If you’re like me, you have mixed emotions about the world of apps. I frequently find myself downloading interesting apps, sometimes even paying for the enhanced version, only to be disappointed. My iPad and smartphone are littered with the remnants of downloaded, barely used apps. But among the debris, there are always one or two apps that I simply love and return to over and over.
For example, on days when I’m facing hours of sitting and grading, I use SworkitPro to add in five minutes of exercise, once an hour. I make a game of it: Sometime during every hour, I choose from one of the many categories offered (such as Core Strength, Rump Roaster or Boot Camp), get up out of my seat and get in five minutes. I find that it makes my grading much more productive, helping my mind clear the fogginess from too much sitting and thinking, and at the end of the day I’ve accumulated about 40 minutes of exercise! (Sworkit Lite is a free app; Sworkit Pro is $2.99.)
I decided to reach out to some of my fellow dietitian colleagues, curious what their “go-to” app is.
Chere Bork, a dietitian and nutrition coach in Minnesota, loves the motivation she gets from an app called Charity Miles. It helps you turn your mundane daily workout into a sponsored event – earning money for charity for every mile you run, walk, or bike. There are many charities to choose from, such as Feeding America, the Wounded Warrior Project and Habitat for Humanity. (Charity Miles is a free app, with donations supported through corporate sponsors.)
To keep her eating choices on track, dietitian Kayle Skorupski in Arizona uses the app Lose It!, which she connects to her fitness device. She uses it as a food diary, helping her stay more accountable, and she notices that when she slacks off on using this particular app, her food choices tend to suffer. She loves that it has a barcode scanner for packaged foods, as well as information for many restaurant foods and a way to input recipes she makes at home. While Skorupski uses the app to coach herself, it’s worth noting that there’s an addition to the app which permits a health professional to log in and view your progress, allowing them to coach you as you go. (Lose It! is free to download, but features are unlocked with various annual subscription packages.)
To help keep her mood and stress levels in check, dietitian Lauren Maddahi uses the Pacifica app. This unique app is designed to be used as a daily tool, where you monitor your well-being with daily check-ins. Maddahl loves that the app also offers experiments and small projects that help manage anxiety and push the user just a bit out of their comfort zone. (Pacifica app is free, with upgrade subscriptions available.)
Sometimes, dietitians are involved in creating their favorite app. The Meal Makeovers app was created by a dietitian duo who call themselves the Meal Makeover Moms. This straightforward recipe app is aimed at busy families, who want to prepare healthy meals without sifting through tons of recipes that simply don’t work for picky kids. The app includes more than 80 made-over versions of popular family meals, such as spaghetti, tacos and chocolate pudding. (Meal Makeovers app is $1.99.)
Dietitian Lisa Dorfman in Florida was involved in creating the new CThru Nutrition app, which fills a unique niche of offering personalized nutrition advice straight from registered dietitians. The app uses a QR/barcode scanning technique to help the user navigate the grocery store, restaurants and even farmer’s markets and make the best choices. (CThru Nutrition app is free).