Make a Healthy Change

Tech Tools for Better Health

You might not be thinking about new year’s resolutions just yet, but it’s never too early to start! The most popular resolutions each year in America are related to being more physically active, losing weight, and eating smarter. There are proven strategies to help with these resolutions, such as keeping a food diary, making SMART goals, and developing social support for new behaviors. You can use these strategies the old-fashioned way, or you can try some of the new tech tools to help you in this process.

Check out the infographic below for an overview of helpful apps that count calories, calculate calorie and nutrient needs, track workouts, and more!

Use these tech tools for better health.

What’s your favorite health-related tech tool?

Diet tracking apps and tools

MealLogger – We know keeping a food diary is proven to help with weight management. But it can be overwhelming to track everything you eat and drink using pen and paper or even some nutrition databases. This app allows you to quickly snap a picture of your meals and snacks to log your food diary. The online community can help you rate the healthfulness of your meals, which can be motivating but may also be embarrassing for some. Be sure to customize your privacy settings to the level of confidentiality you feel comfortable with. The main drawback with this app is the reliance on crowdsourcing for rating meals instead of professionals or evidence-based recommendations like MyPlate.

Cooking and recipe apps and tools

FoodKeeper – Wasted food is wasted money, so the FoodKeeper app aims to help save both. The app provides proper storage guidelines for a wide range of foods. If you need them, you can set alerts to remind you to use up food before it goes bad. It even offers cooking tips for meat, seafood, and poultry. I love the concept of this app and it’s something I try to practice in my own home. But it might require a lot of effort to make it work as part of your meal planning routine.

Seasonal and Simple – If you love farmers markets, this app is for you! Seasonal and Simple was created by Missouri Cooperative Extension to help shoppers find seasonal produce, select good quality items, store them properly, and try new healthy recipes. The seasonality calendar is based on the Missouri growing season, but it shouldn’t vary too much from Virginia’s.

Fitness apps and tools

NY Times Scientific 7-Minute Workout – Have you heard of HIIT yet? This app is simple to use, just start the timer and follow the exercises on the screen for a quick but effective workout. There’s not much variety (only 2 workout options – beginner and advanced), but it’s a nice addition to your exercise routine. This workout app is best for people who feel comfortable with these exercise movements, as there is no form or safety cues, just the timer and the animations.

All Around Trackers

MyFitnessPal – This calorie counting and fitness app is widely used. You can log your food and drinks as well as your physical activities and track your progress towards customized goals. Users love the social support and motivation of the online community.

SuperTracker – SuperTracker has made major improvements in the last few years. It’s now fully mobile-friendly despite not having a stand-alone app. You can track and analyze your food, activity, weight, and more. The recommendations are based on MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines, which align with what you learn in our programs. They even offer groups and group challenges, which we’ve been exploring with our #ESMMatWork promotion this fall. SuperTracker may occasionally act up when you’re logging, but just reload the page to fix most issues. The site has great resources for using all the various features, including video demos.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on using tech tools for making health behavior changes. Are there any apps or websites you use to eat smart or move more? What functions are most important to you? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Disclaimer: Commercial products are named in this publication for informational purposes only. Neither Virginia Cooperative Extension nor the USDA endorse these products and do not intend discrimination against other products which also may be suitable.

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