Since diet is the most important part of any weight loss plan or maintenance, tracking how many calories you take in during the day can go a long way in sticking to your plan and staying in shape.
Keeping a food journal is a great option, but now there are also numerous app options that can be quick and easy ways to log calories and to share this information with others (your trainer, for instance).
Our experts share their personal choices to give you an idea of what you’ll get if you choose to start tracking calories with some of these nutrition apps.
I’ve tried a few different nutrition apps and consider MyFitnessPal to be the most user-friendly. It’s easy to navigate, you can alter the nutrients that you want track, and you can create and save meals that you frequently eat. You can also plug in your exercise information and set exercise goals.
My favorite app for tracking nutrition is the Lose It!, which is available on the iPhone, android, and as a web app. It’s a very seamless design – among the best designed apps I’ve seen. It keeps everything simple by requiring as few clicks as possible to input your food intake. Some of the great features that make tracking your nutrition a lot easier include the ability to create favorite meals (meals you have a lot), custom foods (so you can add in your own foods), and visualize all the data easily. The database of foods that Lose It! draws from is also fairly accurate from what I’ve seen. For the most accurate data, consider adding your own foods (custom foods) and be cognizant of portion sizes.
I think tracking nutrition intake, even for just a few days is the single most important thing I’ve done to improve my eating habits by far! If you went to see a nutritionist, the very first thing you would do is keep a food journal, so might as well do it yourself anyway.
– Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT
I have tried several but my current favorite and the one I recommend most to my clients is Cronometer. It is a completely free tracker and stores all of your daily information neatly in a calendar. What’s cool is it also tracks your vitamins, macros, and nutrients in individual bar graphs so you know where your totals are for the day. You can adjust the daily totals based on your goals such as weight loss, muscle gain, maintenance, as well as several popular diets. You can even set your own if you are following a different program such as BuiltLean!
– Stephen Bergeron, CSCS, CPT
There are pros and cons to each of the online calorie tracking applications. My Fitness Pal is valuable if someone is helping you with your plan, as its platform allows easy sharing of data between “friends.” However, the mobile app makes it difficult to see how much protein, fat, and carbs are contained in your daily food log. DailyBurn does a much better job of laying out the breakdown of macronutrients, but in order to gain access to the more desirable features (ability to add unlimited “favorite foods,” track fiber and plan meals for the future, etc), you need to pay for an upgrade. Additionally, the mobile app seems to crash a lot, at least in my experience. One issue that anyone who uses these applications needs to be aware of is the potential inaccuracies in the calorie and macronutrient counts, as most foods are user-entered and are often well under the actual calorie, fat, and carb values.
– Charlie Seltzer, MD
We hope this helps you find a nutrition app that lets you easily monitor your calories.