I've got nutrition on the mind and a secret to share: the “freshman fifteen” is a misnomer.
To be precise, there should be a caveat attached, an addendum added in fine print at the bottom. Maybe even a warning label? Something that looks like this:
WARNING! WARNING! IT DOESN'T END HERE.
I graduated from college three months ago, and let me tell you; nobody warned me about the live-at-home-and-gain-an-infinite-number-of-pounds clause. The ease with which my parents spend money at restaurants is mind-boggling, considering that, until recently, I was living off buttered noodles and peanut butter sandwiches.
Luckily there are ways to combat lazy eating! And one way is with apps.
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As I imagine most Millennials are, I’m very addicted to my smartphone. I use things like Facebook, Pinterest, and Candy Crush every day. However, there are so many constructive and valuable apps out there (because let’s be honest, my life could be much more productive if Candy Crush didn’t exist). An especially helpful genre is that of nutrition apps.
There are different kinds of health apps: kinds which track what you eat, others which measure your workouts, etc. Here are three of the top nutrition/food-tracking apps of 2014:
CalorieKing® is an app that hosts hundreds of thousands of food labels for pretty much anything you can think of. From Hostess donuts to Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, you can pull up the food label and get information on fat content, cholesterol, calories, etc. The app is organized by food category, food brands, and fast food chains. So, whenever you’re out and deciding what to order, you can nip onto the app, do a quick search for the restaurant, and figure out which choice is the healthiest for you. For more information, visit www.calorieking.com.
MyFitnessPal allows you to log all your meals through a search that finds what you ate and lists all its nutritional information, including calories, sodium, etc. It calls it your food “diary,” designed to help you come back and reference what you’ve eaten in the past. It also keeps track of the time and type of exercise you perform daily (or, if you're like me, weekly). The app also helps you achieve your weight loss goals by putting in your current weight, determining how much you would like to weigh, and how much you can eat in the allotted time to lose the weight necessary for your goal. Create an account at www.myfitnesspal.com.
MyPlate calorie tracker is perhaps my favorite of the three apps, and the one I use most often. It’s quite similar to MyFitnessPal but comes across a touch more user-friendly. With the app you are able to update what you've eaten at each meal, plus the exercise you’ve done, your weight, and the amount of water you've drunk. Like the others, it allows you to search for particular brands of food and lets you change the serving size to match what you ate. Visit www.livestrong.com/myplate for details.
Whichever app you choose, the key is to stick with it. It takes about seven days to start habitually posting daily. It’s also important to be consistent in order to assure accurate results. Like anything worthwhile, if you put consistent effort in, you’ll be pleased with the outcome.