Want to drop some extra pounds but need a little push? There’s an app for that! In fact, there are several apps that can make losing weight easier and fun. (Yes, fun.) Use them to track calories, log your workouts and connect with others who are trying to trim down and get fit, too. Here, five free apps designed to help you reach a healthier weight.
Studies show that keeping a food journal boosts your chances for slim-down success, and this free app makes doing so super easy. Simply snap a photo of your meal or snack and add an optional note. To keep you accountable, your photo food journal can be accessed by your personal trainer, nutritionist or a friend who can review and rate your meals and offer feedback such as, “Bravo for eating broccoli,” or, “Next time pass on the chips.” MealLogger also lets you create a public or private group where you can share with others, so you don’t have to eat healthy solo.
Hate counting calories? This free app does it for you. You input information about your weight loss goals, and the app comes up with a weight loss plan, which includes a daily calorie budget. As you log your meals and physical activities, Lose It! lets you know how many calories you have left for the day and the amount of protein, carbs and fat you’ve eaten, so you can adjust as needed. With a database of calorie counts that includes brand name foods and restaurant meals, it’s easy—not to mention eye-opening—to know how many calories you’ve consumed. It also has a barcode scanner so all you have to do is scan before you snack to log those calories in a snap.
READ MORE: 4 Diet Tips to Live to 100
If external motivation is what you need, this is your app. On Nexercise, you earn rewards by tracking your activity—they have a list of over 200 forms of physical activities and cleaning your house counts!— and competing against your friends or others in the Nexercise community to see who is more active. Though you can earn badges and medals to show off in cyberspace, you can also reap real rewards, such as Nike gift cards and gear, as well as music downloads. This is a plus since research shows that people spend more time on apps that use rewards to motivate than apps that don’t.
With a database of more than three million foods, MyFitnessPal lets you enter any meal or snack and instantly tells you how many calories you’ve consumed. The app remembers foods you eat frequently for easy charting, lets you log several edibles at once, and has a recipe calculator so you can figure out the nutritional content of foods you whip up at home. You can use MyFitnessPal on your iPhone or iPad, but you can also access your information from your computer. Reports about your weight loss, measurements, nutrient intake and more let you see the progress you’re making along your slim-down journey.
READ MORE: Should You Work Out When You’re Sick?
Not all of us go on a diet just to slim down. Whether you’re looking for a meal plan that’s also low in cholesterol, low in sugar or vegetarian, among others, Diet Point offers 100 different meal plans in 14 categories. For each food plan, Diet Point tells you how many pounds you’ll shed following it. The app also provides shopping lists for the plan you choose and meal reminders. Best of all, the daily tips inspire and enlighten you with nuggets of info, while the forum where you can connect with other dieters helps keep you motivated.