A nutrition app helps you regain control of your figure – when losing weight and building muscle. Here are my five favorites for a balanced diet.
Do you know what is by far the most popular diet in the country? Three letters.
If you want to lose weight, do FDH. 1
Eat half. Feelings of deficiency and self-mortification are part of the program. No wonder almost everyone fails.
I felt the same way two decades ago. I only knew one way to lose weight: eat less.
With a lot of self-discipline, FDH even worked for a while. Until I was fed up and ate “normally” again. Result:
After a short weight loss episode, I soon got my old weight back.
Then I started strength training.
Why do you need a feedback system for your diet?
Strength training made things a lot easier. More muscle also meant more freedom for exceptions – without getting fatter. But I soon had another topic:
I didn’t get any more muscular.
At the same time, I was always afraid of gaining weight again. I exercised, tried to eat well – but I didn’t know if what I was doing was right.
It seemed like my body was following its own agenda.
A bodybuilder I knew asked me at the time: “How much protein do you eat a day?” “Enough,” I think. I managed just half of what is recommended for muscle gains.
I am not yet sure what I know today:
I just didn’t have a good feedback system.
Neither for strength training nor for nutrition. The only thing I tracked back then were my running sessions.
And now guess where I kept getting better? Yep, on the running track!
Then I started recording my diet.
Just like I had done with my running workouts for years. Suddenly I could see how my physique changed in a positive way.
I made sure to eat enough calories and enough protein.
This taught me a lot about nutrition. Soon I felt like a walking food dictionary. I found out which foods fed me even in a calorie deficit – and which didn’t.
So I was able to save calories without sacrificing enjoyment. Above all, I developed a new self-confidence about my body:
“ You are now in control of your changes. “
This is how I would put my knowledge into words. Whether I make progress or not is no longer a product of chance.
What is the magic of a nutrition app?
One thing first: a nutrition app is not a “must”.
A functioning feedback system does, however.
And that also works by hand.
By keeping a food diary, you take control of your physical change.
I also see the best progress in people who are careful not only when eating, but also when shopping:
Planning is a success factor in losing weight.
Those who fail in planning plan to fail. Incidentally, this also applies to muscle building.
The easiest way to do it is to plan your meals in advance as well as the grocery purchases in the supermarket.
Both – planning and feedback – also work with paper and pen. And I am glad that we are living in the digital age, because:
A nutrition app does most of the work for you.
Because I’m always asked about it, I’ve written down my planning and feedback process for you.
5 nutrition apps that I love – and why you will love them too
These are not the only way you can organize your diet, nor are they the only good apps.
This is just MY way.
I enjoy experimenting and optimizing and these are the tools that represent the current optimum of costs (or time investment) and benefits (looking good naked, if you want to).
1. Keeping a food diary – Yazio
Yazio (iOS, Android) is a digital food diary for tracking and analyzing your meals and drinking habits.
With a little practice, all meals are recorded in 1-3 minutes.
Yazio relieves you of a large part of the hard work.
For example, you can scan barcodes, save favorites, group foods together for meals and create your own recipes.
The app tries to recognize eating habits and automatically suggests what you eat regularly.
I only use the food diary, but Yazio’s PRO version also offers a number of other features such as recipes, nutrition tips and an active support community on Facebook.
The basic functions are free . It’s only really fun with the convenience functions. You need the PRO version for 39.99 euros a year .
Tip: ZEIT magazine has published a nice portrait of the company here.
What about MyFitnessPal, FDDB and Co?
MyFitnessPal and FDDB are among the most popular nutrition trackers, which unfortunately is becoming more and more of a problem. Because so many people use it, the grocery database is full of incorrect or incomplete user entries. At YAZIO, all staple foods are editorially entered and marked with a green tick – this means you know that you can trust the data.
2. Food lexicon – nutritional check
Nutritional value check (iOS only) is a food database for detail freaks.
How much vitamin D does avocado contain? How much DHA and EPA does salmon provide? Which foods are rich in magnesium? What’s the best vegan protein source?
Nutritional value check provides the answers at the push of a button.
Nutritional value check is something for advanced users who enjoy fine-tuning.
Beginners should first focus on the basics.
So calorie and protein intake, as well as the QUALITY of the food.
I use the app as a reference work in nutrition coaching and for article research. Nutritional check costs a one-time fee of 4.99 euros .
Tip: Before you get lost in (undoubtedly interesting) details, you should have a grip on the basics about a balanced diet. More on this in my book Looking Good Naked Power Kitchen.
3. Shop groceries online – Amazon Fresh
Amazon Fresh (iOS / Android) has been supplying households in Hamburg, Berlin, Potsdam and Munich with the selection of fresh food that you are used to from a full-range supermarket for several years.
I now buy most groceries online.
The advantage of ordering online is not just the time it saves.
You automatically start planning your meals.
You are less likely to make spontaneous purchases online – because you won’t get the groceries until 6-8 hours later at the earliest. For example, researchers observed that people buy 28% fewer calorie bombs online. 2
The quality of the food is mostly very good – apples, tomatoes and even soft fruits usually arrive without bruises. If something goes wrong, you will get the purchase amount refunded at the push of a button.
If you order by 10 p.m., you will receive your delivery the next day from 6 a.m. in a 2-hour time slot of your choice. If you are on the road, you can also leave the delivery at a “safe place” (e.g. garden shed). Frozen food stays frozen in the delivery boxes for at least one hour.
Amazon Fresh requires Prime membership, delivers free shipping from 40 euros (otherwise: 5.99 euros shipping). The first month is free, after that the service costs 9.99 euros per month for an unlimited number of deliveries.
Alternatives: Allyouneed Fresh, MyTime.de, PicNic and REWE also deliver to other cities and regions. More tips on grocery shopping – also offline – in this article.
4. Plan purchases – bring!
Bring! (iOS / Android) helps you plan your offline purchases.
It’s a digital shopping list.
The highlight is that you can share and edit all lists with your significant other or roommates.
This reduces the coordination effort in families and shared apartments.
You can quickly find frequent purchases and click them together in no time.
Bring! is free .
The development team from Switzerland finances the app through a catalog of special offers and an online shopping function. In fairness, both are stored separately: You can, but don’t have to use it.
Tip: Here is my shopping list of healthy foods for lean and strong people.
5. Establish habits – streaks
Streaks (iOS only) helps you to develop good habits and anchor them in such a way that you soon stop thinking about them.
On average, you need 2-3 months to anchor positive behavior so deeply in the subconscious that it becomes a good habit. 3
Streaks simply but effectively implements the Seinfeld method.
You can choose up to 12 tasks that you want to turn into habits. For example, keeping a food diary, consuming creatine or eating at least 50% vegetables for 9 out of 10 meals.
Of course, you can also use the app for training, as a runner for streak running, for example.
When I establish a new habit (or want to reactivate an earlier one), Streak helps me in the first few months until the automatism works. Then I can remove the task from the list.
Streaks costs a one-time fee of 5.49 euros .
Android alternative: HabitBull offers the same functionality and has also been released for Android. The app is free for up to 5 habits. If you want more, you pay 20 euros / year.
Offline alternative: Oldie but Goldie – don’t break the chain. You can find the method and a worksheet to print out here.
Technical miracle or not: No nutrition app can relieve you of ACTING, planning and developing awareness of your eating habits.
But they can do a lot of hard work for you.
If I had to choose one of the apps mentioned, it would be the food diary.
Because tracking, writing down and analyzing meals WITHOUT technical aids is probably only the right thing for you if you enjoy preparing your tax return.
In other words: With an app like YAZIO, keeping a food diary is quick and easy, like brushing your teeth in the morning.
I usually use the other apps several times a week (Amazon Fresh, Streaks) or when necessary (Bring!, nutritional check).