The 5 Best Delicious Cooking Apps for Dieters

Watching your weight? Try these iOS and Android apps for healthy recipes

Woman cooking with phone app
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Finding healthy recipes can be a chore, especially if you're on a diet and have to count every last calorie or carb. There are several great recipe apps for smartphones, but a few offer unique features that will help dieters shed those pesky pounds. These apps offer nutritional information for all their recipes, and some provide specific content for low-carb or low-fat diets. 

AllRecipes.com Dinner Spinner

What We Like

  • Lots of different recipes.

  • Shopping-list feature.

What We Don't Like

  • Ads all over on the home screen.

  • You must sign in or create an account to access some useful search features.

The AllRecipes.com Dinner Spinner app (Free; iOS and Android) is a fun way to discover new recipe ideas. Simply choose a course and main ingredient (and shake your iPhone if that's your platform), and the app will display recipes that meet your criteria.

With thousands of user-submitted recipes to choose from, you're bound to find something new. AllRecipes.com is one of the best apps for low-carb dieters, as it has a filter to identify recipes that meet low-carbohydrate standards.

The app includes nutritional information for all recipes, including total carbs and dietary fiber so you can calculate your net carb intake. AllRecipes.com also has filters for high-fiber, low-fat, gluten-free and low-sodium diets.

HealthyRecipes

The SparkRecipes app for iPad open to the Dietary Needs search screen.

What We Like

  • Nutrition facts are immediately obvious on the recipe page.

  • Clean design, well-organized and ad-free.

What We Don't Like

  • It's not clear who actually computes the nutrition facts when the recipes are user-contributed.

  • No extra tools like shopping lists.

The HealthyRecipes app (Free; iOS and Android) is from the same folks behind SparkPeople.com, a popular diet and calorie-tracking website. As a result, SparkRecipes is similarly focused on helping dieters shed pounds — after all, the app is sponsored by Lean Cuisine. 

SparkRecipes includes nearly 200,000 user-submitted recipes, each one with detailed nutritional information. Unlike some diet apps, which give you only a brief overview, SparkRecipes is more detailed and includes info on polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, potassium, fiber, and sugar. You can also search for specific low-fat or low-carb recipes.

Plan to Eat

Plan to Eat recipe window for iPad.

What We Like

  • Meal-planner approach.

  • Integrated shopping list.

  • Recipe import feature from a web link.

What We Don't Like

  • Paid app — you get a 30-day free trial, then its nearly $40/year.

  • No built-in recipe list: You add all of them yourself.

This app is a bit different: It's not a recipe-discovery tool but rather a comprehensive meal-planning solution. Use it on Android, iOS, or the web to schedule complex meals days or weeks in advance, and to generate the shopping lists you need to prepare the meal effectively.

Although you can add a new recipe by hand, the app offers an import feature that works well. We tried it with AllRecpies.com and all the metadata, including the meal image and the nutrition data, imported cleanly. Just specify the URL in the app and it'll fetch the recipe.

Plan to Eat requires an annual subscription, although you can trial it for free for 30 days.

Yummly

A Yummly promotional image showing three iPhone screens.

 Yummly

What We Like

  • Library of more than 2 million recipes.

  • Tell the app what your diet and allergy needs are, so it can filter for you.

What We Don't Like

  • The app requires registration before use, including a mandatory confirmation code for email registrations — a potential privacy risk.

  • The app's design, while clean, is not appealing.

Like many other recipe apps, Yummly offers a library of recipes and a shopping-list feature. Unlike others, however, it asks you up-front what your diet and allergy needs include, so that results are fine-tuned to your specific needs.

Yummly is free and available for Android and iOS, with separate versions for iPhone and iPad.

Runtasty

Promotional image of the Runtasty app.

Runtasty 

What We Like

  • The videos are short and simple — great for people inexperienced in the kitchen.

  • Clean app design with a good mix of search tools.

What We Don't Like

  • The iOS version doesn't scale to iPad.

  • Although you can bypass the login screen, the app encourages you to register with Facebook.

Although the app only contains a library of 40 recipes, Runtasty is different because it offers a series of short instructional videos about how to prepare those recipes. Each recipe is healthy, easy to prepare, and requires minimal ingredients.

The Runtasty app — part of the Runtastic family of health-and-fitness apps — is available for free on iOS and Android.