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    The best diet apps: food, exercise and mental health apps to help you reach your goals

    , published .

    What you’ll learn in this blog

    1. How to choose the right diet app
    2. The best food tracking apps
    3. The best exercise apps
    4. The best apps for mental health
    5. Which diet app should you use?

    So you’re all set to make that weight loss journey but need that extra boost to guide you through it? 

    These days there is an app for everything - from counting calories to shopping lists and improving sleep quality. Maintaining your health has many moving parts, and keeping tabs has never been easier with technology. 

    But no one wants app overload…

    With so many options, which weight loss app is right for you?

    This blog explores our favorite fitness apps to help you figure out which ones you need. 

    How to choose the right diet apps…

    Before we kick things off, it’s a good idea to take a moment to reflect on what you need. 

    To say that the fitness app marketing is oversaturated would be an understatement - and we are in no way suggesting that you download every single one of these. 

    Yes, 49% of people report opening over 11 apps per day, but let’s not complicate things more than necessary.

    Define your goals and choose the apps that will support your journey and make it easier (not harder).

    All these apps are excellent for different circumstances, and we’ve tried to outline their best use to help you figure out which one works for you.


    The best food tracking apps…

    You can’t out-train a bad diet! And from our research, we know that sticking to a diet or lifestyle plan is one of the greatest weight loss challenges. 

    From meal plans to understanding what to eat and resisting sweet treat temptations, there are loads of food-related obstacles to trip you up. 

    Luckily, many apps are out there to help you lose weight by gaining control of your eating habits. 

    Here are some of our favorites…

    1. Calory: Simple Calorie Counter: best simple calorie tracker
    2. Cronometer: best for custom recipes
    3. Fooducate: best for nutritional education
    4. MyFitnessPal: best for all-around calorie and recipe tracking
    5. Platejoy: best for meal-planning
    6. Noom: best for helping you change your habits

    Calory: Simple Calorie Counter


    Calory is an app that gets down to the basics - calorie counting. At its core, losing weight requires you to be in a calorie deficit, i.e., consuming less than you are burning. 

    Tracking your calories gives you a clearer picture of what you are eating and makes you aware of how to make healthier choices regarding food. 

    Calory is one of the simplest food-tracking apps to use. The layout is user-friendly, displaying a bar chart with a percentage of your daily calorie intake and remaining calories.

    If you want to upgrade to the premium version, you’ll also get recipes and access to a advanced food database.

    Cost: Free (basic) or $14.99 per year

    App Store: 4.6

    Google Play: 4.2

    Best app for: Ease and simplicity of use and no jargon.

    Very easy to use

    Basic and not as in-depth as some apps


    Cronometer


    Cronometer is another app that helps you measure your daily food intake based on the CRON (Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition) diet. 

    The creator followed the CRON lifestyle and created the app to help him sustainably stick to the diet plan. The CRON diet is about limiting calories, minimizing harmful substances and maximizing nutritionally dense foods. 

    Cronometer tracks the calories and nutrients you eat and monitors your progress towards your weight or muscle gain loss goal.

    Just add in your goals, and it'll work out the rest. 

    There are also tutorials along the way to help you stay in a healthy lifestyle mindset. 

    Cost: Free for the basic version or $7 per month

    App Store: 4.7

    Google Play: 4.4

    Best apps for: creating custom recipes

    Great tutorials

    Focusses only on the CRON diet.


    Fooducate

    Eating healthy can feel like a bit of a minefield - so you need a way to simplify things. 

    Fooducate does its best to make you aware of how natural and healthy food is. It  uses an algorithm to grade foods, ranking from A to D.

    Natural and healthy food will gain a top grade and less so for food that is not considered to be particularly nutritional.

    To find out the grade of each food, you simply scan the barcode on the product. You can search for the item within the app if there's no barcode. 

    The idea is to find the best grade of food when you shop and create a list for future food purchases. It’s great for making you aware of the kind of food you’re consuming.

    Cost:  Free for the basic version or $3.99 per month

    App Store: 4.6

    Google Play: 4.3

    Best for: Education on food nutrition

    Educational

    Not a substitute for food nutritional labels


    MyFitnessPal


    This is one of the most talked-about calorie-counting apps and with good reason. It’ll track your calories and macros and recommend your daily intake based on height, weight and exercise. 

    This means you can determine how many macros you need to achieve your target weight. 

    It also comes with handy tips on nutrition and a huge database of recipes and integrates with wearable technology such as Garmin to keep track of your steps and exercise. 

    What’s not to like?

    Cost: Free (basic) or $9.99 per month

    App Store: 4.7

    Google Play: 4.2

    Best for All round recipe and calorie tracking

    Extensive and thorough 

    More expensive than most


    Platejoy


    We all know that food shopping is one the more monotonous parts of keeping healthy. It’s too easy to slip off track and throw some extra treats in the basket. 

    Platejoy is an app that will enable you to plan your shopping more accurately based on your health goals. It helps you decide which meals to have each day and the best ingredients.  

    You simply fill in a questionnaire regarding the type of meals you would like, opting out of the food you dislike or have a low tolerance for, and it'll do the rest. 

    A time-saving app that will undoubtedly push you in the right direction.

    Cost:  Free for ten days, then $99 for 12 months

    App Store: 4.7

    Google Play: 4.1

    Best for:  Meal planning

    Saves time on meal planning 

    More expensive than most


    Noom


    Noom has been getting a lot of praise due to the “slow but steady”, sensible approach it takes to weight loss. 

    It doesn’t claim to be the magic formula or a quick fix. Your weight loss coach will take you by the hand and guide you through the dieting maze, giving sensible advice to help you achieve your aim. 

    Your “interactive coach” will tell you precisely what you should do rather than what you want to hear. The aim is not just to get you to the other side; it’s about a long-term change. 


    If you’re looking for an app that will help to get you out of all the lousy dieting habits and set you on the right path, Noom is for you.

    Cost: $59 per month

    App Store: 4.7

    Google Play: 4.3


    Best for: Getting you into the right frame of mind for weight loss and changing your mindset to a healthier one.

    Great all round advice and very thorough

    One of the more expensive options

    The best exercise apps…

    Exercise is a vital part of your health journey - helping you lose weight, improving health markers, and making you feel better.

    If you don’t have the money for a personal coach, there are apps out there that offer the next best thing.

    Let’s delve into some of the best.

    1. All Trails: best for people who love walking/hiking outdoors
    2. Fitbit: best for insights into health and fitness
    3. Glo: best for yoga, pilates and meditation classes
    4. Strava: best for runners and cyclers
    5. Peloton: best for variety and experienced exercisers

    AllTrails


    Fancy getting outside for your exercise but don’t know where to go?

    AllTrails is a great introduction to the great outdoors, offering suggestions for hikes and trails nearby to you. 

    You can search and filter the trails using criteria such as most popular and furthest distance and even include specific features such as waterfalls. There is a description and review of each walk, so you know roughly what you are letting yourself in for. 


    Cost:  $29.99 a year

    App Store: 4.8

    Google Play: 4.8

    Best for:  People who love walking or hiking outdoors


    Great for your first step into hiking

    Not for the experienced hiker



    Fitbit


    You might have heard of the Fitbit watch, but did you know there is an app too?

    Fitbit is one of the most comprehensive fitness and lifestyle trackers available, and there are several exciting features that allow Fitbit to get down to the nitty-gritty of your exercise program. Even better, you can try it free for three months before deciding whether or not to upgrade to the premium version.

    With Fitbit, you’ll get access to a vast library of over 200 workouts with audio and video classes, which you can tailor to your needs and keep you motivated. It’s not just your body that needs looking after, it’s your mind too, and plenty of mindfulness exercises are on offer to help you relax and focus on your goals.

    You’ll also get a vast range of healthy recipes, including diabetes-friendly, gluten-free, heart-healthy, and low-calorie, and suggestions for healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. 

    You can also play games and compete with friends in virtual adventure games to give you that extra boost. 

    You can also get a nightly sleep score based on your heart rate, the time you spend awake or restless, and sleep stages during the night. There are also wellness reports which give you an overall view of your activities and progression.

    You can integrate the app with your Fitbit watch for tracking on the go.

    Cost: 3-month free trial, then $9.99 per month.

    App Store: 4.2

    Google Play: 4.0

    Best for: Insight into every aspect of your fitness and well-being.

    Extensive all-around food and fitness app

    Quite expensive, especially if you purchase the watch too.


    Glo


    Glo is an app that incorporates yoga, pilates, and meditation practices to help you feel grounded. 

    The app features daily videos of actual live classes recorded live at the Glo studio in Santa Monica, California. Plus, there is a library of over 5000 on-demand classes, so if you struggle to make your way to an in-person class, this is the next best thing. 

    You can choose from short to long classes, depending on your schedule.

    Cost:  $18 per month

    App Store: 4.9

    Google Play: 3.5

    Best for: Yoga, pilates and meditation classes


    Great for beginners and more experienced yoga fans

    More expensive than your typical yoga class


    Strava

    The app which launched the catchphrase “If it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen,” Strava is the go-to app for runners and cyclists, and it’s not difficult to see why.  

    You can time your effort, check for routes with specific gradients, compete with others in the many ‘segments,’ get notification of all of your PBs and check your heart rate at all intervals. 

    Strava will log your efforts and cross-check them against previous efforts. You can also follow your friends and encourage each other along the way. 

    This is another app that relies a great deal on GPS, and- as we know- this can be far from reliable at times, but it’s pretty much the closest thing you’ll have to an accurate personal log and complete diary of your exercise.  

    Cost:  Free (basic) or $19.99 per month

    App Store: 4.8

    Google play: 4.5

    Best for  Running/Cycling

    Perfect for walkers, runners and cyclists

    Not much variety on other forms of exercise


    Peloton


    When you hear “Peloton,” you most likely think of cycling machines wired up to a screen, but the app itself is far more than just cycling. The king of home workout apps, Peloton provides thousands of expert-level classes without equipment. 

    There are many workouts, and you can adjust your level by duration and difficulty as you progress. 

    For those looking to work that little bit harder, Peloton is what you’re looking for. It’s the next best thing to having an instructor shout in your ear!

    Cost: Price: $44 per month 

    App Store: 4.9

    Google Play: 4.4

    Best for: Huge variety of workouts, and for those looking to push that bit harder to the next level.

    Great for those in decent shape already who want to push to the next level

    More expensive than others


    The best apps for mental health…

    Yes, this is about the best diet apps, but let’s face it - there is no point in looking great if you feel awful. And mental stressors can impact things such as gut health and impede your ability to lose weight. 

    If you want to look after your body, it’s important to look after your mind too. You need to stay mentally strong to keep the focus on your targets. 

    A decent mental health app to be there for you and guide you along the way will give you a huge advantage.

    1. Calm: best for helping you sleep
    2. Headspace: guided meditations
    3. ibreath: free breathing exercises
    4. Moodkit: identifying triggers and altering behavior
    5. Talkspace

    Calm


    As we are all too aware these days, being healthy doesn’t just mean looking after your body - and sleeping forms a huge part of mental health.

    For those looking for help with mindfulness and to reduce their stress and anxiety, Calm is definitely for you. It’s a meditation and mindfulness app that includes bedtime stories, breathing programs and meditation guides. Plus, it’s great for increasing your focus and improving the quality of your sleep.

    There’s a library of calming music, too, including Science-led Wellness Music which is fantastic for changing a noisy atmosphere into a relaxing, chilling head-space.

    Cost: 7-day free-day, then $14.99 per month

    App Store: 4.8 

    Google Play: 4.4

    Best for: Relaxation and mindset. 

    A first-class app for relaxation and resetting your mind

    Narrator interruptions can be distracting


    Headspace


    Headspace is an app along similar lines to Calm, but we found this one easier to navigate. 

    Even before you sign up, you’re immediately told to breathe deeply and to relax so they look after you from the word go. 

    Your home screen choices are: meditate, sleep or move and you can also filter meditations by “stress” or “focus”. 

    It’s very easy to navigate and there’s plenty to choose from in the library of meditations. Whether you’re looking for help with stress, sleep or focus, headspace has it.

    Cost:  Free trial, then £7.99 per month

    App Store: 4.8

    Google Play: 4.4

    Best for: Library of meditations

    Great all-round coverage of all aspects of mindset

    Sleep library not as extensive as some


    ibreath


    iBreathe is designed with simplicity in mind to help you taking control of your breathing exercises. 

    Its simple interface offers guided and customizable breathing exercises to help you de-stress, improve sleep or simply take a second out of your day. 

    This app is unavailable for android users. 

    Cost: $1.99 per month to remove ads

    App Store: 4.9

    Google Play: unavailable

    Best for:  Ease of use

    Completely free

    Not as thorough as some apps


    Moodkit


    MoodKit helps you to get into the right mindset habits by using the scientifically-proven cognitive behavior therapy. 

    Users can engage in mood-enhancing activities, and identify and change unhealthy thinking. You can also create journal entries using custom templates designed to promote well-being. 

    Using devices such as the thought checker, mood checker and moodkit journal, the app allows you to monitor your daily progress, as well as help you identify any triggers. 

    It’s a brilliant way to understand how you feel and what leads to those feelings in day-to-day life. 

    This one is also only available on Apple products. 

    Cost:  $4.99 per month

    App Store: 4.3

    Google Play: unavailable

    Best for: Educating yourself on how to deal with stressful situations

    Great for showing you how to manage your mental health better

    Requires some personal motivation


    Talkspace


    Talkspace is a therapy app where you can talk 1:1 with a therapist. It links you with any one of thousands of licensed therapists who are available 24/7, with no waiting lists. It’s ideal if you can’t make it to face-to-face therapy, or if you don’t want to wait. 

    One of the main plus factors is its ease of use. In fact, it’s so personal, it’s just like messaging a friend. 

    Talkspace if the perfect app for all manner or mental health struggles, and so it’s no surprise that it comes in as our most expensive app. However, in comparison to 1:1 counselling the price is low, and might be worth it for you if you need to speak to someone. 

    Cost: $260 per month

    App Store: 4.3

    Google Play:  4.3

    Best for: Accessing specialized therapist 

    Alternative to 1 to 1 therapy

    Very expensive


    Which fitness app should you use?

    Diet apps literally give us fingertip access to expert knowledge, and in some cases 1:1 professional expertise. There is an app for everything, and there is no exception when it comes to all aspects of losing weight including food, exercise and mental health.

    There are pros and cons for many but for an all-around fitness app that will help immensely with the three main factors - diet, exercise and mental health, we would have to choose Fitbit. There’s a huge library of recipes and exercises to try out and it gives you a real sense of positivity when using it. It’s like having someone by your side, guiding you all the way. Better still, there’s a three-month free period, before you decide to purchase!

    While you don’t want to overload yourself, you may find that downloading a few apps that you enjoy and that help you with your weight loss goals might be best. 

    If you’re not yet ready to commit to a download you can check out some of our latest blogs on everything to do with weight loss to help you on your journey. 

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