Here’s the thing about me: I have an iPhone but I am not a huge app user. Friends keep asking me about one of the bajillion health, fitness, and weight loss apps and I don’t have answers for them.
So I’ve decided to give myself an app education. Since I think the Fooducate blog is the best thing since banana bread, I thought I’d start with the Fooducate app.
Fooducate is meant to be taken to the grocery store with you and used as a personal nutrition guide. It allows you to scan products, shows you product highlights, helps you compare products and select alternatives, and works by analyzing information from a product’s nutrition panel and ingredient list. It provides calorie information but this is not the focus; it helps you dig deeper and learn more about what is in your food.
How to Get Started
Download the app for iPhone or Android or use the web version at fooducate.com.
Sign up using email or Facebook.
Bam! You are ready to start playing.
Once you sign up, you’ll immediately be taken to the Find feature.
I’m a big fan of apps that encourage me to shake my phone so Fooducate gets bonus points for that! This is a cool way to find random new products that you never would have thought of trying.
My random product was Pop-Tarts Toaster Pastries, Frosted Strawberry. This product earned a grade of D (not so hot). As you can see, this grade was well earned because it contains trans-fats, artificial colors, refined flours, and little actual fruit.
If you tap the over arrow, you will get more product details.
Here you can see that Pop-Tarts fit into the Breakfast tarts, pastries category and that products in this category are rated D to C+. So if you are really craving a breakfast tart, you now know that there are some that have better ratings than these Pop-Tarts.
You can also see that products in this category have an average of 175 calories but range from 60 to 420 calories and that these Pop-Tarts have 200 calories per serving…could be worse.
If you scroll down further, you see a list of 12 things to know about the product along with an explanation of each.
You will find pretty much everything you could want to know about what is in your food. Many of the explanations have links to even more great information from the Fooducate Blog.
Hitting the Back button on the top of the page takes you back to the main Pop-Tart page where you can tap to read through the user comments or add your own.
Some of the user comments are helpful if you are still unsure about a product after seeing the Fooducate rating…and some of them not so much.
You can also Like or Don’t Like the product – Like! I have to give Fooducate extra points for this feature too.
The Add to List button allows you to add the product to your shopping list which you can access from the Main Menu at the top left of the screen.
The Alternatives button will provide you with a list of products in the same category with better ratings.
In this case, Fiber One Toaster Pastry, Fruit Flavored, Strawberry comes out on top with a rating of C+. If you tap it, you are taken to the Fiber One Toaster Pastry page to find out why.
So, now that we know all about strawberry toaster pastries, what else does Fooducate have to offer?
The little barcode looking button on the top right takes you back to the Find feature where you can shake for a random product or scan a product you want to know more about.
Since it seemed easier to write this post at home than at the grocery store, I scanned a couple of products I already had in my kitchen. First I scanned my HEB store brand milk.
The Fooducate database has over 200,000 unique products and is growing daily but I got a message that my product was not in the Fooducate database. I was asked if I would like to contribute to the awesomeness of Fooducate (my wording not theirs) by taking a few pictures of the product so they could add it. Easy-peasy.
The next thing I scanned was a can of Bush’s Best Chick Peas, Garbanzos.
These were given a grade of B which is at the lower end of grades for foods in the Legume category. Clicking the Alternatives button gave me some good options so maybe I’ll try the Goya Chick Peas next time.
The Main Menu button on the top left gives you some more fun things to play with.
The product button takes you back to the last product you looked at, apparently I have 2 messages, and we’ve already seen the Find feature.
The List feature will pull up a list of products you have looked at under the History tab and there is also a Shopping List tab with a list of foods you have added.
You can also add more products to your list from here and replace products already on your list by clicking the Edit button. Seriously, if I’m going to eat a toaster pastry, I want it to be chocolate flavored.
Back to the Main Menu. The Healthy Me feature gives you a mini history of your Fooducation.
Apparently other people look at healthier products than I do – but gimme a break, I did try to look at fat-free milk!
The Daily Tips feature is self-explanatory…but check it out, it might be my favorite part of the app.
Feedback, FAQ, and Settings are also pretty self-explanatory.
One of my favorite things about this app: it’s FREE!
There is also a Fooducate Plus app which costs $3.99 and is an ad-free version of the Fooducate app.
The Allergy Talk by Fooducate app costs $4.99 and includes sneaky allergen information. This could be helpful for people with allergies or those with Celiac disease.
One More Cool Tool
You can email your shopping list to Fooducate and they will give you healthy recommendations for each item on your list.
Simply email your shopping list to firstname.lastname@example.org, for example: 3 bananas, 6 bottles of water, etc. You’ll get an email reply with healthy recommendations for each item you specified.
- See above.
- You do need an iPhone or Android.
- It would be easier if there simply weren’t so many crazy ingredients in our foods.
What You Need to Know
Fooducate is a super ninja tool if you want help deciphering what is in your food.
- New: Allergy Talk by Fooducate (fooducate.com)