Nope, not cool appetizers. We’re talking about the most helpful, time-saving and useful downloadable phone applications (apps) for smartphones such as the Blackberry and iPhone. All of these foodie apps are available online at the Blackberry App store, the Apple App store, Android Market and/or the iTunes store.
CSPI Chemical Cuisine Database
What is it?: The Centre for Science in the Public Interest’s (CSPI) safety ratings of food additives
Why it’s cool: If you’ve ever wondered about the safety of certain food additives, this app is right for you. Most additives are safe, but CSPI scientists have flagged ones that everybody should avoid or cut back on, such as caramel colouring, saccharin and aspartame. The app has information on over 130 food additives with detailed entries and expert evaluation for each.
Advantages: Very easy to use. Each entry is detailed and well-researched, and the information comes from CSPI, a reliable source.
Disadvantages: Limited to just 130 food additives – once more additives are added, the app will be more complete.
Allrecipes Dinner Spinner
What is it?: Thousands of recipe ideas for all of your meal and snack needs
Why it’s cool: If you are constantly looking for a source of inspiration for new recipes (for work or home use!), this app is right for you. Dinner Spinner takes the valuable recipe information from the popular AllRecipes website and puts it in your phone. The app contains ingredients, cooking directions, nutritional information and ratings/reviews for thousands of recipes. It also lets you create, save and share shopping lists and view pictures of each recipe.
Advantages: This app has one of the largest recipe databases on the Internet, so you’ll always find something new. It’s easy to search and you can browse by ingredient, recipe or nutrition information. The recipe displays are quick to read and well-formatted – just prop your phone up on the counter and start cooking!
Disadvantages: With so many recipes, it may be hard to narrow it down – too much choice!
Livestrong Calorie Tracker
What is it?: Food database, nutrient calculator, food diary and calorie counter
Why it’s cool: If you often need to find the calorie count or fat content of a specific food, this app is right for you. The app has complete nutrition information for over 525,000 items. It lets you keep a digital diary of daily calorie, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, sugar, fibre and protein intake. You can also find and track the amount of calories that can be burned via exercise and activity.
Advantages: The database offers more than 525,000 food and restaurant items. Most competing products have only about 7,000 foods in their database.
Disadvantages: The app doesn’t have enough of a range of portion sizes to choose from, and you can’t add your own foods or recipes.