Great Apps for Specialty Diets
Have special diet needs? There’s an app for that
If you or your child have an allergy to common food ingredients like gluten, nuts, or lactose, it can be a serious headache to check the labels on everything you buy—especially if they are sensitive to even trace amounts of the allergen. It can be even harder to find a restaurant. Fortunately, there are mobile apps that can make life a lot easier for allergy sufferers. Check these out.
1. iCanEat OnTheGo (iOS)
iCanEat OnTheGo provides allergy information on dozens of mid-range franchise restaurants, ranging from fast food to places like Buffalo Wild Wings and The Olive Garden. You select which allergens you want to avoid, including milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, eggs, fish, gluten, tree nuts & wheat, and the app will provide an online menu with only those options that are safe to eat. Of the 30 menus you can choose from, 9 provide special gluten-free options (for those who need to avoid gluten specifically, but not wheat). The app’s selection isn’t exactly comprehensive, but if you’re looking for a night out with the family, iCanEat will give you some options. (Cost: $1.99)
2. Gluten-Free Ultimate Solution (Android, iOS)
If your specific issue is a gluten allergy or celiac disease, this app may be all you need. It has a database of thousands of restaurants that are either exclusively gluten-free, or gluten-free friendly, and also provides hundreds of gluten-free recipes from G-free Foodie. The user ratings are also exclusive to the app, which is handy for weeding out restaurants who may have a high overall score on Yelp or Google, but have lousy gluten-free options. If a restaurant has five stars on the app, you know the gluten-free options are top-shelf. The only drawback to this app is the price. (Cost: $3.99)
3. ScanAvert (Android, iOS)
This app allows you to scan any barcode and get instant information about that item’s compatibility with your diet. You tell ScanAvert your allergies or dietary restrictions (including kosher or halal diets), as well as any conditions such as diabetes or pregnancy that might impact your dietary choices, and ScanAvert can tell you at a glance whether that item is safe to eat. One of the ways this app shines is in offering substitutes for incompatible foods; if you’re allergic to nuts, and you scan a Snickers bar, ScanAvert will find you the next best thing, without the nuts. Unfortunately, it’s a subscription service—$1.99 a month—but if it solves a problem you endure constantly, it might be worth the investment. (Cost: $1.99 for the download and one-month subscription)
4. Cook IT Allergy Free (iOS)
Frequent home-cooked meals are a healthy, responsible way to manage a food allergy—but it always kills me to have to pass up a recipe because of just one incompatible ingredient. Cook IT Allergy Free allows you to input any recipe, check it for allergens, and then the app recommends solid substitutes for the offending ingredient—and in my experience, the switch often improves the recipe. It also features over 200 allergy-friendly recipes, and a special “recipe box” that you can use to favorite recipes, either from the developers or from third parties. (Cost: $4.99)
Julia Peterson is a writer for AndGeeks.com, a popular website that provides up-to-date news, detailed commentary, and reviews on top Android phones and related topics. Julia resides in Galveston, Texas in a cozy little house in the country with her husband, young son, and their Labrador retriever, Darby.