Tracking what you are doing is the only way to know if what you are doing is actually getting you closer to your goals or not. Logging gives you an accurate picture of what you are consuming. While you can track your food manually using a journal, I have found that using an app is often faster and more convenient.
Apps do the manual work for you
The great thing about using an app is that much of the work is done for you. The apps generally come with a very large database of foods. Look up a food, and all the calories, macros and nutrients are listed for you. No need to do a separate search to find that information. Many apps come with pre-built in graphs as well so that you can get a visual representation of your habits without needing to built a chart on your own. Apps can also give you a big picture view. Many apps that let you track nutrition also let you track your exercise, weight, body fat and even measurements.
Apps making logging food fast and convenient
Aside from coming with a huge food database to make logging quick and easy, apps also come with other features to make getting an accurate picture of your intake as painless as possible. Many allow you to store your own recipes under your profile, so you can easily log foods you make at home. Just input the recipe once, and you can then log that food with one click in the future. Most also include a bar code scanner so that you simply scan the bar code of whatever you are eating and it will find the food and log it.
Apps can come pre-configured
Many apps have websites associated with them. They can have meal plans on there for you to follow. Just make the foods that they list out for you to stick to the plan. Some can even take into account things like low-carb or vegetarian diets. Plug in your goals, and the app will tell you how much of what you should be eating. I will caution you to calculate your own TDEE using various calculators. For some reason, across the board, apps seem to be really bad at coming up with the right amount for people to eat.
Apps can offer support
Quite a few apps are part of a larger website. These sites often have large communities of people where you can find others with similar goals. There are message boards and groups based on geography, shared interests, and other demographics. This gives you a place you can turn to for support and accountability. (And I’m here for you too!)
Apps that are out there
Here is just a small sampling of apps that you can use to log your nutrition to help keep you on the right track!
- SparkPeople – this is the one that I use and am most familiar with
- My Fitness Pal – has a very large user base
- Lose It! – very simple to use
- Mike’s Macros – specifically designed for those who do a macro-based diet.
What about you? Do you use one of the nutrition trackers listed above? Share your favorite tracker in the comments below!