The best calorie counter app is the kind of app that you are confident and comfortable using every single day. In choosing a calorie counting app you should pick one with an interface that is easy for you to use and makes you excited to input your calorie count after every meal. Below are a few things to look for when trying to choose a calorie counting app.
How Large is its Food Database?
Calorie counting takes a lot of effort, and apps are there to make it easier. When you have just finished a snack and are inputting that data into your app, it is disappointing to find that the app does not recognize the food you ate.
Most apps will let you input the type of food that is not in its database, but the process takes longer than simply searching for it on the app. Additionally, some apps require you to input detailed data about the food from the nutrition label before it will let you add it. This makes what should be a simple and quick process even longer.
The best calorie counting apps will have a large, reliable database of foods. You should be skeptical of any calorie counting app that lets users add to the database. This may mean that more foods are recognized, but the nutrition info may not be completely accurate. You can read more about the best features in a calorie counter app here:
Does it Accommodate Recipes?
You are probably not exclusively eating prepackaged foods or foods with a singular ingredient. If you are like most people, you probably have a few go-to recipes for when you need to make something quick. It will save you a lot of time to create a recipe in your fitness app rather than enter in ingredients individually.
Not every calorie counting app accommodates this, and even in those that do, the feature does not always work well. If you cook more than a select few recipes, then you should make sure your calorie counting app’s “add recipe” feature is easy to use.
How Does the App Handle Calories Burned?
Most of the calories you burn every day are from keeping yourself alive. For most people, calories burnt from exercise are negligible. Nonetheless, it is important that you get adequate nutrition for your activity level.
Often, exercise equipment, your smartwatch, and your fitness tracker app on your phone will overestimate the number of calories you burn. You don’t want an app that allows you an extra 700 calories just because you took a short 1.5-mile walk. To avoid this, you should try manually tracking your calories burnt and listen to your body for hunger cues associated with exercise.
Simultaneously, some calorie tracker apps do not account for activity in your calorie goals. Especially for highly active individuals, it is important that the app takes a calorie deficit model. Rather than penalizing the user for exceeding a set number of calories daily, the calorie limit should account for exercise. A student-athlete training for 20 hours a week needs to eat more than their basal metabolic rate, even if they are looking to lose two pounds a week.
What Extra Features Does the App Have?
Most people will want their calorie counting apps to also track their exercise habits, but there might be other various features important to you. You might need an app that connects directly with a fitness tracker, smartwatch, or heart rate monitor. You might want an app that also tracks your progress in weightlifting or your time running.
Of course, you can always use multiple apps to accomplish the same thing, but this can be inconvenient. If you are using multiple apps, make sure that they integrate with one another. Having to track your eating and fitness habits in two different places will make it harder to establish a consistent habit and take up too much of your valuable time.
What is the Aesthetic?
As noted in the introduction, you should want to use your calorie counter app every day. An attractive look makes using the app more pleasurable and thus, makes it more likely that you will use it every time you eat.
The preferred aesthetic is a very personal decision. It might be convenient to use an app that allows you to customize the interface. While there is typically little you can customize outside of the color scheme, anything that makes the app more attractive is desirable.
The best calorie tracking app for you will depend a lot on your personal preferences. You will probably need to experiment with a few different calorie-tracking apps before settling on the one. You need to find a calorie tracking app that you feel comfortable using every day for the foreseeable future.