The HealthyOut iPhone and iPod Touch app allows you to search your city for restaurant meals that follow the rules of your diet. On a specific diet like Atkins or Paleo? Maybe you’ve got to stick to gluten-free offerings? Whatever regimen you follow, HealthyOut does the hard work for you and tracks down places that offer meals that will conform to even the strictest of diets. With 19 popular diet categories, it’s highly likely you’ll find your diet plan supported by the free app available at the iTunes AppStore.
As an on-again, off-again veggie groupie, I was curious to see what local meals HealthyOut could steer me toward that would fit my bill for vegetarian fare. After selecting the “Vegetarian” category, I was presented with two simple and efficient options for finding that type of meal close to me: the first is an advanced search menu that lets you filter types of meals by calories, ingredients, type of cuisine, etc.; and the second option just shows you your choice of meals without any further filters.
I recommend the second search option, since it gives you the most meal choices. I was happy to see that there were actually vegetarian meal options within a quarter-mile of me. Problematically, the list of the options were sorted by meal rather than restaurant, so I had to finger-scroll down for what seemed to be forever to make it past the vegetarian listings for Subway alone. (Subway’s great and all, but sometimes a girl wants something else.) Luckily, HealthyOut lets you change the default filter so you can see your results by restaurant rather than by meal, which is how I mostly see myself using it. This feature keeps your results to a more compact and usable list.
Perhaps a drawback of HealthyOut is that it searches primarily chain restaurants. It didn’t show me the yummy portabella and goat-cheese tacos available at the little café just down the street. Another drawback was that it offers no search capability for a specific restaurant. If you’re like me, sometimes you want to eat vegetarian meals at restaurants that aren’t necessarily the closest ones to you – this app does not make it easy to do that. Finally, at least in the city I live in, if you pick more than one diet filter – say, you wanted to find a meal that was both “vegetarian” and “low-sodium” – your results are severely limited. I see this as less and less of a problem as HealthyOut developers and users contribute more meal and restaurant data.
Visually, I liked that the listings were complemented by nice pictures of the meal, and also that full nutritional info, including calories and a breakdown of the percentage of carbs, fat and protein in the meal, were included. What’s more, if you live in lower Manhattan, the HealthyOut website associated with the app can actually set up automatic delivery of these healthy meals.
The HealthyOut iPhone and iPod Touch app is great if you are looking for a local meal from a chain restaurant that conforms to your specific diet plan. If you want something from a place that isn’t a chain restaurant, the app still comes in handy: by uploading pics of those fancy vegetarian tacos from the café down the street yourself, you’re helping your fellow dieters find the best meals in town.
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