Looking for an inexpensive way to get healthy? Your phone can do quite a lot.
It could be one of the most essential parts of staying on a healthy daily routine, and you’re probably holding it right now—your phone can do a lot more than take gorgeous food shots for Instagram.
There’s a whole slew of free and low-cost apps that can help you keep meals as light as possible, to reach new fitness heights, or even aid you in finding some mental peace in what we’re sure will be a hectic year (and your mood and your diet are linked in some interesting ways).
We asked our editors and staff which apps help them stay in tip top shape—whether that be in the kitchen, in the gym, or in their daily life. Here are our favorites:
“This is the greatest app ever. You can log meals that you’ve had, recipes that you’re looking to make, and there’s even room to track your physical activity for the day. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for something to track both the food you’re consuming and fitness you’re able to get to in a day.” — Antara Sinha, Associate Social Media Editor, MyRecipes.com
“What I love about MyFitnessPal is that you can upload recipes directly from the websites you’re interested in—many Cooking Light Diet members will use it to track their meals even further in what is usually 30 seconds or less. It also has a lot of nutritional information from popular restaurants you might frequently visit. A great choice for calorie counting.” — Arielle Weg, Editorial Staff, Cooking Light Diet
2. Couch to 5K
“This app really does help you get into the groove of regularly running, even if you haven’t been running and have zero experience or stamina. There’s a program where you can train, slowly but surely, to run for a 5K with timed exercises and motivational tidbits. There’s a free trial period, too.” — Antara
3. Nike+ Run Club
“This app tracks your speed, distance, time, and location while you run. It gets fun with some friendly competition: you can keep up with your family and friends to see how much they’ve been running for the month as well. With the app, you can setup run challenges with your friends for a little bit more interactivity if that appeals to you.” — Briana Riddock, Editorial Staff, MyRecipes.com
4) Lose It!
“This is the ultimate calorie counter, and is a good reference source for everyday ingredients. I love that I can scan barcodes I come into contact with and instantly get in-depth nutritional info. I also really love the little aspirational push notifications I get throughout the day—it makes me smile, I’m all about the cheesy cheerleading.” — Zee Krstic, Editorial Staff
5) Headspace: Meditation
“If you’re new to mediation like I am, then this app is a great option for you and mental health. It has short, quick 5-minute sessions that can help you get started.” — Jaime Ritter, Associate Editor
6) Plant Nanny
“Okay, this might sound silly, but I love this app because I’m terrible at remembering to properly hydrate throughout the day. For every glass of water you log, your little virtual plant grows. If you don’t log water, however, it dies. So, oddly, you’re totally guilted into drinking water so your Tamagotchi-esque creature doesn’t wilt away.” — Jaime
“It’s not exactly new or anything, but I’m a huge fan of the fitness-tracking app Strava. It works with a variety of fitness trackers you might already own, or you can just track things with your phone, and lets you track a variety of activities. But honestly the best part is that it’s also a social network. I get motivated by seeing friends and family working out, and I feel (in a good way) some pressure to log a run on the app if I haven’t been on there for a while. You can “like” each other’s runs, too, and getting a bunch of likes after a hard workout feels really good.” — Christopher Michel, Editor
8) Apple Health
Available: iPhone only (comes preinstalled)
“I actually really love the included health app that is already on your iPhone—it’s a super easy way to keep track of your step count for the day, and to track your overall daily average. You can also see how active you’ve been over a long period of time, including months, seasons, and years. It’s simple and totally free.” — Elizabeth Laseter, Writer
9) Official 7 Minute Workout
“Sometimes you find yourself stressed for time and can’t make it to the gym when you’d like—but you definitely can squeeze in 7 minutes here and there. Follow along with videos that help you stay active even when it seems impossible. On off days, this is definitely a go to.” — Zee
“I love being able to access the on-demand programming in this app at any time, even if I’m not sitting pliant and ready to do yoga just yet. Watch when you want, and attempt when you’re ready!” — Brierley Horton, Nutrition Editor