Eat Healthy in Style with Foodish

We all know we could be doing more to maintain a healthy diet, and there’s no shortage of diet advice in all forms of media. Whether you make a conscious effort to educate yourself about nutrition or not, many of you have probably absorbed a lot of information, and more or less know the basics of eating healthy. So if we know how to eat well, what’s stopping us? People often blame lack of discipline or motivation for unhealthy eating habits, but the developers of Foodish suggest that simply being more aware of your eating habits will help you improve them. Foodish is the modern version of a food journal, letting you keep track of what you eat visually with the iPhone you already take with you everywhere. Read on to find out if this simple approach to eating well can really keep you on track!

Getting Started

Starting out with Foodish is simple and non-intimidating. You’re presented with the day’s “food board” with a plus sign in the top right corner for adding food. When you add a new item, you can select from meal, drink or snack, and then most of the other fields are optional. You can give the item a name, assign a picture and then make your own judgement on the health value of the food, based on five different happy faces. You can either take a picture from within the app, or choose from your library.

Adding an item to Foodish

Adding an item to Foodish

If you’re curious about the basic nutrition info, you can look it up on Wikipedia from within Foodish. The icon is only clickable if the food item is searchable (e.g. “BLT” had an entry, but “Pita & hummus” did not. Wikipedia gives you a general calorie estimate and some basic information about the type of food, but not much more. Though Wikipedia’s database is extensive, it may not be the most appropriate one for this setting.

Selecting a health value

Selecting a health value

Reviewing Your Habits

Each item you enter into Foodish is stylishly displayed as a photo with title and health-value smiley on the day’s board so you get a quick visual overview of your day. Based on the health values you’ve assigned to what you’ve eaten, a message appears at the top either congratulating you for eating well, or warning you not to indulge too much.

A pretty good day

A pretty good day

Weekly reports

Foodish creates a graph for each week displaying your average healthiness for each day, and an average for the week. I wasn’t very consistent when using Foodish, so my graph isn’t very complete, but you get the idea.

Not much to see here

Not much to see here

Interface & Design

Foodish boasts a wonderfully simple and warm design, with a beautifully detailed wood texture, and aligns the photos for each item in a perfectly crooked way. I like how friendly and approachable this app feels, and how it strips down everything you don’t absolutely need. Using Foodish is simple and enjoyable, making it easier to keep up with the routine of documenting your eating habits. When you accumulate a fair number of food items (especially ones with pictures) you may find Foodish slows down a bit when switching between days (at least on iPhone 3G), I don’t know if the problem would get worse the more you used it, but it’s not really any slower than most apps get on my sluggish phone.

The Foodish Approach

Foodish is an excellent tool for the straight-forward purpose of documenting what you eat, but is this approach really effective? The simplicity of Foodish could be a negative for people who don’t already have a pretty strong understanding of the health value of most of the foods they eat. However, even if you make some misjudgements (restaurant food often looks healthy but is loaded with sodium and oil) this approach should still be able to keep you more or less on track. Obviously, if you’re looking to seriously lose weight you may need a more accurate method of tracking your eating, but for the average person, simply being aware of your consumption is probably enough to keep you on the healthier side.

Conclusion

Foodish works for a specific type of user: someone with good knowledge of food and nutrition, who knows what they should and shouldn’t eat, but maybe needs a little help with motivation. The power of Foodish is that it makes you accountable for what you eat, and you want to be able to look at the day’s meals and not be disappointed with yourself. This type of “fear-of-guilt” motivation works pretty well for me, but that depends on the type of person you are.

Foodish is also aimed at a certain type of iPhone owner: the type that has their phone at their side at all times. I bring my phone with me almost every time I go out, but I don’t bring it into the kitchen for breakfast, or to the coffee shop to grab a latte. Like keeping a food journal, using Foodish requires a certain amount of discipline and memory, and I never really got into the habit of taking a picture of everything I ate; It was just too time consuming.

On the other hand, I know people that use apps like MyNetDiary, which requires you to search and enter information about each item you eat, which is definitely way more time consuming than taking a picture and picking a smiley face. So, if your iPhone is your constant companion and you know your saturated fat from your dietary fibre, Foodish may be the perfect app to help you maintain a healthy diet.


Summary

Foodish helps you keep track of the food you eat with photographs and self-assigned health values.

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