Review: Nutrition Menu
Nutrition Menu, by Shroomies
$0.99 (on sale), ***1/2
- Very complete database
- Easy to search for items
- No assistance in determine daily nutritional values
- No splash screen summary of your remaining daily allowance
It’s that time of year again – holidays, gift giving, eating too much, New Year’s resolutions. With that in mind, I decided to review a couple of apps that may help with the most common New Year’s Resolution – losing weight. I took a look at a couple of apps (Tap & Track as well as Nutrition Menu) to see how they compare and how they will assist you in losing weight. Each is reviewed separately, letting you decide which you might want to use.
Nutrition Menu, as the name suggests, focuses on giving you a clear idea of what you are eating (nutrition wise). However, it goes beyond that, allowing the user to track weight loss, set goals for weight loss, and monitor nutritional levels as well. When first starting nutrition menu, you are presented with a screen to add foods to your daily log. If you want to set up a profile (weight goals, etc) you must go into settings first and adjust your food score settings, food allowance settings, etc.
This app doesn’t seemed to be aimed at the crowd trying to lose weight. It doesn’t guide you through the process, doesn’t make suggestions in terms of caloric intake, nor does it allow you to set goals (either an end weight or a rate of weight loss). Those are left up to you to decide, you simply put in the values (calories and other nutritional information) that you can eat per day.
Once you have set that up, you can enter foods eaten daily by tapping on the “food” button at the bottom. You can enter a custom food, search for a common food, search by brand name, or search restaurants. It had the common restaurants (Olive Garden and Jack in the Box) but was missing the regional Florida chain (RJ Gators). The data base also didn’t allow you to select serving size – it assumed you were eating one “defined” serving. Both the restaurant database and the other databases are very tightly organized into categories, meaning you don’t have to do a lot of typing to search (although you can type if you want). The two common food items (3 Musketeer bar and Lipton Cup-a-soup) were both listed, and in fact had more options for the Lipton than Tap and Track. The database is described as having over 92,000 food items.
Entering exercise was a similar process. Tap on the exercise button, search or choose the type of exercise, and it will convert the time into an amount of calories burned. It appeared as if there were a large number of exercises listed, so that database seems to be pretty robust. There was not overall “today’s status” screen to view. In order to see how you are doing, you need to enter the journal (which can be emailed) and it lists today’s summary of your nutritional information (including a pie chart of caloric breakdown, if you like).
All in all, this is a good app for tracking daily nutritional values, but seems to be less aimed at people trying to lose weight. You need to manually enter your daily allowances, and (while still pretty easy) it seemed a little more convoluted to enter daily food and exercise. The robust database includes almost every food type, however, and the journal view keeps track of all nutritional amounts. For people who are simply tracking the nutrition and maybe not specifically dieting, this app (currently on sale for $0.99) might just do the trick. Three and a half out of four stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.