Search for “diet” on Apple’s app store, and you’ll get thousands of results—so how are you supposed to know which ones will help you achieve the results you’re looking for? Careful consideration—rather than downloading the first free option that pops up—is key.
“I think apps are a wonderful way to keep your goals front and center and keep track of progress throughout the day,” says Torey Armul, R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who’s board-certified in sports dietetics. “That’s partly because we’re so rooted to our smartphones right now.”
Armul recommends beginning by thinking about what really helps you achieve goals. Is having a big support network key? Or are you more numbers-driven? “Spending a little more time up front thinking about what platform is going to work best for you and what's worked best in the past and doing a little bit of research or asking around is going to pay off in the long run because it’s going to get you on the right track right away,” she says.
To help you get started, we talked to Armul about some of her top recommendations for different goals and personality types.
Keep in mind…
It’s easy to stick with an app for the first few days—and if you’re the type of person who likes to eat the same thing day in and day out, you may only need to spend a week on an app to get something out of it. But if your diet varies pretty significantly each day, you’ll benefit most from using the app consistently, says Armul. “You get out of it what you put into it—compliance is one of the hardest things.”