The best sites for the heart-healthy diet

Terese Scollard MBA, RD, LD
Regional clinical nutrition manager
Providence Health & Services-Oregon

Published February 2012

The digital marketplace now offers an abundance of health and diet management tools, from websites to monitor your weight to smart phone apps that allow you to take a picture of your food and get an instant calorie count.

For people with health conditions influenced by diet, here are some of the best sites we've found. They don't cover everything, so your partner in nutrition is a Providence outpatient dietitian.

Healthful eating recipes

The Well-Fed Heart. This is an excellent resource for information, practical health tips, fabulous pictures and delicious, fully tested recipes. Some of these are included in Providence's 2012 Northwest Guide to Heart-Healthy Living. All info is compatible with portable devices.


Weight management

Lose It! This calorie and nutrient counter has a large database with customizable options. You can add food items, set up a calorie budget, and track your weight and exercise. Easy-to-read bar charts help you monitor your weekly progress, and you can receive emailed summary reports to share with friends who are supporting you.


Sodium

Sodium One. If your doctor has advised you to manage your sodium and fluid intake, this app helps you stay within your daily sodium budget and make sure you're drinking enough, but not too much, water for your medical condition. It offers a calorie counter and details on cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fats. You can chart your progress and check out foods by brand and restaurant.


Blood sugar monitoring

Glucose Buddy. If you're testing your blood sugar on your own or under a physician's direction, this app helps you track your glucose by time of day, and it charts averages and overall patterns. You can email reports to yourself or others to help better manage your blood glucose. The more complex version tracks hemoglobin A1c, medications and blood pressure readings. Or for a simpler and less-expensive app, try Glucose Tracker.

Menu planning

Fooducate. This free app lets you scan or manually enter UPC bar codes. You can find out what's in the food and its "grade" for healthfulness. The expanded version offers more than 200,000 unique UPC codes.


Restaurant nutritional counts

You may make different menu choices when you see the calories and sodium in many of these foods. Restaurant Nutrition lets you easily see nutritional information about restaurant menus and track what you've eaten. It can also synchronize your personal meal entries with an online site.Another good website that works on mobile devices is CalorieKing, which includes an extensive nutritional database of brand foods and restaurants.



Finally, Meal Snap lets you take pictures of your food, and auto-magically get back calorie information. It is a lot of fun at dinner out!