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free wellness apps

 

When you start to eat well, it can feel like a time drain at first! To help out, consider all of the resources available to you. Not everyone prefers apps or tech-based toys but for those who do, they can be time game-changers. While many websites and apps (hellooooo social media…) tend to waste time, strategic use of time-saving apps can actually help make wellness easier and more streamlined. For the tech-lovers out there, here are 5 of the best healthy eating apps for your Apple or Android device. All of them are free except one, and it’s only $1.99.

 

1. Zipongo (free on the App Store and Google Play)

recipe app

Best for: easy-to-use recipe app (and some meal planning)
How it works: Set up your dietary preferences and allergies, then peruse the vast recipe database, divided into a variety of categories (including low-calorie, in season, and 15 minutes or less, among many others). From there you can select your favorites and add recipes and their ingredients to a shopping list (divided by grocery department).
Pros: The app boasts many healthy recipes and the categories make them easy to search through. It’s convenient to add the ingredients to your grocery list, and the divided list saves time wandering in the grocery store.
Cons: There is not an easy way to create a digital meal plan from the recipes you choose.

 

2. Pepperplate (free on the App store, Microsoft store, Google Play, and Amazon, available as a full website)

meal planning app

 

Best for: meal planning (and a self-created recipe database)
How it works: Create a recipe database from your personal recipes (entered manually) and imported recipes from over 30 different recipe websites including All Recipes and Eating Well. Add recipes to a meal plan and then to a shopping list (divided by grocery department).
Pros: Meal planning and creating your shopping list is very easy to do, and again, love the divided grocery list.
Cons: Requires a time investment to set up at first, but only until you have a good database built up.

 



 

3. Fooducate (free on the App store and Google play, available as a full website)

 

 

Best for: choosing healthful foods
How it works: Use the “Food Finder” section to scan a barcode or search for a product and see it’s “grade” based on an A through D grading system. The app also provides an explanation for the grade and tips or alternatives to improve nutrition. The app also has recipes, a food/health tracker, and a “diet tidbits” section.
Pros: I love that it includes the explanation behind the grades, so you can know whether or not a new food or product is something you want to include. For the most part I agree with the explanations and they are backed by evidence.
Cons: The food tracker is not the easiest to use and I preferred to ignore that part of the app. Also, don’t allow “bad grades” to label a food “off limits” if you really love it. Just eat it less often and/or in smaller portions!

 

4. Harvest – Select the Best Produce ($1.99 on the App store)

Best for: tips for produce selection and storage
How it works: Enter your state and get a list of produce that are in season and information on how to properly select, store, and use them. The app also gives information on the typical pesticide levels found in each type of produce.
Pros: Great way to expand your repertoire of fruits and vegetables, and the pesticide content info helps prioritize organic purchases to save money.
Cons: Unfortunately, this app is only available for Apple devices. Some users found the information on produce seasons in their area to be inaccurate.

 



 

5. Plant Nanny (free on the App store, Microsoft store, and Google Play)

free hydration app

 

Best for: promoting hydration
How it works: Enter your weight and choose a cute little baby plant (and a flower pot). The app tells you how much fluid to drink each day (count anything that doesn’t have alcohol or added sugars in it!). As you drink, you water your plant. As you water your plant, it grows. Once it’s grown up, place it in your garden and plant another! If you don’t drink enough one day, your plant will be wilted the next, and if you underhydrate for two days, your plant will be dying on the third. Drink enough on the third day or your plant dies!

 

Ironic, isn’t it, that it took this app to get me, a dietitian, to drink enough water in order to keep my animated plant alive (as opposed to keeping my actual real body healthy)?
Pros: For the right personality, it’s delightfully cheesy and motivates you to hydrate. The plants are cute and there are several to choose from. Watering your plant is easy and not time-consuming.
Cons: Since the app only uses weight to estimate hydration needs, it overestimates if you have a higher BMI. If your BMI is over 30, find a “normal” weight for your height, add about 25 lbs, and use that as your weight in the app for accurate recommendations.

 



Archives

quick and easy health tips for busy moms

 

For the next article in my series on Eating Well in Less Time, I’m sharing a guest post with you from Scott Reid at Focus Performance. Scott is helping out today with a list of health hacks (related to both nutrition and fitness) for busy moms. Enjoy!

 

Busy moms are often running around after children, working, running the household and trying to do 15 things at once – which can mean the person they need to look after the most is often the last one to get any attention – the mom herself.

Moms are notorious for putting themselves last, but if a mom is not in tip top condition herself she won’t be able to look after everyone and everything else which she has on her to do list. That’s why we have compiled a list of health hacks which busy moms can do as part of their daily routine to stay healthy.

You can also check out these motivation tips related to fitness from Focus Performance.

 



Adapt your routine

 

If you used to work out every morning before heading out to work, but are now tied up getting children up and dressed and heading out for school before your workday starts, then don’t just give up on your work-outs.

Try moving your routine around to adapt to your new situation. Make time to work-out in the evenings instead, or if you have help at home then assign 2-3 mornings where you don’t have the child responsibility and can work-out instead.

 

Try new exercise programs

 

If you used to go out running for hours every evening to keep fit but can’t do this post-baby, try some different types of exercise programs instead. Perhaps join a gym which has a day care so you can take your children with you, or invest in a jogging stroller and take your baby out while you jog.

It might be that you can go to a mom and baby yoga class or even try exercise DVDs at home instead of what you used to do. It’s all about adapting to fit your work-outs in with your new lifestyle rather than just giving up and not bothering at all.

 



 

Walk more whenever you can

 

Walking every day can really make a difference to your waistline, without costing a penny. If you have a young baby, walk out with the stroller, or walk them over to day care instead of driving. If you are at work, try walking out at lunch time and you really will see the difference.

 

Join local mom fitness groups

 

Check out local fitness groups aimed at or run by moms where there will be day care facilities or stroller options available. It’s a great way to improve your health while also adding to you and your child’s social life and fun as well.

 

Batch cook healthy meals for the freezer

 

Try planning your time so that you have space on the weekend to batch cook healthy meals which can then be frozen, ready for the week ahead. Perhaps on a Sunday evening while the children are asleep, try batch cooking things like chilis, curries, sauces and burger mixes which can be frozen and then microwaved in the week.

 



 

Make your health a priority

 

Don’t make excuses not to do the healthy food cooking or to skip your exercise routine. Make your health a priority and never feel guilty for putting yourself first when you need to. A healthy mom, leading by example, leads to healthy happy children and families.

 

Do family fun days for exercise

 

Family fun days like going out cycling, swimming or even a day in the park playing baseball, is great fun and gets everyone exercising together. If everyone joins in it can become a real family effort and make being healthy and exercising just part of what the family does for fun, rather than being seen as a chore.

 

Get your shopping delivered

 

Save time by getting your shopping delivered rather than having the stress of dragging your young children screaming around the shops. It also gives you control over your cart with no temptation for impulse purchases or bargains – you can select only health options to add into your basket and keep the food shopping under control.

 



 

Be kind to yourself

 

Take it easy and be kind to yourself – when you have a lot to juggle and deal with as a new mom it can be quite daunting to be careful, listen to your body and just ease yourself into the new health routine. Don’t rush and don’t try to do too much too soon.

 

Don’t be too goal-focused

 

Trying to stay healthy as a mom is a challenge in itself, so don’t set yourself weight loss or inch loss goals for this type of program. Just aim to complete your exercise regimen and keep up the healthy eating so you are looking after yourself and being a good example.

Being a busy mom and keeping healthy can go hand in hand as long as you are willing to adapt your routine to fit your new circumstances. Be kind to yourself and don’t try to take on a hugely ambitious fitness challenge – but with these hacks you will be on your way to staying healthy.

 

Scott is a sports and fitness writer and writes full time for Focus Performance. When not in front of his computer or spending time in the gym you can see him hanging out in his favorite coffee shop devouring the latest Stephen King novel. 

 

Related Posts

 

How to Meal Plan to Save Time and Money (with FREE printable meal planning template)

Streamline Your Healthy Life in Just 20 Minutes per Week

One Tip and One Product to Make Living Well Quicker and Easier

 

 



Eating Well in Less Time Wellness Tips

 

Have you ever watched a cooking show where they try to pass a delicious healthy recipe off as a “20-minute meal”? You get all excited, ready to take notes and make this healthy kitchen masterpiece a reality, until you notice that as they are cooking, somehow all of their vegetables are already magically diced, their meats trimmed and cut, and their herbs and spices pre-measured? And then – big surprise! – the whole dish is done in 20 minutes or less! All they had to do was dump this, brown that, stir this in, and the whole creation was complete.

If you’ve had this experience and you’re anything like me you feel lied to. This was not a 20-minute meal. This was a 20-minute meal preceded by 10-15 minutes of peeling, chopping, dicing, and measuring which, again, if you’re anything like me, is the least enjoyable part of cooking.

Many of my clients struggle with this – they buy fresh veggies with perfect intentions of using them. But after a long day the thought of all that prep before they even get to cooking sends them, defeated, to that bag of freezer ravioli (or the corner fast food joint) and their produce one day closer to the garbage.

 



 

So how can we bridge this gap? We want our food to be healthy, and we need it to be quick and easy. Can we have both?

My answer is pretty much, yes. I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s not going to take any time and I certainly can’t hire a magic kitchen for you like the Food Network hosts have, but I can share the trick that has helped make healthful cooking SO MUCH FASTER for me.

That “trick” is food prep. Food prep is different than meal prep, where you actually cook and portion out individual meals in ready-to-go containers. If you have sufficient time and don’t mind eating the same meal for a few meals, meal prep is a great option! If you like a little more variety or can’t spare an hour or more for meal prep each week, give food prep a try!

 



 

Basically, you are your own magic kitchen. When you bring your groceries home, set all your produce (and your meats, if you really want to go for the gold!) on the counter. Put everything else away.

Now you get out your cutting board and knives (once!), and some containers. Chop, slice, and dice your little heart out. It usually takes 10-20 minutes, depending on how many veggies are in the recipes you’re using that week. Put them in containers based on the recipe they’re for. If we are having burgers, I slice tomatoes and onions, lay out lettuce, and put a handful of sliced mushrooms on a plate. If we’re having stew, I cube potatoes, chop onions, and slice carrots and seal them in a container. Then you clean up your cutting boards and knives (once!) and you’re done chopping for the week.

Note: Make sure that if you trim and cut raw meats, you prep them after you’re done with all your produce and that you store them in separate containers if they are uncooked!

Aren’t they pretty?

Now, when it’s time to cook, you can pull your container out of the fridge, dump this, brown that, stir this in, and your healthful meal is ready to go – just like the cooking pros!

For a demonstration of food prep and a recommendation for one of my favorite food prep kitchen tools, click here!

Have you ever tried food prep? Do you like it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments!

 



 

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How to Meal Plan to Save Time and Money (with FREE printable meal planning template)

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Ready to Get Healthy? 5 Simple Steps to Set Yourself up for Success

 



Eating Well in Less Time Wellness Tips

quick and easy meal planning tips for beginners

 

I can’t even count how many of my clients come in asking me how to meal plan. Whether you’re on a tight budget or a tight schedule, making a meal plan can be a great way to simplify a healthy lifestyle. For beginners though, meal planning can feel like a daunting task that takes more time than it saves. It can seem overwhelming at first, but some simple steps can streamline the process and make it much easier. Not to mention that meal planning is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets! After you have a dozen meal plans under your belt, you’ll be whipping them out in minutes and saving yourself tons of time (not to mention moolah!).

 

1. Decide which meals will be planned

 

Meal planning doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Some people plan three meals a day plus snacks, while others find it works best for them to plan dinners and buy a variety of breakfast/lunch/snack ingredients. Choose what will work best for you. One mistake many newbie meal planners make? Forgetting about leftovers. If you have leftovers from Monday’s dinner but every meal is planned for the week, you’re increasing the likelihood of food waste. One easy solution is to implement a “use it up” day. At my house, we do “Whatever Wednesday” and “Scrounge-it Sunday.” This gives you a day (or two!) off from cooking and a chance to clean out the fridge and prevent food waste (saving time and money)! Planning these days into your meal plan can simplify the process and make it more practical.

 



 

2. Choose a “jumping point” (or three)

 

This is where a lot of folks get stuck – where do I even begin to come up with meal ideas? It’s important to consider what’s going on in your life to make sure that you set yourself up for success. Check out these “jumping points” to help you tailor your meal plan and give you a little inspiration.

  • Your schedule – Look at your week. Got a full Wednesday with a late meeting and your kid’s recital? Make a note on that day on your meal plan and choose a slow cooker meal or something you can prep ahead of time (or better yet, leftovers from Tuesday’s dinner!). Work with your schedule, not against it.
  • Your budget – Sales are a great place to start! Find the weekly ad for your grocery store online and list the deals. Use a search-by-ingredient database to turn these cheap eats into healthful meals. A couple of my favorites are the Food Hub by the American Diabetes Association and Healthy for Good by the American Heart Association. Plug in the ingredients that are on sale that week (Pork loin? Brussels sprouts? Shrimp?) and find healthful recipes to make with them.
  • Vary your proteins – If you eat all things meat, choose one meal each of skinless poultry, lean pork, lean beef, and meatless, two of fish, and one wild card. Vegetarian? Rotate between beans, tofu, meat alternatives, tempeh, and/or seitan.

 

3. Select your meals

 

Select your recipes – family favorites or newbies – and list them out. If you’re more of a Type-A planner, assign them to a day so you’ll know exactly when you’ll make them. If you’re more a flexible, type B, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type (or you just like having the flexibility to choose what you feel like eating each night) choose however many meals you will need for the week and take your pick day by day.

 

Free printable meal plan worksheet with shopping listFree printable meal plan worksheet with shopping list

 

Use this FREE printable meal planning template to help you out.

 

4. Make a shopping list

 

As you go, add any ingredients that you don’t already have to your shopping list. Tack on any staples or household essentials (don’t forget the TP!). Want to save wandering time in the store? Divide your list into 4 sections: fridge/freezer, aisles, produce, and household/other. Pick up items from each section before moving on to the next.

 



5. Shop!

 

Now you have a meal plan for the week and a shopping list to get you there. Planning your meals will help you save time and money not only at the store but throughout the week, since you will already know what you’ll be making and you will have all the ingredients you’ll need (and not ingredients that you won’t)!

 

6. Optional: Consider food prep

 

Less work than meal prep (where you cook and portion all your meals ahead of time), food prep takes only 20-30 minutes per week and makes cooking much quicker and more fun. Ever seen the TV cooking shows where all the hosts have to do is dump in all their prepped ingredients and cook? It’s pretty great and you can cook that way too! Check out this video for a tutorial on food prep. If you choose to incorporate food prep, make a quick list with your meal plan so you remember which food prep steps you plan to do.

 

Go forth and plan! And remember, any new change is going to be baby-deer status at the start: wobbly, awkward, and unsure. That’s normal! It will feel awkward and the first few times might take a while. Keep trying! You might find that certain parts of meal planning make sense for your life while others may not. You might find that a different approach or method works better than these or than methods that worked well at other times of your life. My process is constantly evolving as my life changes or as I find bigger and better ideas! Just be sure not to give up on meal planning until you’ve given it the old school try and had a chance to find your rhythm.

 

Good luck and let me know if you have any great meal planning tips to share!

 



 

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Eating Well in Less Time

…and the healthy lifestyle I’m going to feature next is…

 

 

Thank you for voting! It looks like you’re all lookin’ to live healthy lives on tight schedules. I hear ya! Stay tuned, because I’ll be dropping tips for saving time over the next few weeks!

Eating Well in Less Time

It’s time to start another feature, and this time I’m adding a new category of features: healthy lifestyles!

 

 

This category includes tips and advice on living well within different lifestyle factors: kids, tight budgets, tight schedules, picky eaters, you name it! So now is the time to vote. Which factor should I feature to help make your healthy life easier?

 



Eating Well on a Budget

We’ll talk about every trick in the book for making a healthful lifestyle as cheap as possible. It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive and often it’s actually cheaper than buying “cheap” junk food! I’ve been playing around with cutting our food budget while keeping it healthy for years, and I can tell you it’s possible to eat well on a tight budget (and I can show you how)!

 

Eating Well in Less Time

We are all busy! A tight schedule can leave little margin in our day (not to mention our energy) for keeping up healthy habits. Let me help you find healthy habits to streamline your life and make healthy work for your mind as well as your body.

 

 

Eating Well and Reducing Waste

For most American households, the vast majority of our trash bins are full of food waste and plastic food containers. A few easy swaps can significantly reduce the amount of food-related garbage in our landfills and be healthy for the planet as well as for you.

 

Vote in the poll below to let me know which feature is most helpful for you!

 

 

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Healthy Lifestyles

Salmon and red potato hash with dijon aioli

 

This delicious dish is a copycat of a breakfast from a favorite restaurant of ours – the Ironwork Grill at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon. The original is made with a dill sauce but I always swap it for this dijon aioli, and I’ve never been disappointed!

The salmon, veggies, and potatoes make this a complete, protein- and potassium-laden anti-inflammatory power meal. Plus, it is so, so tasty and very easy to make!

 



Salmon and Red Potato Hash with Dijon Aioli

This dish is a complete dinner - it's loaded with omega-3, antioxidants, and other anti-inflammatory power punches. It's also very easy to make!

Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Salmon and Vegetables

  • 4 fillets salmon
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 10 spears asparagus, cut into 2" lengths
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black ground pepper

Dijon Aioli

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

  2. Place fillets skin-side down in a greased 9 x 13" baking pan. Surround with vegetables.

  3. Drizzle with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until thickest part of salmon measures 145 degrees.

  5. While salmon is baking, whisk together mayonnaise and dijon mustard.

  6. Serve salmon with aioli spread on top.

Recipe Notes

Each portion contains 499 calories, 29 g carbohydrate, 32 g protein, 3 g saturated fat, and 458 mg sodium.



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