Posted Nov 21, 2010
Writing down everything you eat in a food journal may not seem very helpful to you.
But what if the food journal talked back?
For about one week, we tried MealLogger, a mobile phone and web service that helps registered dietitians, nurses, nutritionists and personal trainers provide personalized feedback and advice to their clients.
Rene Norman is a registered and licensed dietitian with Nutrition Consultants of Tulsa, which test-pilot MealLogger, that she described as “coaching, not counseling.”
With MealLogger, an app that’s compatible with all major smart phones, people take snapshots of their meals and upload it to the MealLogger website from their cell phones. Health professionals view the image on their computer and provide feedback that is linked to the meal photograph.
Norman takes your meals and, with your health and physical fitness goals in mind, rates them on a five-star scale — five being fantastic, one being poor.
For example, one of the first meals we logged was a lunch at Hey Mambo, 114 N. Boston Ave. Ordered the Mista Salad, which is a wedge salad with bacon crumbles, soffritto and Giardino dressing. That preceded the baked ziti — ziti pasta with ricotta cheese, pomodoro sauce, mozzarella and Italian sausage. Touching the MealLogger app on an iPhone, we clicked on “meal,” the camera pulled up, snapped a shot of the dish (usually before we ate it — sometimes we forgot), then wrote a quick, brief description of what it was.
Within a day, Norman had responses and star ratings on our MealLogger profile. The salad earned us four stars. “A bit more protein and one more color of a veggie would’ve been five stars,” she wrote. “Hmm … Am I still seeing a pattern of skipping breakfast?” Yes, she was.
Moving on to part two of our lunch, which garnered three stars, Norman wrote, “OK, here’s that extra color and protein source. The sodium and fat in here are likely to be high, hence the three stars. Did you take time to savor this, or did you inhale?” We never answered that.
She also asked, “Does this restaurant have a chicken version?” It’s an excellent point when dining out. If available, ask for leaner meats (if the restaurant isn’t slammed, preferably — being considerate earns you gold stars elsewhere).
All of Norman’s critiques were helpful, suggesting items to replace bad ones on our plate. She also rated our exercise (any activity is good, as all of our exercises earned five stars).
Want to earn one star? Have a Diet Coke alone for breakfast. Two stars? Half of a large pepperoni pizza with extra cheese.
“You got points for the protein and complex carbs,” she wrote one night about our dinner. “Could you do a veggie next time? Or order with olive oil drizzled on this with veggies and feta?” Yes, ma’am.
When we remembered to photograph things, this was the most fun way we’ve ever kept a food journal. For those like us who love to text, it’s a dream.
The MealLogger app is free, and customized packages for dietitian feedback are available, Norman said.
For more about prices of MealLogger, visit tulsaworld.com/nutritiontulsa
Jason Ashley Wright 581-8483 email@example.com
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