Combined, the Apple App Store and Google Play Store offer 4 million apps, and 3% of them are connected to health and nutrition. Half of all nutrition applications (Product Scanner, Calories in food, Simple Macro, etc.) have only one function, while the best diet and nutrition apps (MyFitnessPal, MyNetDiary, FatSecret) offer a set of functionality: calorie counters, food diaries, recipes for healthy food, barcode scanners, daily meal plans, and shopping lists.
But are multi-featured nutrition tracker apps profitable? In 2018, MyFitnessPal was the top fitness and nutrition app, with $62 million in revenue. Lose It! was the second highest-grossing diet and calorie tracker app, with nearly $12 million in gross revenue. These apps are free to download and make money through in-app purchases.
In this article, we’ll talk about the best diet and nutrition applications on the market, giving you thorough information on how to create a diet app and what functionality to add. Below, we are also explaining why food diary apps have become popular among users from different countries with diverse eating habits. This information will help you decide on the type of application you want to build and features for your own app for diet.
Vegans and vegetarians should always monitor calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D12, Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, and iron intake. A vegan nutrition tracker app can track nutrients based either on a user’s custom goals or recommendations from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Nutrition trackers can warn when users consume too much fat, sugar, or sodium, and can provide plant-based recipes. Vegans, vegetarians, and people who would simply like to eat more plant-based food choose the following food and nutrition apps:
HappyCow simplifies the search for vegan and vegetarian restaurants. According to its motto, the app “makes cows happy because a user avoids eating meat when dining out.” With HappyCow, users can:
- search for vegan or vegetarian restaurants in a certain area
- filter restaurants depending on the type of diet
- save favorite locations
HappyCow is one of the best diet apps, as searching is fast and convenient, features aren’t complicated, and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.
gonutss is an unusual diet application. This app is billed as a vegan interpreter that translates unhealthy foods into their healthy vegetarian/vegan alternatives. It includes hundreds of recipes for vegetarians, vegans, and curious eaters. With this healthy diet app, users can:
- search for plant-based alternatives (ingredients, products, recipes) to unhealthy foods
- make use of a Veganpedia to learn about vegan ingredients
- use an egg calculator to measure replacement products for eggs
- use a protein calculator to measure replacement products with equal protein amounts
Another great diet and nutrition app feature in gonutss is the ability to filter results by the presence of soy, gluten, peanuts, sugar, and GMOs.
Vegan Recipe Club addresses the hardest aspect of staying a vegetarian/vegan ─ finding plant-based food to eat. The application includes a library with 600+ vegan recipes, products, and shopping tips. Users can search by dietary requirements, season, and country. Once people join the Vegan Recipe Club community, they can:
- find recipes by categories
- view recipes offline
- receive notifications when new recipes appear
- read the information on going/staying vegan
This nutrition tracking program was designed by a vegan charity campaign to save animals. The task of the app is to help people deal with aspects of staying vegan and to educate people about the realities of factory farming and its impacts.
21-Day Vegan Kickstart is a plant-based menu to build your diet, lower risks of heart diseases, reach a healthy body weight, avoid Type 2 diabetes, and manage chronic diseases. According to the official website, the app’s low-fat plant-based recipes are developed by vegan cuisine experts, dietitians, and chefs to make sure users see results in three weeks. When users pick this application for their mobile diet planning, they can:
- look through recipes
- enjoy simple preparation thanks to step-by-step photos
- receive daily inspirational messages
- save favorite recipes
The app got its name (Vegan Kickstart) because its focus is on “a short experience that inspires long-lasting changes.” As the 21 days come to an end, users are supposed to gain complete control over their health and eating habits.
For a healthy pregnancy, a mom-to-be has to follow a special schedule of prenatal visits, stick to a strict diet, and monitor her health. This is what a pregnancy diet and nutrition app is for.
Even the best pregnancy nutrition apps are no substitute for professional medical advice. Yet they’re helpful when it comes to tracking the baby’s growth, choosing the right foods, and learning safe workouts.
The Bump sends a user updates on their baby’s development, decodes pregnancy symptoms from A to Z, offers to-do lists, helps to plan healthy menus, and teaches how to welcome a newborn into the family. The most popular tools of the application (fertility, pregnancy, and parenting) help women track health between doctor’s visits. The Bump provides:
- healthy and easy-to-cook recipes
- an interactive 3D visualization of the baby’s growth
- a planner to prepare for doctor’s visits
- daily pregnancy articles
- real answers from The Bump team/editorial staff, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, and One Medical
Another feature that makes The Bump popular is its large community that connects users in parenting and pregnancy forums and clubs.
The Ovia Pregnancy Tracker has helped 11 million women successfully navigate through all nine months of pregnancy. The application has a medical illustrator (realistic illustrations of what a baby looks like each week, users can zoom into the full-screen images and have a closer look), tips to support throughout pregnancy, a dynamic timeline, weekly progress reports, and symptom lookup, food safety lookup, and medication safety lookup tools. Women who pick Ovia Pregnancy Tracker can:
- learn about the nutrients they need daily for their baby’s growth (vegetables and fruit, proteins, dairy products, and water)
- find recipes for healthy foods
- record moods
- learn about safe medications
- track and chart sleep
- stay fit and do safe workouts
This food tracking app also shares 2,000+ articles on pregnancy and comes with a calendar to organize and track the most important things, including doctor’s appointments.
Pregnancy Tips Diet Nutrition concentrates solely on eating habits. This diet control app provides complete information on how to change the menu for nine months and beyond. Pregnancy Tips Diet Nutrition offers:
- nutrition tips for the first/second/third trimester
- rules for a healthy diet during pregnancy
- a list of foods and drinks to avoid
- information on the baby’s growth and development in the first/second/third trimester
- tracking of weight gain during pregnancy
This food journal app also allows users to contact a dietitian directly for answers to nutrition questions.
Pregnancy App & Pregnancy Diet gives answers to top questions on meals, supplements, weight gain, and trouble eating. Information is categorized and regularly updated. What’s more, the application provides articles on weight loss options during pregnancy. With Pregnancy App & Pregnancy Diet, women benefit from:
- sample meals
- a list of forbidden foods
- tips on minerals and vitamins
- recommendations for self-care
This diet plan app also includes a morning sickness section that covers causes, concerns, and treatment options.
If gym workouts and healthy eating have become a big part of your life, you’d better download a food and fitness planner app to keep an eye on your physical activity and nutrition. A well-developed application is a must for achieving goals, as it provides access to better training routines, new types of cardio workouts, stress management techniques, and healthy nutrition plans.
My Fitness by Jillian Michaels is a fully interactive app with the ability to personalize workouts by decreasing/increasing their intensity. It offers 800+ exercises with HD videos, music to match the tempo, and custom plans for yoga and booty/ab workouts. My Fitness provides:
- customized meal plans that allow users to filter ingredients
- grocery lists
- recipes that can be adjusted for muscle gain or weight loss
- personalized workout programs for all fitness levels (from newbie to advanced)
- daily health tips from Jillian Michaels
- a selfie photo tracker to see progress
My Fitness by Jillian Michaels also suggests prenatal workout and nutrition programs throughout pregnancy.
MyFitnessPal is the #1 rated diet application according to Consumer Reports and is the Editor’s Choice Selection of PC Magazine. “Fitness starts with what you eat” is the concept behind this nutrition app, which helps users keep track of the activities they do and the foods they eat. The basic MyFitnessPal features help people achieve weight loss goals faster:
- database of 11+ million foods and 4+ million product codes
- food insights for healthy choices
- calorie counter
- nutrient tracker (carbs, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and sugar)
- 350+ exercises and workouts
- step tracker
MyFitnessPal also has a large community and newsfeed updates so you can share your own accomplishments and see others’ weight loss progress.
Argus: Calorie Counter & Step
Argus: Calorie Counter & Step tracks calorie intake and creates health charts. The application has a unique display: tiles bring relevant information to the forefront (water intake, steps, calories consumed/burned). Users love this application for its additional features:
- barcode scanner
- meal plans and list of recipes (Paleo and Keto)
- custom HD video workouts and personalized training plans
- personalized weight loss plans
- advanced sleep tracker
- 24/7 step counter
The Argus: Calorie Counter & Step application also tracks a user’s cycling, running, and climbing. The only disadvantage of this feature is that it wears down a phone’s battery.
The Lose It! website claims that users have lost 83,448,285 pounds using the Lose It! app. Since its launch in 2008, this calorie tracker app has been featured on Buzzfeed, in The Wall Street Journal, on Good Morning America, and on CNN. When getting started, a user inputs profile details and sets a weight goal. The application then calculates daily calorie intake to change the user’s eating habits and offers features including:
- 27+ million searchable foods
- barcode scanner
- nutrient tracker (protein, carbs, sugar, fat)
- recipes for healthy food
- meal planning and targets to calculate calories per meal
- a library of workouts
According to the American Diabetes Association, nutrition what people eat affects their blood sugar levels. While doctors help to personalize nutrition therapy, best nutrition calculator apps help patients track their health 24/7 so they can share thorough reports with their doctors. Such apps are new, yet the idea is profitable.
mySugr, founded in 2012, presents itself as an app for “all-around care for people with diabetes – made by people with diabetes.” The application is loved for its deep understanding of this health issue, advice and information from certified diabetes educators who have been dealing with this disease for years, and exclusive features such as:
- daily therapy information that covers meal plans and suggestions
- a blood sugar tracker
- an insulin calculator
- a personalized dashboard (blood glucose levels, carb intake, and diet options)
This diabetes nutrition app helps users create detailed health reports in Excel or PDF format for their next doctor’s visit.
Glucose Buddy is most useful for children, adolescents, and parents of children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes. The app allows glucose monitoring for a caregiver (now parents can monitor their child’s glucose readings in a Type 1 diabetic). Glucose Buddy is now ranked the #1 diabetes iPhone application by Manny Hernandez, Founder of TuDiabetes.com, for its:
- meal IQ that allows users to make healthier food choices
- integration with other applications (Apple Health and Dexcom)
- data export to CSV files and printable PDF reports
- step and cardio activity tracker
- insulin and blood sugar/pressure tracker
- automatic A1C calculator
Glucose Buddy also gives access to an automatic calorie counter and fitness applications for home and gym workouts.
DiabetesConnect lets users record all diabetes-related data in a single application. The app works for patients with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who use multiple devices and want their data to be synchronized across them. DiabetesConnect provides clear statistics and graphs for a perfect overview of your current diabetes therapy. Exclusive features of this food tracker app are:
- a tracker for carbohydrates and bread units
- meal data and blood glucose analysis
- support for mmol/l and mg/dl blood glucose levels for diabetes
- export of data to a PDF file within seconds
Unused functions can be hidden for a neat interface.
Diabetes Tracker by MyNetDiary helps users track Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and prediabetes. The application records medications, counts carbs, and offers exercise routines. A study conducted by MyNetDiary shows that active application users lose 12% of their body weight and see a 1.4% reduction in A1C. The essential features of Diabetes Tracker by MyNetDiary are:
- quick food logging
- meal reminders
- diet planning options (if losing weight is one of the user’s targets)
- a catalog of 390,000 verified products
- water intake tracker
- daily/weekly analysis and a set of reports to understand and manage nutrition and blood glucose levels
- blood glucose tracker with post- and pre-meal targets
Diabetes Tracker shows matching foods as a user types a brand or product name, and a food score feature helps users understand the information given on food labels.
How to monetize an app
As we wrote earlier, in 2018, the best food nutrition apps and major market players like MyFitnessPal and LoseIt! raised revenue of $62 and $12 million respectively. How exactly did they manage to succeed financially after being launched? There are four strategies to monetize your diet and nutrition app.
In-app ads. There’s a clear reason why advertisers are now strongly attracted to the mobile app market. Around 20% of all smartphone users check out websites, while 80% prefer browsing applications.
As you invest in a diet plan app development, you can benefit from placing ads. For that, you need to decide on:
- mobile ad network (a broker between the app and advertisers)
- format of your in-app ads (banners, interstitial ads, native ads, video ads)
- pricing model (cost per action or click)
Paid mobile applications. By deciding to launch paid mobile apps, you ensure that all app downloads are paid off. What’s the benefit for users? With a single download payment, users no longer need to pay monthly subscriptions to access extra features.
Advice from Steelkiwi: Offering a paid nutrition calculator app is more challenging than attracting users by offering a free app. Still, this monetization strategy ensures there’s revenue from each customer.
Freemium. This monetization strategy is the most popular among top nutrition apps. It implies charging application users for advanced features only. You can integrate freemium monetization in one of three ways:
- by setting up your own virtual currency: as users buy the currency, they can enter advanced features
- by offering application users to subscribe to enter extra features
- by allowing subscribers to pay for each advanced feature unlocked
Sponsorship. You can find a brand or business that is willing to sponsor your diet planner app development and its further maintenance. Actually, there are many companies eager to support nutrition app development. Below, there are four main reasons why:
- to strengthen their brand image
- to access new audience and future-to-be customers
- to stand out from their closest competitors
- to increase the level of brand involvement in the nutrition and diet community
Advice from Steelkiwi: The sponsorship monetization strategy is effective since it allows startups with an idea to become financially supported without compromising user experience.
Nutrition app development cost
The price-related question is a tricky thing. Even for an experienced team, it might be hard to say about the exact cost to develop a diet and nutrition app. Nevertheless, based on the feature-set, the number of platforms, and applied technologies, you can come to the estimated cost.
To start with, you need to decide whether to outsource the development or hire local food app developers. Some businesses find the physical proximity to local teams as their most meaningful argument. But it’s the only argument since remote teams also meet organizational requirements, have a high level of expertise and are deeply involved.
But the same or even better quality of a final product is not the only benefit of working with outsourcing companies. It’s no secret that the average cost of app development depends on the geographic location of the team you plan to hire.
Once you’ve figured out what type of application you want to make, read our step-by-step guide on how to make a nutrition app. The Steelkiwi team will help you choose application features depending on your needs, expectations, and budget. You can either choose from templates to design a layout faster or present your idea to the team and we’ll help you design the app from scratch. Check out our projects and contact us to discuss app-related questions.