Halal Consumer - Issue 28 - page 17

of the nutritional balance of
one’s diet. I personally have
used apps to lose and main-
tain weight loss, and I now
refer them to my clients.”
Sarene Alsharif, MPH,
nutritionist and public
health educator insists,
“My favorite eating/exer-
cise app, hands down,
is MyFitnessPal.” She has personally been using the app
for over three years and says, “The database is the wid-
est I have seen and I have tried almost every app there
is.” MyFitnessPal’s pie chart illustrating macronutrients,
together with the large selection of workouts and ability
to sync between devices, are some additional features that
make it her app of choice.
In addition to calorie counting, most of these apps recom-
mend and track daily nutrient values such as fat, sodium,
potassium, fiber, etc. Jabbar informs, “Those watching their
sodium intake can log their foods and get a visual of how
much sodium they're consuming. This can also be done for
other macro and micronutrients as well. I have used the
apps to monitor my iron and calcium intake.” Jabbar’s top
three weight management nutrition apps are SparkPeople,
MyFitnessPal, and Lose It!. She says that all three apps can
also be used to monitor special diets.
Included in many of these apps, is the ability to scan the
barcode of a food item, making the process of recording
food intake that much easier, as the barcode contains all
the nutrient data for the food. Additionally, the barcode
scanner can also be used while shopping. Users can scan
potential food options and have nutrient data displayed on
their mobile screens, which gives a clearer picture of what
the product contains and can thus aid in filling shopping
carts with more wholesome foods. Alsharif recommends
Fooducate because it gives food items a healthfulness grade
along with an explanation why. The app also takes a step
further by recommending healthier options. Alsharif states,
“This app is useful for individuals looking to clean up their
diet and make healthier choices.”
Nutrition apps in the category of dietary restrictions can
be incredibly valuable, especially for halal consumers. In
addition to eating health-
ily, Muslims must consume
food that is halal. Though
halal may seem easy, it can
get pretty tricky these days
with unknown additives
often hiding in foods. If you
want to quickly ensure that
the food you are purchas-
ing or eating is halal, a halal
app might be just what you
need. These apps allow you to scan the barcode of a food
item, tell you whether specific ingredients are halal or not,
and/or simply supply you with an extensive list of halal and
non-halal food items.
On Apple’s App Store, a search with the key word “halal”
yields over 100 results. That same search on Android’s
Play Store yields only ten. After browsing and download-
ing some of these apps, many turned out to be unrelated to
food. Others were based in foreign countries or simply did
not work. There were, however, a select few that did per-
tain to food and function properly.
Jabbar suggests Halal Scanner and said that this app is
“exciting because it’s a one-of-a-kind app that can scan a food
product’s ingredient label and instantly let you know the
halal status of any additives contained within the product.”
Alsharif, on the other hand, personally uses and recom-
mends Zabihah. She says it’s great for getting reviews on
halal markets and restaurants, allowing halal consumers to
“dine with more confidence.”
With so many nutrition app options to choose from, there’s
bound to be one that suits your particular needs. Why not
take advantage of technology to improve your health and
make more informed decisions when it comes to halal con-
sumption? No matter what app(s) you decide to use, the fact
that you have decided to means you are taking a step in the
right direction to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Nadirah D. Muhammad
recently received her B.A. from
Mount Saint Mary College, where she concentrated in Journalism.
She is currently a freelance blogger, writer, and photographer based
in New York.
Jabbar suggests Halal Scanner
and said that this app is “exciting
because it’s a one-of-a-kind app that
can scan a food product’s ingredi-
ent label and instantly let you know
the halal status of any additives
contained within the product.”
Spring 2014
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