These days there's an app for everything, like finding a babysitter or planning your child's next birthday party—the possibilities are endless. Now there are apps that help you grocery shop based on your family's dietary preferences or cook dinner with a virtual sous chef by your side. But how do you know which apps to trust? To help you weed through the clutter, we're highlighting our top picks for food apps that will simplify your life inside (and out) of the kitchen.
Recently launched by two registered dietitians (and moms), HONEY specializes in nine health categories: buzz, fertile, fit, healthy, hearty, kid, lite, sugar, and tasty. Choose a category that fits your needs and receive diet tips, food product reviews, and overall health recommendations from certified experts in that field. (Available for free on iTunes, Google Play, and thinkhoney.com.)
If you or your children adhere to a strict diet due to allergies or personal preferences, the grocery store aisles can often be your worst nightmare. Instead of sulking over what you can't have, Ingredient1 offers a solution to this tiresome problem by suggesting thousands of foods that you can have. Just program your settings (e.g., GMO-free, organic, kosher), choose what type of food you're in the mood for, and the app will pull together a list of everything that's A-OK to eat. It even allows you to locate the product at the nearest store and share your finds with your friends. (Available for free on iTunes.)
If someone in your family suffers from food allergies, this app might be for you. ipiit prompts you to input your allergies (gluten, dairy, egg) and then allows you to simply scan a product's barcode to check for those ingredients. With a growing database of nearly 300,000 items, the app does the work for you so you don't have to waste time squinting over the fine print. (Available for free on iTunes, Android, and ipiit.com)
Want to get your kids involved in learning about nutrition? Green Light Foods gives users a visual concept of how foods line up on the health scale. Scan a product's barcode and you'll get a red, yellow, or green traffic light symbol indicating its health rating. The app analyzes the item and instantly tells you if it has a low, moderate, or high concentration of fat, saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. Can't find your food? The app allows you to manually input an item's nutritional values and then provides you with feedback. (Available for free on iTunes and Google Play.)
With detailed photos, videos, and written instructions, SideChef will have you cooking like Julia Child in no time. The app gives users access to thousands of recipes designed by chefs, bloggers, and restaurateurs from around the world. It also provides you with dozens of recipes based on your dietary needs including gluten-free, vegan, Paleo, and more. (Available for free on iTunes and Android.)
If you've ever questioned that wilted bag of lettuce or the uncooked chicken that's been sitting in the fridge for days, FoodKeeper is for you. Developed by the USDA, Cornell University, and the Food Marketing Institute, this app helps you understand proper food storage methods, safe cooking techniques, and accurate product shelf life so you can maximize food use and minimize waste. You can also set calendar reminders on your smartphone to remind you of nearing expiration dates for the foods in your kitchen. (Available for free on iTunes and Android.)
Save time and money with this app that creates personalized meal plans and grocery lists to fit your likes and dietary preferences. Users will receive fresh and seasonal menus to their inbox each week along with an interactive shopping list that organizes ingredients by aisle, allows them to mark what they already have at home, and reminds them what needs to be replenished. (Available for free on iTunes and Google Play.)
Note: After 10 days, users must pay a fee to upgrade or subscribe in order to continue using the meal plan and grocery list functionalities.