Let’s face it – food labels are oh so deceiving and you can spend an extra hour in the grocery store trying to decipher them, all the time wondering if you can really trust them. Take the mystery out of what you are tossing in your grocery basket and on your dinner table by downloading one or all of these food apps that will guide you to choosing the healthiest, cleanest, and best tasting groceries for you and your family.
I love this app! True confession: My first trip to the grocery store after I downloaded Fooducate took forever! I was like a kid in a candy store, scanning every bar code in sight to test play with the app. It was great fun! How it works: The app snaps a picture of the bar code rates the product according to its nutritional value and ingredients (A, B, C etc.), with ‘A’ being the healthiest. You will also see the percentage of users who like the product and the number of calories. What I really like is the warning messages – i.e. “Salty! Has over 20% of the daily max.” It tells you diet point values, vitamin source if any, and alternative product brands that have healthier ratings. This app is FREE and iPhone and Android compatible.
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch
Another great app! Seafood Watch provides you with the most current recommendations for the healthiest seafood and sushi. How it works: In the search box on the app, type in the name of the seafood you want to purchase, salmon for example, and up will pop a list displaying the “Best Choice” (Alaskan Chinook, King), which to “Avoid” (Atlantic, farmed), and a “Good Alternative” (King, CA, OR, WA). The sushi guide does the same. The latest update to the app is “Project Fishmap”. Once you find a store or restaurant that carries seafood on the “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” list, add the location via the app so others will know the best places to shop for sustainable seafood. If you don’t know where to find sustainable fish in your area, this will also help you. This app is FREE and iPhone and Android compatible.
I am a HUGE supporter of purchasing organic produce. Yes, it is usually more expensive in the grocery stores – that’s what Farmer’s Markets are for! The grocery stores and big box stores are catching on though as they seem to be carrying more and more organic produce and products and putting them on sale! Besides, I’d rather pay a few cents more for an organic strawberry than give it to the medical industry when the toxins make me sick. If you eat five servings of produce a day from the top 12 most contaminated list, you would be eating an average of 14 different pesticides – a day! ICK!
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to buy 100% organic produce. Not just due to the cost factor, but organic produce is not always available. That’s where The Clean 15 comes in handy. Download this app and do the best you can. How it works: The Dirty Dozen is a list of fruits and vegetables having the most pesticide residues; thus are the most harmful to you and your family and the most important to buy organic. Bonus! The app also provides a list of The Clean 15, a list of conventionally grown produce that is fine to purchase non-organic, still good for you and good for your budget too! This app is FREE and iPhone, Windows Phone, and Android compatible.
The next two apps I have not tried yet, but they sound very helpful so wanted to share them with you.
My Food Facts
I am fortunate in that I don’t have allergies, but if you do, this looks like a great app for you. How it works: The app identifies food allergens in food products so you will know to steer clear and leave it on the grocery store shelf where you found it. Once you download the app, you program in your personal allergy alerts. While shopping, simply scan the product bar code; if an allergen is found, the app will alert you. Sounds like a great label reading time saver and nothing will fall through the cracks. This app costs 99 cents and is compatible only on iPhone.
I would love to have this app! It almost makes me want to trade in my Droid for an iPhone – almost. A great money saving tip, and flavor enhancer, is to purchase fruits and vegetables at the peak of their season. I’m blessed to live in California where you can pretty much get any fruit or vegetable you want year round. But! Strawberries purchased at their peak are a far cry from strawberries purchased in the dead of winter. The downside is it’s more difficult to find organic produce out of season, and difficult to know when something is in season or not since it is always available. How it works: Plop in the name of the produce you want to buy and Harvest will tell you how to select the absolute best one in the bunch. Bonus! At the very bottom, it will let you know how much residue may have been used. If it’s high – go organic! This app costs $1.99 and is compatible only with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Download these apps and your grocery shopping toolbox will be filled with all the tools you need to fill your fridge and pantry with the freshest, juiciest, most tasteful, and healthiest foods around! Your family will think you’ve been taking cooking lessons – everything will taste that good!
Do you have a favorite food app that I have not listed here? Please share with us!