Best Nutrition Apps For Runners And Why We Should Use Them
We might joke and say we run to be able to eat all the pizza and drink all the beer we wish post-race, but we know it’s time to get serious about nutrition when really are serious about our running performance. We are lucky enough to live in a time where there is an app for everything, and that includes nutrition apps. Think about it. We use fitness tracking and running apps for our runs. So why not also use a nutrition app to monitor our diet, which is a key part of being healthy and performing well?
There are countless options in the app stores that help us count our calories. There are many that runners find to be the best for them based on their specific goals like weight loss, monitoring macros, keeping track to calories, or eating healthy when on-the-go.
Best Nutrition Apps For Runners
MyFitnessPal is among the most popular nutrition and food tracking apps out there. And for really good reasons. It’s easy to use. Simply add whatever food item consumed to see the breakdown of macros. It has a bank of over 5 million items in its database that makes adding meals a piece of cake.
MyFitnessPal syncs with many different running apps like MapMyRun to also factor in how many calories are burned. Users set their current weight and goal and the app provides the number of calories to be consumed each day. However, some experts say that this system isn’t the most accurate. Some runners need more calories because they need the fuel. This makes it better to use as a guide and not to follow so strictly.
Why use it?
Best For:Weight loss, food diary tracking
This nutrition app looks at the relationship to food differently than other food tracking apps that emphases on weight loss. Nourishly lets the runner keep a log of how hungry they feel before eating as well as after. Many runners feel famished post run, while others don’t but it is still important to replenish the body with nutrients or at least hydrate.
This app is more about mindful eating, which can help a runner figure out why they are feeling sluggish during certain runs after eating certain foods. This is done by recording feelings and then pinpointing the eating habits associated with feelings. Nourishly also provides users with specialized meal plans, which serve as a great way for those looking for healthy recipes or to have their meals planned so that they stick to their goals.
Why use it?
Best For: Tracking feelings and food cravings associate with poor eating habits.
Created by NY Times bestselling authors Henry Fong and Michelle Tam, this is the app brings healthy and delicious recipes right to the runner’s fingertips. These include Paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and Whole30-friendly recipes. All dishes are made without refined sugar, soy or gluten. Recipes are organized and easily searchable. The user views both a recipe card as well as step-by-step instructions with photos. The app is visually striking, is easy to navigate and is interactive. There are new recipes added all the time and user can save their favorite recipes. There is even an in-depth shopping guide with product review and links to ingredients and cooking tools.
Consider this the go-to app for those looking for meal inspiration ideas.
Why use it?
Best For: Those who need new recipes and those who follow specific diets like Paleo or who are gluten-free.
This is one of the best nutrition apps for counting macros and micros. It essentially allows the runner to make sure they are on track to getting their daily essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals per day. This serves as a great way to see where the runner is lacking in some areas, or if they are consuming too much of a specific vitamin or mineral. Runners can see how close they are to reaching their nutrient target for specific things like magnesium or iron for the day.
Cronometer also provides the typical information most nutrition apps reveal such as calories, allowing users to add their food for the day. It also can be used to track specialized diets like the keto diet. They can also add exercise and other biometrics.
Why use it?
Best For: Tracking macros; for runners who feel sluggish because of their nutrition; keto runners.
Fooducate is one of the most popular nutrition apps in general. It is all about educating users to make healthy decisions. The app does so by giving grades to foods so that the runner knows they are eating something healthy or something that is being masked as being healthy. Fooducate provides food suggestions for nutritious snacks, which is great to use for post-run.
While it does provide calorie counts, this app is more about teaching about looking at more than just calories. All nutritional information about a food is presented so that runners know the breakdown of their macros and what other vitamins and minerals they are getting.
Fooducate provides a personalized toolbox that includes the health tracker, food finder, recipes and a community for motivation.
Why use it?
Best For: Learning more about the quality of foods and their nutritional value.
Arguably one of the best parts about going on vacation or exploring a new city or town is checking out the food. But for runners who travel to different states for races, stopping at a McDonald’s along the way while traveling isn’t the best ideas. That’s where the app FoodTripping comes in handy.
This app finds healthy food alternatives as opposed to fast food locations based on location. This means finding a nutritious meal when on the highway or when looking for that post-race meal to celebrate the victory. Places recommended includes farmer markers, juice bars, microbreweries, and other restaurants that serve healthy and sustainable food.
Why use it?
Best For: Finding healthy food when on-the-go.
Benefits Of Keeping A Food Log
Every runner has different needs when it comes to their diet. Some have allergies or intolerances such as those to gluten or peanuts. Some runners need to focus on consuming more iron, whereas others carbs for their long distance runs. There are runners who strictly limit carbs and those who do not eat meat.
Aside from dietary restrictions that are a must or part of the runner’s lifestyle, it’s important that everyone including athletes consume a well-balanced diet with all the nutrients needed for the body to run. Think of food as fuel for a runner.
This is why it is important to keep a food log.
A food log or food diary has multiple benefits. It can help pinpoint certain negative reactions to foods and possible identify an allergy. It can help the runner become aware that they aren’t eating enough of something like protein or iron or too much of something like sugar or caffeine.
It’s a good way to remember which pre-race breakfast is the best, and what foods result in a better performance like eating a clean meal of salmon and veggies the night before a long run.
Keeping a food log is also one of the best things to do when it comes to weight loss. Writing everything down makes the runner think twice before reaching for the chips and keeps them committed to eating healthy.
The runner can manually enter in their food in a journal or choose one of the many nutrition apps out there. The benefit of nutrition apps is that in-depth information about the food such as its amount of protein, fat, sugars and carbs are provided.