3 free calorie counting & food diary apps. Which is best?
‘They’ say it’s as simple as calories in, calories out, but let’s be real…counting calories is kind of a pain. What if there was something out there that could simplify things by monitoring your food intake while holding you accountable? Oh, it exists!
We have gathered and reviewed a range of free apps that will do that and more, just for you. Check out the reviews, try out the apps, let us know how it goes.
YouFood (previously twogrand) is a unique app, serving up something different than most meal trackers. With YouFood, instead of counting calories, you upload pictures of your meals and create a visual journal of your eating habits. Read on to see how we feel about YouFood.
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Photo food diary: Take photos of what you're currently eating and share them with the community. Provide a description and recipe. Select a custom background color, text, and post-type.
Regular diary diary: Skip the photo and post a text diary with all the same custom options.
Fun, visual stimulation! If you're burnt out on calorie counting, the food photo tracking might be just what you need.
Diet restrictions: Save your diet restrictions, such as sugar free, vegan, paleo, and more.
Focused goals: Choose 3 specific goals to focus on, from options like lose weight, practice mindful eating, cook more homemade meals, and more.
Find like-minded people: YouFood will recommend following users with related goals.
Community A network that allows you to connect with others who understand what you're going through. Follow people with similar goals, or people trying something different. Make connections!
Two different feeds: A view called "awesomeness" to see new and popular posts from other users and a view called "following" to see posts from just those you have followed.
Inspiration! When you see something you like posted by a fellow YouFooder, it's easy to find inspiration for your own meals.
Recipes: Trending Recipes and All-Time Most Popular Recipes sections help you find amazing new meal and snack ideas.
Meal Boards: Create boards and give them unique titles such as "healthy breakfasts", "vegan snacks" or "awesome paleo dinners". When you do find a meal or recipe you're eager to try, save it to one of your boards for future use. The app touts over 1 million recipes!
Privacy: Having a bad day, or just not up for sharing? Make individual journal entries private.
No Calorie Counting: If you like the idea of this app, this one is actually a pro. However, if you need to know your daily calorie intake, this is most definitely not the app for you. YouFood is all about the visuals.
We did not take the lack of calorie counting into consideration when reviewing this app, because that's not what it's for! YouFood is all about having fun with weight loss, visualizing what you eat and connecting with others to benefit from community and social accountability. And we gotta say, we love it! Download it now for Android or iOS. Visit youfood.com.
With tens of millions of users taking advantage of this app, chances are you have heard of this one. My Fitness Pal (MFP) is a mega popular calorie tracking app. Countless people have credited MFP for helping them reach their weight loss goals.
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Food diary: Track your meals and calculate your calories.
Custom meal categories: Control your meal categories. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks? Morning, afternoon, and evening? Maybe you want drinks, vitamins or supplements in their very own category. It's up to you.
HUGE database: The largest calorie and nutrition database where you can find nearly any food and brand to include in your daily log.
Weight loss goals: You can specify how much weight you want to lose each week, up to a 2 pound max.
Calorie goals provided After specifying your weight, activity level, and weight loss goals, MFP will tell you how many calories to eat each day.
Manually customize nutrition goals: If you use a BMR or TDEE calculator, or simply want control, you can manually enter your calorie and macro-nutrient (protein, fat, carbs) goals, as well as your micro-nutrient goals such as fiber, cholesterol, sodium, sugar and more.
Fitness Goals: Enter custom goals for calories burned, workouts accomplished, and minutes worked out each week.
Weight tracker: Enter your weight changes and keep track of your progress over time. MFP even graphs it out for you!
Barcode scanner: Makes tracking super easy. Scan everything! The hardest part is done for you.
Your Meals: Do you have a favorite meal that you eat often? Create it, save it, and easily add it into future logs.
Your Recipes: Search and select the individual ingredients and portions in your meal to create a recipe, or download a recipe you used online. Save the recipe for future use.
Exercise tracking: Enter your daily cardio workouts and calorie burn, as well as your daily strength training workouts.
Syncing with activity trackers and smart scales If you use one of the popular activity or step trackers, or a scale that keeps a record of your weigh-ins, you can sync these devices with MFP.
Macro and micro-nutrient statistics: A rundown of your macro-nutrients, as well as some of the most important micro-nutrients. Perfect way to see what you are getting too much or too little of.
Community:MyFitnessPal has an active community where you can find friends, support groups, and valuable information.
Inaccurate macro-nutrients: The macro-nutrient goals MFP spits out aren't always accurate. If you plan on paying attention to macros, your best bet is to research the macro requirements for the diet approach you have chosen.
Inaccurate entries from other users: Some of the foods in the database are entered by other users and are not accurate. Take a good look at the details before you select a food.
Inaccurate "calories burned": MyFitnessPal is known to overestimate the calories burned in an exercise. The best way to avoid this issue? Get a heart rate monitor and know exactly what you're burning.
Lame desktop interface: Many find that the desktop format is not as user friendly as the app. We agree. Stick to the app.
Community feature unavailable on some smartphones: Some smartphones don't have the community easily accessible in the menu. Not sure why this is.
No fun factor: This app is the most functional calorie counter we have used. However, there's nothing all that fun or unique about it.
MyFitnessPal is one of the easiest calorie counting apps available, and it's free! MFP has been proving to work for weight loss time and time again. Here at D&L we have all used MyFitnessPal for extended periods of time and have had success in becoming more aware of what's going into our bodies and in losing weight. Download it now for Android, iPhone, or Windows mobile. If you need the desktop client, check it out at myfitnesspal.com. Just remember, we warned you that it's nowhere near as effective as the app. Download MyFitnessPal, create your profile, and get to counting!
Increasing in popularity is another calorie counter by FatSecret. Although FatSecret is less known than MyFitnessPal, there are nearly 200,000 users (and rising!) on Android alone. Thousands are giving FatSecret credit for giving them the motivation and tools they need to reach weight loss and health goals.
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Food diary: Plan your meals and track your calories.
Exercise diary: Record a variety of exercises and the calories you burn.
Barcode scanner: The feature everyone loves. Simplify food tracking by scanning labels, and use manual barcode input to add to the database.
"Diets" section: Choose from a variety of diet plans such as Atkins, Paleo, and Weight Watchers. Find recipes, tips, and diet journals from other members on each diet.
Control macros and micros: Enter custom goals for macro-nutrients (protein, fat, carbs) and micro-nurtrients such as sugar and sodium.
Fun Challenges: Challenges like "Lose 10 Pounds in 30 Days!", including mini-challenges like "Do your daily 12 minute morning HIIT". Compete with others and get motivated!
Growing food database: Growing as the community grows. Quick pick to find calorie and nutrition info for all of your favorites.
Diet calendar: Lays out calories consumed, calories burned and net calories each day.
Weight tracker: Enter your weight changes and track your progress. Yes, you get it graphed out for you!
Smaller database than MFP: Userbase and database are not as fleshed out as the more popular MyFitnessPal app.
No custom meal categories:Pretty self-explanatory. Some people eat more small meals, some fewer large meals. Who doesn't want control over that feature?
Inaccurate recommended calories: Again, the recommended daily calories can be pretty inaccurate. Check out our recommended BMR and TDEE calculators. Figure out your calorie needs yourself.
FatSecretUser has all the features of a typical calorie counter. Although the userbase and database are not as big as MyFitnessPal, they're growing. If you can work around the inaccurate calorie recommendations, this may be the app for you. The "Diets" section where you can find like-minded users is great for connecting with others. The "Challenges" feature is unique and awesome! Users say they are fighting obesity, balancing their blood sugars, managing blood pressure and feeling great. Get it for Android or iOS now or check out their desktop client at fatsecret.com.
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