10 Best Food Apps

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It’s common knowledge that most college students are glued to their smart phones. I know I am guilty of using apps for just about everything. Recently, I have become aware of just how many great apps there are that concern food and nutrition. I decided to test a few and came up with this list of apps that are worth a try. Whether you are looking for new recipes, a vegetarian restaurant, or tips to make cooking easier, the solution may be just one click away!

1. Aggie Dish

Price: Free

Platform: Apple iOS (mobile web version on Android)

This app allows you to view a complete menu of what is offered daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night at Segundo, Cuarto, and Tercero Dining Commons at UC Davis. You are able to view a description of the dish as well as its nutrition facts for each meal item. In addition, the app tells you how many “happy healthy apples” a dish contains, which is an indicator of its nutrient density. A very nutritious dish has three apples, and apples are subtracted for negative aspects such as high sodium, high levels of saturated fat, and chemical additives. Common allergens that appear in dishes such as gluten, soy, and dairy are displayed, as  well as finding out if a dish is vegan or vegetarian. Aggie Dish also features a list of dining locations both on and off campus that accepts Aggie Cash. I highly recommend Aggie Dish for anyone who eats on campus regularly, or who wants to check out what the DC has to offer. To download, visit http://dining.ucdavis.edu/aggiedish.html

2. Farmstand

Price: Free

Platform: Apple iOS

Farmstand makes eating local easy to do by making it simple to find farmers’ markets, community gardens, and restaurants and events that serve local food. This app supplies the location, distance, and hours for local markets and events (such as Food Day) taking place. Markets appear on a map and a list sorted by distance. Also provided is contact or website information for local markets. You can also share content, reviews and photos within the app and via Facebook and Twitter

3. Local Eats

Price: $0.99

Platform: Apple iOS

The Local Eats app is perfect when you are exploring a new city and want quality food, but are not sure where to go. This app shares my philosophy that although chain restaurants are one option, it’s not nearly the same as trying out a locally-owned dining establishment. The app uses the iPhone’s GPS receiver to identify your location and pull up restaurants that are nearby. You can also search restaurants alphabetically or by category. Choosing “Best in Category” allows you to find top-rated restaurants for each type of cuisine. The app provides links to restaurant descriptions, contact information, websites, directions and comments and reviews by other users.

4. Cook’s Companion

Price: Free

Platform: Apple iOS

Ever been uncertain about how to use a certain cooking tool, or unfamiliar with an ingredient that a recipe requires? Then this app is for you. This kitchen reference app provides cooking tools including a timer, ingredient dictionary, equipment list, measurement converter, and a glossary of kitchen terms. The glossary provides a complete description and image of the equipment and how to use, handle, clean and store it. The measurement converter makes it easy to go from ounces to grams, milliliters to tablespoons, Celsius to Fahrenheit and more. My favorite feature is the ingredient dictionary, which identifies obscure foods such as aduzki beans and includes tips on selection, cooking, and storage.

5. Delicion

Price: Free initial download, in app purchases begin at 1.99

Platform: Apple iPad only

Delicion is perfect for those seeking gluten, grain, and soy free recipes. With appetizing images and easy step-by-step instructions, this app makes eating with special diet easier and more fun. Delicion allows you to adapt recipes to meet additional dietary needs such as vegan and vegetarian, Paleo, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and low carbohydrate. Other features include the ability to add notes to each recipe to personalize the experience, and scale recipes for a small or large group. Shopping lists are available by recipe and can also be organized by grocery store aisle and shared via email.

6. Meal Makeover

Price: $1.99

Platform: Apple iOS

Meal Makeovers is a recipe app created by registered dieticians that features healthier, more nutrient-rich versions of family favorites. Familiar recipes are modified into healthy family recipes in categories from kid food to holiday classics, main entrees and sides as well as vegetarian options. The searchable database of over 50 recipes includes recipes such as Black Bean Enchiladas, Nutty Banana “Ice Cream” and tuna salad with raisins. Meal Makeover allows you to save favorites, rate and review recipes, and add ingredients from the recipes directly to your shopping list. 

7. Cooking PlanIt

Price: Free

Platform: Apple iOS

Cooking PlanIt simplifies the cooking process and saves time by helping home cooks prepare a complete meal with everything ready at the same time. Automatic timers alert you when each component is ready to move to the next step, and voice or visual commands prompt cooks to prep ingredients for immediate and later use. There is even the option to build in breaks to relax and cleanup. The app also features preplanned menus that come with a synchronized and preplanned shopping list. Search by ingredient, type of dish, occasion and an extensive list of diet restrictions including no onion, no pork, no nuts, gluten-free and more.

8. Real Simple Recipes: No Time to Cook?

Price: Free

Platform: Apple iOS

Real Simple Recipes makes it easy to create delicious recipes even on a busy night. The first screen of the app displays three time options: 40 minutes, 30 minutes and 20 minutes. It also displays a basic selection of food categories like poultry, beef, seafood and vegetarian. Picking a type of dish and a time frame then allows you to sort through the app’s collection of 850 recipes. Real Simple Recipes includes kitchen timers and how-to videos along with its cooking instructions. Favorite recipe and shopping list features are also offered.

9. Veggie Spots

Price: 2.99

Platform: Apple iOS

A vegetarian friend of mine recently had the experience of going to a restaurant where the only menu item she could order was a side of broccoli. Not exactly a complete meal, am I right? This app will make it so that never happens. The application accesses a database of restaurants that are vegan, vegetarian or vegetarian-friendly. You can search by your current location or enter a custom location, perfect if you’re visiting an unfamiliar city. Sort results by user ratings, alphabetical order, or on a map showing distance from your current location.

10. Epicurious

Price: Free

Platform: Apple iOS

This app, based off the epicurious website, divides recipes into categories like healthy lunches or decadent desserts. Select the category you want, browse the contents and choose your dish. The app will tell you the ingredients and kitchen tools you will need to prepare the meal. Use the app when browsing the aisles at your local grocery store to make sure you pick up everything you need. It even has an interactive shopping list that lets you check off items as you pick them up so you don’t forget a thing. Then it’s time to get cooking. Each recipe has clear instructions on how to go from raw ingredients to the final dish. Create a successful meal and you may want to flag the recipe as a favorite – that will make it easier to return to if you want to recreate the same dish later.

What are your favorite food apps? Will you be using any listed here? Share below!

9 thoughts on “10 Best Food Apps

  1. Dear Healthy Aggies,
    Apps, apps, what a great list. Veggie Spots is way cool when you are on the road.
    But, hold on a second……Healthy……..What’s up with “apples are subtracted for negative aspects such as high sodium, high levels of saturated fat” did you mean slices of bacon or what?

  2. As far as apples go: POSITIVE attributes include: food is minimally processed, is nutrient dense, contains heart healthy fat. NEGATIVE attributes include: food is high sodium, contains excessive sugar, contains additives or questionable preservatives. So for example, bacon, though delicious, is high in saturated fat, so an apple would be lost.

  3. This is an awesome resource to have! My roomie has a gluten-free diet and the app “Delicion” is something I’ll tell her about!
    The eating local app is something I’ll download too. I always like helping the local economy and learning about new local places to eat!
    Thanks for the tips! 🙂

  4. When Food Apps come to mind, the first thing that comes to mind are calorie counters. It is great that we can have access to these resources through our cell phones, seeing people tend to do everything on them. I definitely want to try Farmstand and Local Eats apps!

  5. I’ve never been one to be glued to my smartphone, but after reading this I might be! I’m always wondering what restaurants I should go out to when friends come over or if I’m out of town and always end up going to places I don’t feel so great about after. It would be so nice to have something that can tell you about restaurants that have locally sourced dishes to support the community or places with vegan and vegetarian options. I’ll definitely be using farmstand and veggie spots! And all the cooking apps seem so convenient for great and quick at home recipes!

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  7. These apps are great resources for eating and cooking. I will definitely try the local eats to support local business. Also the real simple meals will be great for cooking simply and fast. Thank you!

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