Eat healthy with these free Android apps

by Kristen Nicole

Eating healthy is a little easier these days. The bread aisle has more than one type of wheat bread on its shelves, and chains like Whole Foods delivers organic and natural groceries across the nation. And things only get better with Android devices. There’s a wealth of apps to keep you healthy, smart and savvy, saving you a few pounds and a few dollars along the way.

Calorie Counter by FatSecret (Free)

A popular Android app for foodies, Calorie Counter by FatSecret gives you the caloric and nutritional information for a wide variety of foods. But this free app does more than tell you how many calories are in the foods you eat, You can manage your entire diet with the food and exercise diaries, scan barcodes for quick input, save your favorite foods for easy access and track your weight and calories burned. Calorie Counter also offers recipes and meal ideas for those moments you need a little inspiration to stay on the healthy track.

Healthy Recipes - SparkRecipes (Free)

From SparkRecipes comes a niche Android app for healthy living. Browse and search its database of thousands of healthy recipes, saving your favorites for quick access and bookmarking. For each meal you’ll get nutritional info, including the average calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs and more. It’s easier than calculating your total caloric intake for a meal by counting each ingredient, and Healthy Recipes can be used as a meal-planning tool as well. Filter searches by category, course, cuisine, special dietary needs, and drill-down even further by limiting the calories for a given meal search.

Quick Meal (Free)

Most of us tech-savvy folks are cramped for time, so meal preparation is best kept at a minimum during the week. QuickMeal helps you cook healthy meals at top speed. Every meal in this app can be made in less than 35 minutes, with nine categories of dishes to try. Browse by time (15 or 30 minutes), or meal (appetizer, breakfast, dessert, main dish, salad or for kids), or type in your search. Save your favorites and share them with friends. A “starred” tab on the home screen will take you to your bookmarked recipes for easy access.

Honest Label (Free)

Honest Label is a great little app I came across not too long ago, and I’ve used it regularly ever since. It helps you cut through the crap while you’re grocery shopping for healthy food, scanning barcodes to get a coded view of the nutritional information. This lets you immediately recognize the ingredients you don’t want. You can personalize the app to red-flag ingredients you’d like to avoid all together, like high fructose corn syrup. There’s already a pretty big database of labels in the Honest Label system, and they’re only continuing to grow.

Smart Foods-Organic Diet Buddy (Free)

Another color-coded system to help you manage and identify the right foods while shopping is Smart Foods-Organic Diet Buddy. It marks foods according to the precautions you’ll need to take: red indicates foods you should buy organic, yellow means use caution, and green highlights safe items (think things with a harder skin or require cooking). Click on any food to get additional details, like nutrition facts, prep needs and common pesticides. To sweeten the deal, this free Android app also comes with a local farmers' market finder so you can support your community and stay healthy too.