If you’re a weight conscience individual then counting calories makes tonnes of sense. What better way to control your weight than to monitor what you eat? The problem with calorie counting is the time consuming nature of reading the food packet (if it exists) and guesstimating the calories in your portion, and then taking note of the calories.
That’s where Meal Snap steps in – $2.99 from the App Store.
Meal Snap is an iPhone app that takes a picture of your food, analyzes the photo, and returns with estimated calories. The app will then add your picture (and meal) to a diary. You can easily tag your meal as breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack, or other. Meal Snap makes it a breeze to easily track your intake over a period of time.
The UI, as with all of Daily Burn’s apps, is beautiful. When you load up the app you are presented with a simple to use interface that asks you to take a photo of your meal. After a short time processing, you can add a caption that describes your meal and then tag it. After your meal is snapped, it is added to a calendar like interface that uses scroll gestures to move up and down dates allowing you to quickly look back at what you consumed.
Overall, the app makes solid estimates of calories in your food with higher calories allocated to snack foods and healthier estimates attributed to balanced home cooked meals.
Some of the results can be a bit iffy though. When I put my Magic Mouse through Meal Snap, the app returned with estimated calories between 221 and 232. Now, I will admit to being hungry but hungry enough to eat my Magic Mouse? And 221 calories? I think I’ll pass.
Some of the estimates can be quiet broad too. For example, coming back with an estimate between 258 and 387 calories for beef noodles, while in the right ballpark, is a bit too wide of a margin for my liking.
You can also choose to share your meal snaps to Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare. This is a nice feature if you have teamed up with a friend for added weight loss motivation and wish to monitor each other’s food intake.
Verdict: A brilliant idea, and executed very well. If you’re fighting a battle with calories, this is the app for you.The accuracy will never be 100% but don’t let that turn you off., the app provides most benefit is in keeping users honest about their calorie intake. If before every meal you get into the routine of Meal Snapping, you will probably see a change over time in your diet.
It would be nice if you could tell Meal Snap your daily calorie intake target and for Meal Snap to send you push notifications to snap your meal at designated times (half hour before breakfast, lunch, dinner for example).
But overall, Meal Snap is a great and innovative app for the health inclined.
- Simple to use
- The price is right
- Great diary of food intake
- Good social integration
- Range in estimates could be tighter
- Could do with a few more features (calorie target & notifications)