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Erin Nitschke

As of June 30, 2018, the USDA discontinued the availability of SuperTracker. SuperTracker, unveiled in 2011, was a comprehensive online accountability tool which allowed consumers to record and review their personal nutrition and physical activity habits. The USDA platform was originally developed to help consumers develop a greater sense of awareness of their daily habits in hopes of supporting healthier lifestyle choices.

The discontinuation of this system may seem disappointing, but in reality, the former tool fulfilled its mission. This is a good thing! Further, since the release of SuperTracker, the private sector has developed and launched a large number of other applications that continue to support the mission of a healthy lifestyle for Americans. If you are a former user of SuperTracker’s system or if you are interested in learning what apps are available, explore some of these platforms.

MyPlate Plan: If you are familiar with USDA or used SuperTracker in the past, you might enjoy this free and user-friendly system. MyPlate Plan is a USDA-based platform which offers allows consumers to somewhat personalize their meal plans based on specific variables (age, sex, height, weight, and current participation in physical activity). MyPlate also includes a sophisticated collection of other resources such as a body weight calculator, portion control tips and tricks and delicious recipe ideas.

MyFitness Pal: MyFitness Pal is one of the most popular free nutrition and activity tracking systems. It is available as an app and accessible online via the website. Users of this app can scan barcodes of packaged food items, create recipes complete with nutrition data calculation, and track beverage consumption and physical activity patterns. User data syncs with popular wearable fitness gear such as FitBit and Apple Watch.

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Fooducate: Developers of this app had one goal: to help consumers “improve their health through better food.” It’s simple. It’s logical. This app combines accountability practices with educational efforts. Fooducate won first place in the Surgeon General Healthy App Challenge and boasts multiple shout-outs from a variety of media outlets including NY Times, Oprah, and the Wall Street Journal. The best part of this app is that it gives foods a letter grade just as you would receive in school. When a barcode is scanned or a food is searched, the consumer is given data about the product’s overall quality by grading the food as A, B, C, or D. Fooducate encourages its users to track the quality of calories as well as the quantity.

You Ate: This app is perfect for the visual learner and individual who may respond effectively to a mindful approach to eating versus a stricter method. This app is easy to use and the platform is interactive and motivational. Users of You Ate photograph meals their meals and evaluate their patterns of eating. Individuals can share meal patterns with friends and a coach, which is an additional accountability feature.

Meal Logger: Meal Logger is not too dissimilar from You Ate in that it allows users to keep a photo food journal and develop a social support network. Creating a photo journal is a method of helping consumers develop self-monitoring and self-regulation skills – both of which are necessary for sustainable behavior change.

If you are looking for an engaging way to keep yourself accountable to the goals you set, explore one or more of these apps and find a system that works for you.

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Dr. Erin Nitschke, NFPT-CPT, NSCA-CPT, ACE Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Therapeutic Exercise Specialist and Pn1 is a health and human performance college professor, fitness blogger, mother and passionate fitness professional. Visit her personal blog at belivestaywell.com. She can be reached at erinmd03@gmail.com

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