How to make healthy food choices to eat – with technology

The rate of obesity is increasing all over the world. For example, the rate of obesity worldwide has doubled since the 1980s, according to a study done  in January 2015 by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Moreover, 39 per cent of the world’s adults (aged 18 years and older) were found to be overweight in 2014 – and another 13 per cent were obese. These alarming statistics do not count children – of which 42 million worldwide were found by the WHO to be overweight or obese.

How do you make healthy food choices? Photo:

How do you make healthy food choices?

But obesity and the risk of attaining healthy problems that come with it – such as hypertension, diabetes and high blood pressure – can be minimised, by making healthy food choices.

It is very easy to make healthy food choices with the rise of technology in today’s society. Today there are in fact, many apps out there which you can download onto your smartphone and consult – in order to count calories, choose healthy food options and stick to a healthy lifestyle. Many health companies are taking advantage of technology tools that help keep people healthy. Oscar, a health insurance company in New York and New Jersey, gives out fitness trackers to their members and has an app that members can use to keep track of steps taken and consult professionals on health questions. March is the Nutrition Awareness Month, so here is a small handful of such apps that you may be able to consider – in your quest to make healthy food choices and ward off obesity at the same time.

1) Fooducate

Basic version is available for free on Apple and Android.

This is a useful app that lets customers scan the nutrition barcode of products in the supermarket to find out the total calories, fat, sodium and other ingredients found in foods. So this app is good to uncover whether that “healthy” energy bar is really as healthy as it claims to be – or if it’s actually packed with sugars.

In addition to the supermarket products, you can also key in the names of generic food items such as fried eggs, muffins and sausages – and find out exactly how healthy or unhealthy these food products actually are.

2) MyFitnessPal’s Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker

Available for free on Apple and Android.

If you are looking to lose or maintain your weight, this is a useful app to take note of. It comes together with a useful food diary of more than three million varieties of foods complete with not only calorie but also nutritional information – and helps you to set your own fitness goals. Moreover, when you sign in and create an account with this app, you will also be able to track your own daily calorie intake and expenditure, to ensure that your weight loss or maintenance goals are on track. Also, you will have access to the app’s social network where you will be able to chat with and share thoughts with like-minded people who are also looking to control their weight. The app makers hope that doing this will help motivate you on your weight control journey.

3) iDAT

Available for free on Apple and Android.

Put out by the Health Promotion Board in Singapore, this is a uniquely Singaporean app complete with a rather useful database of many Singaporean dishes, complete with their calorie counts and nutritional information. So you will easily be able to check up whether the plate of fried kway teow or the chicken rice is a healthier option, at your local hawker centre – based on the total calories the dishes contain, and other information. As most health apps are designed in the United States, such Singaporean cuisines may not be featured in them – so that’s where this app comes in handy to make good and healthy local food choices. Moreover, iDAT also lets you sign up for an account to count your total daily calorie intake and expenditure through exercise based on your height and weight.

4) Superfoods

Available for free on Apple and Android.

Nutritional superfoods are not new to us. We have heard about plenty of studies of how, for example, foods like pomegranate and green tea contains antioxidants to ward off cancer. This app is a mine of information about all the different superfoods and how they can help the human body – to educate you into making smart and educated choices of what you put into your supermarket trolley.

This app also comes with “Deals” tab that provides information about shopping specials and bargains for the foods featured in the app – but this only applies to users in the United States.

5) Substitutions

Available on Apple and Android for USD0.99.

This is a useful app on what to choose – if you need to swap an unhealthy food choice with a much healthier option. As a very basic example, if you want to cut out full cream milk from your diet due to the high fat content, the app will advise you to choose low fat or skim milk, where you can get the essential nutrients and calcium but minus the fats. Lactose free milk options are also available for those who are lactose intolerant.

Besides recommending healthy substitutions for unhealthy food choice, this app would also give you tips on what to swap a missing key ingredient for – if you find you’re in the middle of cooking something and don’t have the means to rush out to the nearby grocery store to buy it in time.

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