How one woman’s stubborn decision to live a healthy lifestyle instead of taking pills led to the development of Careot – a free food, calorie and nutrition tracker app with some very cool features.

When my doctor told me my cholesterol was high I knew I could do better with my nutrition and wanted to work on my eating habits before taking costly medications. I had also heard from friends how improved nutrition had remarkably improved their health and helped them recover from serious illnesses.

I started eating healthier food items, such as fruits and vegetables, cereal, turkey and less red meats. In addition to changing my diet I also started paying more attention to living an active lifestyle, such as taking more walks with my dogs, going to the gym, and canoeing. I find going out and enjoying the outdoors is also a lot more fun than staying indoors and taking a pill just to lower my cholesterol.

But, like everyone else it is hard to change habits. Most people chose the easy way of popping in a pill instead of eating right and exercising. I realized that there are several benefits to changing my eating habits and lifestyle. To begin with it’s not just about lowering my cholesterol but also making sure I am eating food with the correct nutritional value. Choosing the right diet can be a lot trickier that I ever imagined. Some diets that were supposed to bring down the bad LDL cholesterol also lowered the good HDL and increased triglycerides, which can be quite dangerous. Also the diets that keep HDL from falling also did not lower the LDL level too much. You have to also watch the saturated and trans fatty acids. There are so many diet options that I had to not only keep track of the calories but also know the nutritional value of the food items for each meal.

I soon realized that tracking all my meals, food items and nutritional values every day was not going to be easy. Having a handy app with you on your phone makes it easier.  I wanted to have an app that could track many nutritional factors and give the user graphical feedback so they can quickly see their progress.  I tried to include as many features as is possible on a phone app to make journaling and trending your food easy and fun. Comparing to friends can also be a big motivator.  The goal is to make the user more aware of the nutritional value of the food they eat and give them feedback to help them achieve their goals.

The Careot App makes it easy and fun to record and analyze the calories and nutritional values consumed from all your meals, snacks and drinks, even when you have a busy schedule. Here are some cool features you should try out:

  • Take a picture of your meal so you can enter the food journal entries at a later time or share with your friends on Facebook.
  • Use the social media section of Careot to motivate your friends, stick with your diet plans, and learn new recipes or to celebrate your accomplishments.
  • Use the GPS Locator to save the location of a healthy meal you ate at your favorite restaurant so you can get a reminder to eat the same meal when you revisit that same location.
  • Use the graphs on the dashboard to easily track the nutrient values you have selected to review and analyze over a time period.

I hope you have fun using Careot – your free food journal and calorie tracker app that makes it easy to enter your meal journal entries, track your calories and graph nutritional values to help meet your diet goals.

Best wishes,

Ruth

6 Steps to use a calorie tracker effectively

To diet and lose weight it is important to know the amount of calories you eat. You cannot simply estimate the amount of calories in a meal, you have to identify the food items and track the exact amount of calories each food item contains. We recommend using a calorie tracker or food journal, such as Careot – the app that cares, to perform the following 6 steps to help track your calories.

1-Track everything you eat
Accuracy in tracking the amount of each food or drink item you eat is important as it impacts your total calorie intake. Track meals on weekdays and weekends, as eating patterns can vary based upon your life style patterns, such as when you visit the ballpark or theater. Download the Careot app onto your iPhone to easily take pictures of every meal you eat and then enter meal names and track specific nutrient values. You need to also include the little snacks, such as chips, candy bars, peanut butter sandwich, and salad dressing. Remember to include sodas, wines, and beer too.

2-Use visual cues to ensure portion control
The most effective way to measure what you eat is to weigh your food. However, this is not easy to do all the time, each and every time you eat. Studies have shown that most people do not guess their portion sizes accurately. They typically under count the calories and end up not losing weight as they cannot figure out what is causing the high calorie intake.

Instead, follow recommended portion estimates, such as only half your plate should have fruits and vegetables, a quarter should be carbohydrates and the remaining quarter protein. When you sit to eat the visual of your plate should reflect the above mentioned guidelines. Take a picture of your meal with Careot to make sure you are sticking to the plan and not overloading each portion, especially the food items you like. We recommend taking the picture before you start eating so you include your wine, juice or soda, which also add to the calorie intake.

3-Take a picture to easily track everything you eat during a day
For effective dieting and weight loss it is essential to track everything you eat and drink during the day. However, this is not easy to do. With Careot you can make this process easier by either taking a picture just before you consume a food item or use the GPS tracker to pull up previously eaten meals from a specific location. At the end of the day review the list of meals and record the calories for each food you ate using the Careot nutrient database.

4-Total calories for each meal, day, week and month.
Maintaining a healthy diet requires ongoing discipline. Careot makes it easy to not only total the number of calories for a meal but also over a day, week or month.

5-Analyze your calories over time
Careot makes it easy to track, total, and trend your calorie intake over a specific period. The app also provide you with user friendly graphs on your dashboard to help you monitor and stick to you plan to live a healthy life style.

6-Stick to the plan – Make it fun
Sticking to a diet for a long time is very difficult. Most people will go on a diet for a short period of time but then get tired of constantly doing all the steps required to stick with the plan. Careot allows you to invite friends or join a community of dieters who can encourage each other to stick with the plan, compete on calorie intake and weight loss, or share ideas to improve eating habits.