When you’re on the hunt for healthy food, supermarkets can be difficult to navigate. There are so many types of products (cereals, snacks, frozen food—oh my!), and within each category of products, so many choices. Comparing the nutrition labels to see which foods seem healthier can be time-consuming—it’s tough to quickly understand which products to choose. Luckily, Fooducate —an app that can help make it easier to pick healthier options for you and your family—is here to help.
How it works
Fooducate automatically grades foods and beverages on a scale from A to D based on their intrinsic nutritional value. There are 10 distinct grades: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, and D. Fooducate’s algorithm, which determines these grades, is based on the nutrition information printed on a product’s package—the nutrition facts panel and the ingredient list. The algorithm grades minimally processed, nutrient-dense foods higher, and processed foods that are poor in built-in nutrients get lower grades.
Fooducate is available for free on iPhone and Android phones. Download and launch the app the next time you are in a supermarket. There is a feature that allows you to scan food barcodes right off the shelf. The app will load the product’s nutrition information and provide a product grade. It will also highlight positive and negative facts about the product, such as the amount of fiber and sugar per serving. There is also an option to see alternative products similar to the one that you scanned that are healthier choices. This allows you to see if products with a higher nutrition rating are available at the store. While Fooducate also has food and exercise tracking functionality, the food comparison/letter grading system is what sets this app apart from the others.
Pros: The barcode feature works really well and is convenient to use while shopping. The app highlights key facts about the product, and you can dig even further and read additional product details such as its health benefits or risks.
Cons: If you have specific dietary goals or restrictions (i.e. high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.) and want the app to provide personalized information specific to your goals, you’ll have to pay for a premium version. The Pro version costs $4.99 for three months or $14.99 for the full year. There is also a version that can help those with food allergies and intolerances; the gluten and allergies version is $4.99 for three months and $12.99 for a full year.
Overall consensus: It can be time-consuming and even a bit confusing to tackle interpreting food labels on your own. Fooducate is a handy tool to use at the supermarket to help you make informed choices, better understand the ingredients in your foods, and encourage you to choose healthier options. Give it a try next time you’re grocery shopping!
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for assistance with finding the right wellness resources for you!