This free app, which was put together by the soon-to-be-disbanded Public Health England, contains straightforward healthy eating guidance and helps you put it into practice with more than 150 recipes. These pull off the difficult trick of catering to the typical British palate and being healthy, especially when it comes to calories per portion. To help save time, you can send recipes to an automatically generated shopping list, categorised by which aisle you’ll find the ingredients in. Tick them off in the app or, if you prefer, email it to yourself or whoever’s doing the shopping in your household. There’s also a daily meal planner which suggests plenty of ideas for what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with the option to go vegetarian. It’s a shame you can’t plan for more than one day, but that doesn’t stop this being an essential free download.
Calorie Counter And Diet Tracker By MyFitnessPal
There are plenty of calorie-tracking apps out there, but MyFitnessPal is the most popular for a reason. Its database is colossal, containing over five million foods, meaning the frustration of being unable to log the exact item you’ve eaten is a rare event, rather than the norm. It’s also very quick to use and remembers your favourite foods, so every meal isn’t finished with five minutes of clicking.
We’ll come clean from the off: this isn’t an app (yet – you can sign up to trial a forthcoming app in its beta phase), but the web-based meal planner is clever enough that we’ll bend the rules just this once. The free version searches recipes on the web that fit the criteria you select and it can get really quite specific, including diet types along the lines of vegan and gluten-free, your budget, macro splits, preferred cuisines and even excluding ingredients you dislike. You can then review the recipes the service spits out, swap dinners out if you like, and then generate a shopping list that takes into account what you’ve already got in your cupboards. And then, if you want, it’ll put those items into an online Tesco shopping basket for you to check out at your convenience. Phew, that’s pretty comprehensive. If you cook regularly, or want to, it’s well worth a try.
Sign up to Meal IQ | Free
Even if you have absolutely zero dietary restrictions it takes some planning to make sure you’re eating all the nutrients that your body requires, so it’s vital that you pay even closer attention if you make the decision to go vegan – whether that’s just for Veganuary or for good. The Vegan Society has created the VNutrition app to help people get from plant-based food what that they would previously have consumed by eating animal products. The advice is from a registered dietitian so it’s trustworthy, and there’s a simple checklist in the app to help you track how close you are to hitting your daily nutritional targets.
Change4Life Food Scanner
This app has a very simple purpose: to bypass occasionally confusing and annoyingly inconsistent food labeling to reveal how much sugar, fat and salt packaged food contains, and hopefully persuade you to avoid, or at least limit, anything that’s too unhealthy. Scan the barcode of a food and the app will tell you how many cubes of sugar it contains, each cube being equal to 4g of the sweet stuff, and shows the salt content in sachets (each sachet is 0.5g) and saturated fat (each fat lump is 1g). You’ll also get a handy visual of the piles of sugar cubes, salt sachets and fat lumps the food contains, which can be a real eye-opener, especially with things like ready-made sauces and microwave meals.
The big cheese of recipe apps has more than 16,000 dishes to choose from and the free version offers a meal planner and automatically created shopping lists, as well as detailed step-by-step guides including video demonstrations and built-in timers so you don’t have to keep barking “set timer for three minutes” at your home’s voice assistant. In fact, if you have Amazon’s Alexa, its dulcet tones will guide you through each recipe. It’s good to have the help because the food can sometimes feel like it’s targeted at people who will post a picture of it on Instagram before eating – but since cooking for yourself is a shortcut to a healthier diet, it’s well worth expanding your culinary repertoire and there are so many dishes to choose from you’ll be able to find something which suits your skill level. A premium version unlocks more recipes and meal plans.
Fit Men Cook
One for fans of the gym with a healthy commitment to fresh food and eating enough protein, this app has more than 500 video recipes, which slot easily into meal plans with calorie and macro information. Its distinguishing feature is the focus on meal prep, with recipes lending themselves to intense bursts of cooking two days a week, then enjoying the fruits (and veg and lean protein) of your labour. While there is no free version, you’ll find the man behind Fit Men Cook, Kevin Curry, regularly serving up recipe videos on Instagram and YouTube so you can get a flavour of what’s in store.
We can all agree that it shouldn’t take the possible death of a cute virtual plant to make an adult human drink enough water every day, but let’s skip over that and focus on the cute plant. Look how cute it is! Do you want it to die? Of course you don’t! So drink your water and log it in the app. You and your new plant pal will both be better off.