blowout in the comfort of your living room? Courier your work bag home before you meet friends for dinner? Adopt a pet? Find a partner? Schedule a workout? All of these things are now at the tap of our fingers, in spades.
“There’s an app for that.” It’s one of those things that’s funny because it’s true.
There are so many apps that, in spite of being the last person I knew to get an iPhone, I often have to do a “spring cleaning” of sorts to weed out the ones I’m never opening. But the best apps are useful and can often have the coveted “you — only better” effect.
So, if an app can really help me eat better, I’m 100 percent for it. By the way: No calorie trackers or diet apps, are included on this list — just programs that allow you to be informed and assisted in your day-to-day ordering, shopping, and eating, no matter what your goals or needs are right now. Here are a few we think you should try.
Capitalizing on the social element of, well, everything, Farmstand takes accessing fresh, local food and adds a sharing component. The app gives you information on the nearest farmers' markets and then takes it one step further, giving users (shoppers, farmers, and the market itself) the option to share and tag their picks so other users know what's available and can plan where to make a beeline to, upon arrival.
Healthy Out (free)
Ever go on Seamless, or flip through a menu with an intention of picking a healthful and nutritious meal, only to get waylaid by just seeing the word “pizza?” Available in over 500 cities, Healthy Out eliminates that temptation by only showing you the smartest choices available for delivery near you. Furthermore, stick to your preferred diet vis-a-vis a search system that can organize by calorie count or allergy.
A directory of more than 8,000 items, Foodle is an easy-to-use app with an appealing interface that provides calorie information as well as statistics on the vitamins and minerals in many of your favorite foods. You can create your own list of “favorites” in the app for fast reference.
Of all the apps designed to help consumers make healthier choices, Fooducate is one of the most popular. Using your phone to scan items, Fooducate takes the guesswork out of reading tricky nutrition labels by instantly providing a letter grade to grocery items. The grade is the product of an algorithm which rates foods based on their nutrition facts and ingredient list. Fooducate recommends minimally-processed, real foods, which are naturally rich in nutrients and antioxidants. While this app can be used to track meals, you can also just use the scan feature. In-app upgrades are offered to use a version of the app with additional features.
The Whole Pantry ($2.99)
The Whole Pantry looks like you’ve entered a chic, upscale, and very healthy restaurant — one that just might be your own kitchen should you download this app. Designed to be more than just a cookbook on your phone, TWP’s recipes are designed with inner and outer health in mind — they are gluten- and sugar-free, and light on dairy. However, to stop at recipes would be to ignore what makes TWP unique — its health- and wellness-themed lifestyle guides tackle topics such as “Eating for Beauty” and “Being in the Moment With Food.”
For the trendy health food buff, Greenhopping maps green juice (and vegan, raw, and gluten-free food options around you) no matter where you are.
Harvest provides simple tips for selecting seasonal produce — what’s best and when, and how to pick something of which you might not be a seasoned buyer.
Rise (monthly fee, varies)
I really can’t speak highly enough of Rise, which puts a (human) nutritionist in your pocket. You snap a picture of what you’re eating and receive feedback by the end of each day, with tips from a nutritionist who is aware of your lifestyle, goals, habits, and more. It is not free, of course, but it’s surprisingly affordable, and certainly costs less than in-person appointments with a nutritionist. I personally started using Rise about three weeks ago and have noticed I feel more informed and accountable when it comes to my own dietary choices.
Images: Farmstand, Healthy Out, Foodle, Fooducate, The Whole Pantry, Greenhopping, Harvest, Rise