The new year can often bring a new start, making it a perfect time to get more healthy. For some, this includes dieting. However, dieting isn’t the easiest thing in the world — as anyone who’s attempted to give up a basket of fries in favor of a spinach salad can attest to.
Fortunately, provided you’re armed with a smartphone, there’s a huge variety of apps which promise to make dieting simpler and more fun than ever before. They count calories, analyze your food intake, provide handy tips, easy step-by-step recipes and most importantly, try to keep you motivated and focused.
Regardless if you’re a vegetarian or a pescetarian, using an app to monitor your weight-loss goals, often in excruciating detail, is the first step towards changing your lifestyle. Or, if that’s a bit too much effort, just trying to work off a little of that holiday cheer. We know of a few apps to help, and we’ve gathered up our favorites below, from the paleo-centric software to the portion-concerned.
Counting Calories — Free
Essentially, the only way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you take in. Counting calories can be tedious, though, unless you’re using the aptly-titled Counting Calories. After entering information regarding your current weight, goal weight, and height, the robust app tells you how many calories you need to consume to lose weight in a healthy way. Once you get started, it offers a local database of nutritional facts, handy voice logging, and a convenient barcode scanner to log your meals.
My Fitness Pal — Free
Not only does the famous, and almost essential, My Fitness Pal let you track your dietary habits, it has a lively community behind it, and even tools for monitoring your workout routines. Once you’ve put in all your personal details regarding body type and weight goals, you can access a database of more than 4,000,000 foods and sync your content with the app’s accompanying Web interface. It’s easy to generate saved meal plans, to make daily logging more convenient. You can also create custom workout routines and calculate your nutrient intake, as well as set custom fitness goals.
Paleo Central — $1
The high-protein paleo diet isn’t merely about counting calories — hell, you can even eat bacon and not break the rules. Paleo Central and its diet is designed to make you eat like a cave person, serving as a welcome intro to the complete lifestyle change, and supplying you with everything needed to get started. The app provides a wealth of recipes and a growing database of foods in which you can search, so you always know what fits the bill. If Uma Thurman can do it, so can you.
Fooducate — Free
You can’t diet without being aware of what you’re eating and what that food is doing to your body. Most of us know fruits and vegetables are good for us, but are there better alternatives out there? Fooducate will help find them, and also allows you to analyze your personal exercise and meal plans, plus look up nutritional facts on any product using the built-in barcode scanner. Best of all, the app’s active community supplies answers to any questions you might have, whether talking types of calories or crunches.
Diet Point — Free
Diet Point takes all of the guesswork out of dieting with more than 130 recipes. It sets up meal plans and shopping lists, conveniently laying out everything you can eat during the day, including snacks. You can customize your diet, regardless if you’re a vegetarian or someone trying to lose weight, and take advantage of the built-in Body Mass Index calculator, so you can view your weight-loss estimates for a little motivation. The 500 weight-loss tips are only a plus.
HealthyOut — Free
One of the worst parts about dieting is feeling like you can’t go out to eat. Thankfully, HealthyOut lets you plug in your exact location and scour nearby restaurants for health-centric options. The app suggests specific dishes, then breaks them down by nutritional value and price point. You can even filter the results based on certain criteria, such as low-carb or high-protein, or search your area for a particular type of cuisine or non-salad entree.
Lose It! — Free
Another app similar to Calorie Counter, Lose It! examines your exact calorie intake. You can log your dietary habits, write journal entries, and access a rich database of nutritional facts and recipes, while accessing a bevy of insightful charts pertaining to your calorie and nutrient intake. Furthermore, it automatically tracks your steps if you’re using an iPhone 5S or 6, with the option to post your progress and compete with others over Facebook.
Calorie Counter — Free
Calorie Counter is more than just an app dedicated to dietary graphs. It houses a detailed food diary and calendar, along with a weight tracker and quick means for looking up crucial information regarding your favorite foods and restaurants. What sets the app apart is its ability to break down your fat, carb, and sodium intake, giving you the chance to count something other than calories. This, along with some cool recipes and helpful cross-platform syncing, makes it one to try.
Weightbot — $2
The dated Weightbot isn’t really about calories, and assumes you’re using another app to deal with them. Instead it concentrates on keeping you motivated by tracking weight loss, and if you’re doing it wrong, gain as well. You can input your exact weight daily and the app will keep track of fluctuations, as well as your BMI. It presents the information in a simple graph, allowing you to see your progress with no more than a cursory glance. You can also set your desired weight goal and a numeric passcode, to keep everything secret.
Many of these apps work well together, so don’t just pick one, try several and use your smartphone to help your new year diet become a full-on lifestyle change. That way, next year you won’t be looking for the same advice all over again.