Keeping up with what your child needs, what she doesn’t need, and what she’s actually eating can be difficult, but it’s also essential for parents who understand the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and are dedicated to instilling good eating habits in their kids. Fortunately, managing your child’s dietary needs and habits is easier than ever with the advent of the smartphone. Apple’s iPhone is capable of running some pretty powerful applications, and there are trackers in the App Store for almost anything you can imagine. These 10 are dedicated to nutrition and diet, and are great options for monitoring your child’s diet.
- Food Scanner: Good Food or Bad Food? – With your iPhone’s built-in camera you can take a picture of a food item’s UPC bar code and check it against over 200,000 food products stored in the FoodScanner app to receive exhaustive nutritional information. Managing calorie intake and monitoring ingredients of everyday foods is easier than ever, and can be handled through FoodScanner for the price of a $0.99 download.
- Meal Snap – Calorie Counting Magic – Taking a picture of your child’s meal with the built-in iPhone camera and running the Meal Snap app will return nutritional information on the entree quickly and accurately. If you’re a parent who’s obsessed with social media and documentation, Meal Snap also lets you share your culinary photography on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.
- Blood Sugar Tracker – Parents of diabetic children know exactly how important it is to monitor kids’ sugar intake in order to prevent dangerous surges and drops. With Blood Sugar Tracker, logging the results of blood tests and tracking them over the course of days, weeks, and even months is incredibly simple. The app isn’t at all complicated to use, and is free in the App Store.
- Serious Nutritional Tracker – Keeping track of your child’s calorie intake, estimated energy, protein, and fluid requirements, as well as intake levels of individual nutrients, is all possible with the Serious Nutrition Tracker. Because the app is designed for bodybuilders and other fitness buffs, there are features here that parents aren’t likely to need, but the $2.99 price tag makes the app well worth the purchase, as it does allow you to track your child’s dietary habits over an extended period of time.
- Fooducate – Healthy Food Diet & Nutrition Scanner – Taking first place in the U.S. Surgeon General’s Healthy App Challenge and being featured by a list that reads like a who’s who of major news outlets, Fooducate lets parents know exactly what the processed foods they purchase for their children contain. With a scan of the bar code you can determine exactly how healthy your grocery list actually is and modify it as needed to ensure that your little ones aren’t eating foods laden with trans fats, dangerous chemical additives, and loads of sugar.
- Eight Glasses a Day – Staying well hydrated is an essential part of human health, but keeping up with the amount of water your child drinks can be difficult. Eight Glasses a Day greatly simplifies the process of monitoring water intake by allowing you to simply touch a glass on the screen to make it disappear every time your little one finishes a glass.
- Restaurant Nutrition – Keeping track of what your child is eating when you visit a restaurant isn’t easy, and some restaurants use deliberately misleading wording on their menus to create the illusion of healthy, nutritious entrees when they’re really anything but that. With over 250 restaurants in their database, Restaurant Nutrition helps you track the foods your child is eating on the go. Best of all, Restaurant Nutrition is free in the App Store.
- Food Tracker Pro – Tracking your child’s dietary choices without counting calories or keeping tedious lists is easy with FoodTrackerPro, which allows you to help her make good decisions about her diet and keep up with what she’s eating. The simple interface is easy to use, and the app allows you to look at weekly, monthly, and yearly charts.
- EatRight – Keep up with your child’s diet in relation to the major food groups, fluid intake, and sweets/fats with EatRight, a $1.99 app with a 7 day log and daily tracker. The optional progress sharing feature is also great for nannies, who can send charges’ dietary information to busy parents to keep them in the loop.
- 5 A Day – Getting five servings of fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet is easier than you think, especially when you have this $0.99 app to help. A collection of recipes that are heavy on fresh fare, 5 A Day helps users meet their daily produce quota.
Determining what foods are suitable for your child and how well her dietary needs are being met through the power of the iPhone and the App Store can help to ensure that she learns good eating habits and the importance of good nutrition from an early age. Remember, kids learn most of their habits by modeling the adults in their lives, so making an effort to eat well yourself is another teaching tool at your disposal.