The rise of the smartphone has made way for a rapid upswing in the sophistication and usefulness of mobile phone apps. Apps are now available for every imaginable platform and these days, you can find an app for just about anything. This has greatly increased our overall quality of life and consequently, it also means people spend a lot more time on their phones.
In honor of the last part of Celiac Awareness Month, we thought we’d look at what apps are available for those living a gluten-free lifestyle. We found some great options for gluten free apps on all the major mobile software platforms out there: iOS, Android, Windows Phone & Blackberry. Some apps offer recipes, restaurant reviews and even useful diet tips.
So, we’ll start with the Apple products…
Is That Gluten-free? $7.99 (iOS)
Is That Gluten-free (ITGF) is one of the most popular gluten-free apps around. It has 4 star rating from nearly 1,000 votes. ITGF offers a friendly user interface that features over 24,000 manufacturer verified gluten-free products from over 768 brands. This is widely regarded as the number 1 gluten-free app on iOS and is hugely popular.
It puts foods into different categories and also allows you to search for specific food items you might desire. For example, if you fancy biscuits, you just enter ‘biscuits’ into the search bar, and it gives you an exhaustive list of brands which offer gluten-free biscuits.
The app features a rating system, whereby you can grade the products you’ve tried and even add notes. This would allow you to build up a nice list of products you can always default to. It also accepts user inputs and customization meaning users can add their own foods to the app and even categorize them whichever way they prefer.
That’s not all – ITGF offers comprehensive information about the foods you are eating. It has a database with filters for safe, unsafe and potentially unsafe ingredients, while also storing manufacturer provided information about cross contamination in the products concerned. It even provides manufacturer contact information to allow you to make further enquiries.
Unlike other apps which require an internet connection, this app does not need one to be operated. However, frequent updates and additions come over-the-air and would require an internet connection to keep the app updated.
Allergy & Gluten-Free Diet Tracker (iOS) $4.99
This clever app by Fooducate is massively versatile for tracking your food intake and also finding out vital information about certain foods; whether they are gluten-free and if they contain potential allergens which could trigger other food sensitivities. It boasts an average 4.5 star rating and was designed with the help of dieticians and concerned parents.
The app has a database of over 200,000 products which is frequently updated and it even has a community of users who discuss ingredients in food and give valuable opinions. The app even has warnings for controversial food colorings, additives, preservatives, trans-fats and excessive sugars – so it’s more than just a gluten-free app.
The biggest trick it has up its sleeve is a built in barcode scanner. Using your iOS device camera, you can scan the barcode on food packaging and immediately have a comprehensive breakdown of what that product contains – ingredients to watch for, sugar content, gluten presence (or lack thereof) and so much more. The app can identify food categories and suggest healthier alternatives of the product you have jut scanned. It makes for a fantastic shopping companion.
That’s not all. Like ITGF, it has a one-click-to-call function if you need to contact the manufacturer and obtain more information. It includes a diet tracker for food logging and a health tracker which allows you to track your daily exercise routine. Precise information about the calorie content of the foods you are tracking is easily found in the vast database or by simply scanning a barcode. As a bonus, the app works on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices.
Find Me Gluten-free (Android, iOS) FREE
Find Me Gluten-free is a pocket companion for those who fancy eating out. The app is free of charge in the Google Play Store and boasts a stellar 4.5 star rating. It’s also available on iOS where the rating is just as high.
It stores a vast, frequently updated database of restaurants, eateries, pizzerias, fast-food restaurants and local businesses which offer gluten-free dining and products. The individual entries also have ratings and people can leave comments. The database also has contact information for the businesses listed which makes it easier to make further enquiries.
It even links with the maps application in your Android (or iOS) device to make navigating to the suggested places a breeze. An even more useful feature of the app is the ability to look at menus for some of the places listed. That way you’re able to see if it’s a place you might actually consider visiting.
This app is only getting better and better. Currently available are beta versions of a recipes feature (which would contain various gluten-free recipes) and a products feature (which like the top two apps, would contain a database with useful information about products).
Gluten-Free Recipes 1000 (Android) FREE
This simple but powerful app is actually a database of nearly 1000 recipes for the chef inside you. Boasting a 4 star average rating from 197 ratings, this app is one of the most popular Android gluten-free apps. The fact that it’s free doesn’t exactly hamper its popularity either.
Cooking can be a costly affair with people buying ingredients they’ll rarely use. However, with Gluten-Free Recipes 1000, you’re able to simply search through the recipes via a main ingredient. This minimizes the likelihood of buying additional ingredients which may not get much additional use.
It integrates a social element with share buttons which allow you to alert friends and acquaintances on the recipes you’ve tried via social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. It also saves you from scrolling through a vast database by adding a favorites feature which allows you to store the recipes you like the most separately from the rest.
Coeliac Map (Windows Phone, Android) FREE
Much like Find Me Gluten-free, Coeliac Map is a free app for Windows Phone devices which has a database of restaurants, eateries and local places where you can be served gluten-free food or buy gluten-free products.
It is also user-contributed – users can enter details and give a rating of places they know. You’re also able to leave a rating of a place already existing in the database. This is always a good thing as it allows the app to grow rapidly with an ever increasing database of places – making it even more powerful and useful.
The app uses the built in maps function to provide navigation and directions to the places in its database, while also giving an average rating, contact details and photos. Users can search the areas they reside in and local & nearby results are shown.
In its current iteration, it has a satisfactory 3-star rating. Complaints from users range from a small, inexhaustive database of places to inaccuracies in the directions and maps given. The main issue with this app is that it’s international, unlike Find Me Gluten-free which is focused around the US. The problem with this is that the database won’t be as specialized and therefore, it won’t be as comprehensive. Still, it’s free and definitely worth trying.
Gluten-free Recipes 3 (Windows Phone) $0.99
Running out of recipe ideas? Looking to make your meals more interesting? Gluten-free Recipes 3 is a great resource to have. It boasts a vast database of tasty, healthy recipes for holiday occasions. It features a searchable database of recipes where you can plug in the name of an ingredient and get a list of recipes to go with it. It categorizes recipes in different groups (breakfast, dessert, salads etc.) while also providing recipes for different holidays i.e. Christmas, Valentine’s Day and so on.
Admittedly, it only has a single rating – which is 5 stars. It’s also rather one dimensional in that it only provides recipes but it does exactly what it promises.
Gluten-free Meals (BlackBerry OS 10) $1.99
Gluten-free Meals is a very simple app for Blackberry devices which boasts over 150 healthy gluten-free recipes. The recipes provide clear, concise steps and are laid out in an easy-to-follow, logical manner.
The app also categorizes the recipes so that you can find an ideal meal for whatever time of day. Recipes for appetizers, desserts, main dishes, side dishes and beverages can all be found with the app. Furthermore, the recipes are all available at installation, meaning no internet connectivity is required for you to start cooking!
Gluten-free 101 (BlackBerry OS 10) $5.99
Gluten-free 101 is a useful, visually appealing app which offers 101 healthy gluten-free recipes. The recipes have undergone thorough kitchen testing, are diverse and relatively simple to follow. This is less of an app and more of an actual portable cookbook.
It offers a unique, tiled user interface with high resolution photos which are truly beautiful to look at. Recipes are searchable and there’s even a browse function. The app also allows for recipes to be saved to a ’favorites’ section while also integrating social media with share buttons which allow you to share your favorite recipes with the world.
Having a gluten-free lifestyle guide or product database can make shopping, cooking and eating out so much easier. Who’d have thought that a quick download could add such powerful and hugely capable functionality to your phone? Well, now you can use your phone as a companion and allow these highly specialized apps to do what they do best – make living gluten-free (and maintaining your health) a whole lot easier!