Keeping yourself and your family healthy is no small task. Fortunately, learning about proper nutrition and how to live an active lifestyle doesn’t require a medical degree, just an iPhone!
Today we’ll look at a few apps that can help you get the whole family into practicing healthier habits. Best of all, the apps below are all completely free so you don’t have to choose between saving money and learning to take better care of yourself.
Health Tips 1,000 is a simple app that loads a random health tip when you tap the screen. The tips cover a wide range of topics including dieting, exercise, weight loss, and healthy eating.
You can tap or swipe to cycle between tips with a nice page turning animation. There’s not much functionality here, but it’s educational and free!
SparkPeople and SparkRecipes are websites for people looking to eat healthy and/or lose weight. With the SparkRecipes iPhone app, you can browse the nearly 200,000 healthy recipes from the Spark network and easily find tons of great meals for you and your family.
As you can see above, you can either search for recipes directly or look for recipes within specific categories, courses, dietary needs, etc. This gives some really nice organization to the recipes, the different sections here are really helpful if you have specific ingredients to work with or have particular preferences such as vegetarian or gluten free.
Once you find a recipe, you can view the ingredients, detailed cooking directions and complete nutritional information (carbs, calories, etc.) You can also share the recipe via email or view it online.
Finally, the app allows you to save specific recipes to a list of favorites and view various instructional videos on general cooking techniques from a professional chef.
There’s a ton of value here for a free app so if you’re at all interested in cooking healthy be sure to download this one and give it a shot.
The app above is perfect for keeping your family healthy at home, but what about on the road? It’s far too easy to live on burgers and fries when you’re on vacation or simply too busy to cook.
Fortunately, there’s GoodFoodNearYou, a free app that helps you locate sensible menu items from the restaurants around you.
When you first open the app, you can either choose to have your location detected automatically or to enter a location manually. After you’ve done this, you’re presented with a simple list of menu items from various restaurants in your immediate area. You can sort these results by either by distance or those containing the lowest fat content.
From this list you can either choose to see more detailed information about specific menu items, view
other menu items from the same restaurant, or see a map to the location.
The nice thing about this app is that it doesn’t really focus on obscure health food restaurants but instead shows you relatively healthy food that you and your family can enjoy at the places you already visit like Subway and even McDonald’s.
As always with these types of apps, it’s best to use if you live in or are visiting a large city with lots of available restaurants.
If you or anyone in your family is overweight, it can cause several negative health effects. To help you win this fight, Lose It! aids you in losing weight by setting goals and tracking caloric intake.
Even if you’re not looking to lose weight, Lose It! is still the best free app around for helping you keep track of your daily food and exercise to stay fit and healthy.
The “My Day” screen helps you quickly see where your daily budget for calories lies and how close you are to approaching it. Adding meals makes your calorie meter rise and exercise brings it back down. Tapping on the “Log” button shows you a detailed list of all your food and exercise for the day.
My favorite part of this app is how easy it is to enter meals and snacks. The app contains a huge library (accessible offline) of menu items from popular restaurants, name brand store items, and generic food items (example: apple).
Adding to your list of today’s foods is as easy as locating the item and entering your portion. The app will then automatically track your calories and other nutrients. Even if you’re not tracking your calories, it’s nice to have an app to quickly see what’s in that Happy Meal or hot dog that you’re feeding your kids.
The app tracks exercise in the exact same way. Simply pick your activity from the list and enter how long you were at it and it will automatically calculate the approximate number of calories burned.
Lose It! is by far my favorite health and fitness app and is almost too good to be true for a free app with no advertising. There are tons more great features including entering custom recipes and quick access to the foods you eat frequently.
Furthermore, you can keep track of the progress of any friends or family you have that also use the app. This is great if you like to have people help you along by holding you accountable to the goals you make.
With the apps above, you have no excuse to not take better care of yourself and your family by cooking better, eating out smarter, keeping active, and tracking your progress.
Let us know what apps you use to stay healthy and whether or not you’ve tried any of the options above!