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Apps That Can Help You Be Healthier

I will not get my truck stuck in the mud this year. I will always have my cell phone with me. I will not begrudge having to walk a mile home if I do get my truck stuck in the mud and don’t have my cell phone.

“I don’t like New Year’s resolutions,” my friend told me as we waited for the AAA guy to get my truck out of the mud. Maybe because they are moving targets...we never know what life is going to toss our way.

Then on the radio this morning, I heard a man say we should change our thinking from what we want “to do” to what we want “to become.” I like that.

For example, in my quest to “become” a few pounds lighter, I can choose to try some new foods. One on my list is “pasta zero plus”— a spaghetti product made with chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) and “konjac” flour (a Japanese plant). One serving has one-eighth the calories of regular pasta. And most of the carbs in this product are in the form of soluble fiber — good for controlling blood sugars and cholesterol levels.

I can also choose to become healthier with some of these free apps for my smart phone ... that I will remember to have with me this year. (Many are available for both iPhone and Android.)

ShopWell: Scans barcodes on food products to help me decide if a food is a good match for my personal dietary needs. Creates grocery lists and helps me avoid ingredients I don’t want.

Fooducate: Scans barcodes to provide detailed nutritional content of food products.

Food on the Table. Helps me find healthy recipes within my diet restrictions and helps me create menus and grocery shopping lists. Also locates nearby grocery stores.

Big Oven. Plans meals and menus with over 250,000 recipes and gives me ideas on how to use leftovers.

Lose it! Helps me set up a calorie budget and tracks my calories, protein, carbs and fat each day. Also tracks daily exercise and helps me set goals.

My Fitness Pal. Measures my nutrient intake and physical activity each day and monitors my progress.

Runtastic: Tracks every detail of more than 20 physical activities including time, speed, elevation and distance. Can be linked to My Fitness Pal.

Pedometer Free GPS Plus: Tracks my walking (or running) distance and pace and monitors my heart rate and calories burned. Even creates a map of my walking or running route.

Instant Heart Rate: Uses my smart phone camera lens to detect my heart rate from the pulse in my fingertips. Then shows it on a graph.

CardioBuddy: Another free app that measures my heart rate with my smart phone.

Glucose Buddy: For people with diabetes; tracks glucose readings, carbohydrate intake, medication, and physical activity.

Diabetes Log: Another free app for people with diabetes. Tracks blood sugar readings, food intake and medication use.

The writer is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator.