Healthy Apps I’m Actually Using

Jan 16, 2012
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Like everyone at the beginning of this year I thought I’d be heading on a certain path towards health. While I’m still on a very healthy path (you try cutting out all sweeteners, gluten, dairy, canola oil, peanuts and soy and see if you can be unhealthy!) the apps I thought I was going to use aren’t the apps I’m actually using. These are the golden apps for getting healthy.

Bloom*

If you’ve been trying to add a bit of mindfulness to your day and had trouble this may well be the app you’re looking for. Bloom allows you to set all sorts of reminders to keep yourself grounded or… well, whatever you want. You can remind yourself to drink some water, do a bit of cleaning around the house, pack a lunch for work, get some fresh air (this one will be especially useful for my basement, windowless office), connect with friends… the list goes on and on. Basically use this app to start new habits to lead to a happier and more mindful life. Just do yourself a favor and add to it one at a time. It’s so tempting to start 12 habits at once but you’ll be far more successful if you start small and build on success.

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Diet & Food Tracker by SparkPeople

I was glad to see this app as I use the website regularly. The program of Sparkpeople is simple to use and motivational, though the website can be a bit overwhelming for those uncomfortable with a busy look and feel.

I came back to Sparkpeople to have a good place to record my training. Sure I can do it on paper but I’m not going to carry a piece of paper with me everywhere I go. Having this on my phone makes it all the better.

I can now record my food and exercise at the time I’m eating it or doing it, rather then trying to remember when I get home to a computer. Because I’m using power training (tracking my watts) I need to record some pretty specific data that probably won’t stick in my head and now doesn’t have to.

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For all these things the app is great though I would love to see a few improvements.

First, the nutrition tracker doesn’t have the morning snack option that the website has. This means if you eat a morning snack while sitting at your office computer and log it into the web client of Sparkpeople it won’t show up correctly in the app later in the day, say when you’re eating dinner out. It’s not a horrible hassle as the main page of the app shows your calories correctly, but you do have to remember to look there rather than at the nutrition page to know how many calories you have left for the day.

The other great thing would be a way to enter exercise notes. I have the longest “enter your own exercise” listings ever as I list out in bizarre code my interval training, rest times, watts, etc. If I had a way to write it into note in the app I could simply put “interval day” or “long day” or whatever and have this other information someplace else.

All that said the app is still really good and really useful. Plus the Spark program has worked for a large number of people so hey, an app that can help you look good in a bathing suit!

One last note, you can join a group at Sparkpeople to send in suggestions on the app. That probably bumps this up to 4.5 bars for me as they are working to make it better and that is very important. Oh yeah, AND it’s free… the whole program and the app too. What’s not to love about that?

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Dirty Dozen

I’ve seen a ton of complaints on this app and certainly there are more interesting free apps out there, but lets face it, part of the great part of the iPhone is the ability to have all those lists of information on your phone so you don’t have to remember everything you’ve ever learned.

This app could certainly be better at telling you what you need to buy or not regarding organic produce. There are certainly more than 47 fruits and veggies out there that you might like to know about and this app isn’t going to help you with that. It will tell you the dirtiest dozen produce items that you should try to either buy organic or avoid if possible.

All this said, if you care about this stuff and you don’t want to have to remember the information this free app is worth having on your phone, lacking though it may be.

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