The sea of apps in the Health & Fitness category on the App Store can be overwhelming. When searching for a great iPhone diet app or weight loss app, there are a few important things to consider. This article will discuss the six fundamental features of a great health app:
How to spot the best diet app for iPhone
Many iPhone diet apps boast the expansive food databases they offer. These databases have large QUANTITY; containing often 10,000+ foods including bacon wrapped dates, glazed donuts, and the notorious KFC Double Down. Instead, what is important is the QUALITY of the database. Don’t be fooled by these expansive databases. There are only so many foods that are truly healthy for lifelong health: good fats, whole-grain carbs, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
While there are some people that like routine, there are others that like variety. For those people, it’s important that the foods generated from the meal planner app can be mixed and matched. A good diet app should have the ability to easily customize your meal plan to seek your desired level of variety. Even though there are not 10,000s of “healthy foods,” you’d be surprised how many different combinations you can make out of just a few ingredients.
A weight loss app would not be complete without the ability to track your weight loss. Moreover, the app should automatically calculate your new calorie requirements based on your (hopefully) lower weight. BMI (Body Mass Index) is a good proxy for your weight levels, and is a feature built into some of the iPhone diet apps. However, all body types vary so it’s important to use BMI along with a sanity check of your healthy weight.
A good health app lets you plan your meals ahead. The nature of the word “planner” in a meal planner app should enable it to generate meals for at least a week ahead. Some features that should belong in any meal planning app are: ability to customize weekly meal plan, ability to e-mail plan, and the ability to print off the formatted plan.
A diet app is only good if it uses foods you actually have. The grocery store is your friend. Eating out less and going to restaurants less will not only reduce your waist line, but will also save you a lot of $$$$$! The grocery list should be built into the meal planner app so that the foods it gives you are ones that you actually have available to you. Some features that should belong in such a health app are: ability to customize shopping list with your preferred foods, ability to e-mail list, and the ability to print off the formatted list.
This is the main divide between weight loss apps in the Health & Fitness category in the App Store. There are diet apps that are simply calorie trackers. Then there are diet apps that are meal planner apps. Decide what is best for your needs. Traditional calorie trackers have two primary downfalls: it’s hard to plan ahead meals and you might not be getting the proper nutritional balance. On the other hand, a great meal planner app takes into consideration your caloric requirements, and generates a nutritionally sound meal plan based on foods you like AND foods you have.
Hopefully these fundamentals will allow you to better navigate the seas of the Health & Fitness category on Apple’s App Store. Cnet.com, a leading technology review site, recently came out with an article titled “Four killer iPhone apps that help you lose weight.” It named intelli-Diet as a “rising star among iPhone diet apps.”
Moreover, it nicely summarized the difference between a traditional diet app that is a calorie tracker, and a more robust meal planner app for weight loss:
“Apps like Calorie Counter Pro and Lose It merely keep track of what you eat, but intelli-Diet tells you what to eat, and when. In other words, it actually lays out a diet plan for you, one that’s based on the foods you like and/or have. It even generates a shopping list for the meal plans.”