9 Great Health Apps

Everybody can use a little extra support when it comes to tackling their health and fitness goals, and if you’re like most people, your phone is never far from reach. Why not turn your phone into your fitness buddy? We talked with a professional trainer and a health coach, and then we checked in with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to find out which apps they love.

Diet Apps

1. MyFitnessPal. "I recommend MyFitnessPal for keeping a food journal [click on the Food link on the site’s home page], and I use it personally. It’s a great tool," says professional fitness trainer and New York-based Chitta Wellness founder Roma van der Walt. The free app includes a calorie counter, fitness tracker, and food journal that’s helped millions reach their goals by providing accurate nutrition information and calorie counts for common foods, calories burned for all types of exercise, and an online community of people all working towards the same goals.

MyFitnessPal’s calorie counter includes nutritional information for over five million foods. It also offers the option of dictating your food choices through your phone’s voice recorder, which got a favorable review from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The Academy of Nutritionists and Dietetics—an organization of food and nutrition professionals—doesn’t actually endorse any products or apps, but it does post reviews of popular apps on its website. QualityHealth checked the reviews out, and recommends the following:

2. Weight Watchers Mobile. This app helps users join an online community support group, follow Weight Watchers’ step-by-step plan, find local meetings, and more.

3. Gluten Free Daily. This app offers information and resources for people with gluten intolerance, celiac disease, and those just looking for help with weight loss, wellness, and fitness.

Fitness Apps

To track data while running or walking, van der Walt uses either the Nike+ app or MapMyRun. "These apps are great because they’ll monitor how far you walk, even when [you’re] pushing a stroller," she says. New moms take note: "Regular activity trackers worn around the wrist don’t do that because they don’t recognize motion if your hand is on the stroller handle."

4. Nike+. This app advertises itself as "your personal trainer—anytime, anywhere, to help you track your progress, stay motivated and train better." It tracks your runs, links users with a community and helps you choose and achieve personal goals.

5. MapMyRun. This popular app has over 70 million pre-mapped running routes users can choose from when running in new cities; it can also help you create your own route. In addition, MapMy Run keeps track of all your fitness activities, and offers a food log and ways to connect and share information with friends.

6. C25K. "I am a big fan of C25K. It really is a great tool that can teach anybody to run," says Rachell Pastiloff, a certified health coach in Atlanta. C25K (or couch to 5K) is a free app designed for first time runners. It coaches newbies from their first steps on the track to a 5K race with 8-week training plans that combine walking and running. (Pastiloff also likes MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun.)

7. Instant Heart Rate. "I’ve also used the heart rate app by Azumio for checking my resting heart rate in the morning, which is useful for assessing overall health," says van der Walt. "It’s a little harder to convince people to do that, but it’s a fun app that records your pulse by placing your index finger on the camera of your iPhone." (Like most of the apps listed here, Instant Heart Rate can also be downloaded to Android phones; find it on Google play as well as in the iTunes App Store.)

8. Charity Miles. For fitness buffs looking to make a difference, the Charity Miles app lets you choose among dozens of charities to support while you exercise. It logs your distances and then makes a donation of 25 cents to your charity of choice for every mile you run or walk, and ten cents for every mile you bike. Since you’re already improving your health by walking, jogging, or training, why not save the world while you’re at it?

Lifestyle Apps

9. Gratitude Journal. Pastiloff’s favorite health app is not actually a food or fitness tracker. "I really like the Gratitude Journal by Happy Tapper," Pastiloff says. "I think one key component to great health is a sense of wellbeing. This is a great app to help us acknowledge the good in our daily lives.” Gratitude Journal encourages users to track five things they’re grateful for each day as a way to “change your thoughts and change your life." When using the app, be sure to include all the good work you’ve tracked with the other apps listed here!

Roma van der Walt reviewed this article.


"Chitta Wellness." Chitta Wellness. Interview with Roma van der Walt April 8, 2015.

"Manifesting Mom Rachel Pastiloff." Manifesting Mom. Interview with Rachel Pastiloff April 8, 2015.

"MyFitnessPal." MyFitnessPal. Page accessed April 14, 2015.

"App Reviews." Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Page accessed April 8, 2015.

"About Us." Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Page accessed April 21, 2015.

"Weight Watchers Mobile." Weight Watchers. Page accessed April 21, 2015.

"Gluten Free Daily." Gluten Free Daily. Page accessed April 21, 2015.

"Nike+." Nike. Page accessed April 21, 2015.

"MapMyRun." MapMyFitness. Page accessed April 21, 2015.

"C25K." C25K/Zen Labs. Page accessed April 21, 2015.

"Azumio." Azumio. Page accessed April 21, 2015.

"Charity Miles." Charity Miles. Page accessed April 21, 2015.

"Gratitude!" Gratitude. Site accessed April 21, 2015.