Monday, November 9, 2009

Help for the Boomer Body--FoodScanner app

I recently heard about an Apple iPhone app that is a perfect fit for those boomers who want to lose weight or follow a healthy diet.  A lot of experts believe that tracking calories --writing down everything you eat-- is the best way to keep on a diet or even maintain preferred weight.

FoodScanner is an application that works with the iPhone camera to scan bar codes of foods in your pantry at home or packages at the supermarket. The amazing thing is that it is so easy to use --just point and shoot! You can use the app to figure the number of calories you've had for your meal, or maybe to decide if you'll buy a product that may be too many calories when it comes down to it. Of course, you have to be honest and report the correct number of servings! No fair saying you had one, when really you had two!

Before I downloaded the $1.99 ($3.20 including tax) app,  I thought long and hard about giving Apple and the folks at The Daily Burn my money. But I looked at reviews for FoodScanner and they were universally good. So I thought I'd give it a try. First I watched this demo video provided by the people who made the app. I want to congratulate them for a lucid video that showed me exactly how scan the packaging. After that,  I went over to my pantry and pulled out a box of angel hair pasta, opened the icon, pressed a little button that looked like a lightening bolt, and aimed my camera at the bar code.  As soon as I got the bar code within the limits on the application, the phone automatically took a picture of the code and converted it into this piece of information:
Then I was given the option to input how many servings I had of this item.

I selected two servings and hit the Next button. There I found this:

Pressing the little  arrow icon brought a screen that showed all the nutritional information for the package.

Maybe I'm easily impressed, but this little program will probably be very useful in my life. No, it doesn't factor in all of the fiber in this product, so you won't be able to use it to count points for programs like Weight Watchers. However, it should be a very good addition for those Boomers who want to know our calorie counts.


Greg Katz said...

Very cool. Looks like it's worth the money. I'm curious, has it been able to detect everything you've thrown at it?

Esther Surden said...

Good question. I took it for a run at the grocery store and it seems to have some trouble with bar codes that are on curved surfaces like cans, but you can find the information using an alternative method: typing in the name of the product. It's just not as fun.