Counting calories by hand or keeping a paper-based food journal is so last century. With so many brilliant technological tools out there, tracking your food intake has never been easier.

If you already keep a phone nearby at all times, you might as well use the device as a tool to aid your weight-loss goals. With a few taps or clicks of a button, diet tracking apps will help you determine calorie counts and fat content for the foods you’ve eaten, along with a variety of other features that vary by app.

Best of all, many apps cost nothing and offer compatibility with iPhones, Androids, and other operating systems.


Once you download this free app, input the food you eat throughout the day. MyFitnessPal connects to a database containing the calorie counts for more than three million foods, including many from popular restaurant chains. The app remembers the foods you eat frequently and places them on top of the list, making it faster to log entries. The app also tracks your exercise routines, making this app a comprehensive tool for weight loss and lifestyle changes.

The app and associated website also have a community feature allowing you to connect with people on similar weight loss journeys. Available on Mac products, Android, Blackberry, and Windows.

2. Lose It!

Similar to MyFitnessPal, the free Lose It! app allows you to input foods directly into the app. It then calculates how many calories each food contains. During setup, you set goals for weight loss, nutrient intake, sleep, and exercise. Then, the app customizes a weight loss plan to help you stay on track, complete with daily calorie budgets.

In late 2013, the app released a scale–a real one you can put in your bathroom, not a virtual one–that sends the data directly to your phone via Bluetooth. The scale measures both weight and body mass index.

Lose It! also provides a community support component, allowing you to connect to friends, family members, and others trying to achieve weight loss goals. Available for Kindle, Nook, Macintosh, Android, and online.

3. Nutrition Menu

At $1.99, this app is not free, and only works with iPhones, but it’s also not dependent on wireless connectivity. That means no matter where you are, you can search for the foods on your plate in the app.

Whether you’re on vacation in a remote jungle or out to dine at a restaurant, the app’s 92,000 food entries will likely include ones you’re about to eat. Nutrition information includes calories, fat, carbohydrates, sugar, fiber, and protein, and the app adjusts the information based on serving size.

Like other apps, you can track your diet over time, but this one acts more like an electronic food journal for those who don’t want to be tethered to wireless.

What are your experiences with these or other diet tracking apps? 

Image by Yutaka Tsutano via Flickr


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