Today there are apps for everything. They can help you learn a new language, plan your next holiday and even restrain you from drunk dialing on a Saturday night. They can also improve the way you eat – inspiring you to make better decisions for your health, your taste buds and the environment.
Here are some of the best apps for the conscious eater in Australia, whether you’re trying to eat healthier for you or our environment.
Love your Leftovers
This handy little app will help you act on food waste by transforming your leftovers, rather than trashing them. Recipes are easily searched by ingredient and there are some great tips on how to store food to keep it fresher for longer. If you’re already an expert on reinventing leftovers, contribute your recipe and help be part of the change. A new version due in three months will include a meal planner and shopping list feature.
Wild Food Map
A few years back Diego Bonetto started creating foraging maps of his Chippendale neighbourhood. Wild Food Map pulls this knowledge together, now from all corners of the globe, making it accessible and free. “The motivation was to allow for a place where you can discover useful plants in your neighbourhood and connect with fellow plant enthusiasts, to share knowledge,” Diego explains.
Learn about useful, edible and medicinal plants that are (literally) growing in your own backyard. Weeding the garden may now be collecting food for dinner!
ABC Vegie Guide
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced gardener trying to grow some of your own, the ABC Vegie Guide is an essential tool. You’ll get recommendations on what’s best to plant, and when – all depending on where you live. Even if your thumb is more brown than green, this app will help you produce healthy crops year-round; arming you with growing tips and the best ways to control pests and disease.
Find out what’s really in the food you’re eating and get suggestions for healthier choices you can switch to. It’s as simple as scanning the barcode to get easy-to-understand nutritional info with data on energy, saturated fat, sugar and salt levels. Filters can be used to suit different health needs.
Sustainable Seafood Guide
Developed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society, this app was created in response to public demand to better understand the sustainability of their seafood. Using a traffic light ranking system, more than 90 seafood species are grouped into Green ‘Better Choice’, Amber ‘Eat Less’, and Red ‘Say No’.
The app covers wild-caught, farmed, local and imported seafood and links to Greenpeace’s canned tuna guide. Ocean-lovers now know exactly what they ought to be throwing on the barbie.
It all started with a road trip. After snacking on a packet of chips and having an adverse reaction to a food additive, co-founder Jon realised there needed to be an app to provide some answers. He teamed up with Bill Statham, the author of the book with the same name, and Chemical Maze was born. Chemical Maze is the ultimate decoder, identifying up to 1200 food additives and cosmetic ingredients. Filter by symptom, ailment or dietary requirement. Additives are rated with smiley, neutral and sad faces. Avoid those with a double sad face – they may be hazardous to your health.
When next doing the groceries, simply scan a product’s barcode to get its ‘ethical rating’. It’s all based on the environmental and social track record of the companies behind more than 4000 products. As Clint Healy from Shop Ethical explains, it’s “designed to provide consumers with the tools to make informed choices when shopping in the supermarket and beyond, so they can match their shopping habits with their values.”
Ones to watch
Yume – a new Melbourne app stopping needless food waste by connecting food outlets with surplus food, with diners looking for a half price meal.
Less Meat Less Heat (currently crowdfunding) – take part in the Climatarian challenge by eating less red meat, and see just how much you’re reducing your environmental impact.
POI – Palm Oil Investigations Barcode Scanner – this app has all the features and tools required to regulate the palm oil industry, putting power in the hands of the consumer and encouraging them to support companies using ethical palm oil.
Open Food Facts – this informative app gathers info and data on food products from around the world. Get access to free and open data on more than 6000 products.
Looking for more ways to create change with what’s on your fork? Check out more articles here.
Image credits: Danya Bilinsky, Wild Food, Sustainable Seafood Guide