The new year came around faster than we all expected, and just like everyone else, I vowed that I was going to drop a couple of pounds.
My investigation into this unfamiliar territory of healthy eating uncovered a plethora of articles written about free smartphone apps designed to direct any of us towards healthy eating. These apps give us the opportunity during a road trip or an everyday excursion to go beyond the greasy fast food spots or commonplace chains that seem to pop up everywhere
I’m sharing four apps, from the abundance of options, that I found easiest to use and free to download to an iPhone or Android:
GPS-based Food Tripping is a collaboration between SHFT.com and Ford Motor Company. This free app helps users find alternatives to fast food anywhere in the United States. Having tested this app at home, I was impressed with what came up, including many local spots I would never have guessed to be on a national database.
The user has the option to filter their choices from categories such as Eateries, Farmer’s or Food Markets, Coffee & Tea, or Juice Joints & Smoothies. There is even a filter for Vegan & Vegetarian, Drink Artisans, and Food Artisans.
LocalEats is an easy-to-use app that lets you search by state, city, or town on their home screen quite easily, and also provides a search feature based on your current location. It doesn’t list every restaurant in your search area, but does provide you with some of the better options based on ratings from magazines, newspapers and other dining sites.
Zomato allows you to select your location manually or use your current location to explore restaurants anywhere in the United States, not to mention 23 other countries. Their app allows you to search by dine-out restaurants, delivery restaurants, takeaway (to-go) restaurants, as well as listing popular brands in the area.
You can also tap on the “reviews” tab and read what other diners have posted to help you make your decision. You can even create a profile to share your experiences with other “foodies” by unlocking your “dineline”—but it’s not necessary to log in to get the information you need for a healthy meal while traveling.
Healthy Out focuses on healthy eating at all restaurants in your search area without being limited to restaurants that focus on health food. Once you enter your search area, a list of all restaurants and their Yelp rating come up, including their address and the distance from your location. Tap on a restaurant, and select “Just Healthy” or “Full Menu”—and either choice presents you with the type of detailed menu you’d see in that restaurant.
Each item on either menu gives you a full description of the item, including the price. Tap on the item and you are provided with complete “dish data” including “healthy modifications," i.e., no bread, dressing on the side, plus nutrition information. So, if you’re looking for nutritional preferences like Atkins-friendly, lactose-free, gluten sensitive, low sodium, low calorie, etc., this gives you the most detail per menu item.
Bon voyage, and bon appetit!