16 Food Allergy Apps to Help You Avoid Allergic Reactions
The Best Food Allergy Apps
For those who have food allergies, it’s critical to avoid foods that can trigger symptoms.
Food allergy sufferers face a wide range of symptoms from anaphylactic shock, to hives, gastrointestinal distress and even nasal congestion and reduced sleep quality. Grocery shopping and eating out can be landmines for these people.
What’s makes it even harder is that food manufacturers often give alternative names to common ingredients. This makes the simple act of buying food a massive challenge for allergy sufferers.
Food Labels Can Be Misleading
Here’s an example of how just confusing food labels can be.
Eggs can be listed on labels as albumin, globulin, livetin, ovomucin and phosvitin. Milk ingredients can be listed as ammonium caseinate, casein, lactalbumin, and lactoferrin. You almost need a scorecard to keep up with all the names!
Here are a couple of examples for people living with dairy allergies.
The wax on fruits and vegetable is often derived from casein, a milk product. Some seasonings can contain milk. These are just a few examples of why people with allergies must carefully read labels.
Mobile Apps Make Shopping and Dining Out Safer
Luckily, now there are some great mobile apps that make things much easier for food allergy sufferers.
Here are a few examples of how these apps can help you avoid the foods you’re allergic to.
- You can scan food labels with an app while you’re shopping, to alert you of potential allergens.
- For cooks, apps help you quickly find substitutions for foods that cause sensitivity
- Apps help you track your symptoms and allow you to share them with your physician
- There are even apps to find allergy-friendly restaurants
If you have food allergies, check out these helpful apps and breathe a little easier.
Food Substitution Apps
This food allergy app displays over 1300 ingredient substitutions, including specific brand recommendations for particular allergies. Whether you have gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free or egg-free dietary restrictions, Substitutions can help you find great alternatives to include in your recipe.
For migraine sufferers, the app provides a list of foods to avoid because of their potential to induce these horrible headaches.
And Substitutions isn’t just for allergy-suffers. Vegans can find plant-based alternatives to common foods as well. There is even a version of vegan cheese made with cashews that’s perfect for both vegans and those with dairy allergies.
Note: the Substitutions app is included in an app suite that also has apps for conversions and cooking times.
Select your profile settings to avoid specific foods like peanuts, gluten and dairy. You can also apply filters to avoid artificial colour and sweeteners, MSG, peanut and more.
Using NxtNutrio is simple. Just locate and scan the barcode on the label of your chosen food. Here’s what happens next.
You’ll see a green circle displayed at the top of the app if the scanned food is allergen-free. A yellow ring means use caution. When a red circle displays, the food is a no-go. You’ll see a list of alternative foods displayed in that case.
NxtNutrio integrates with Apple’s Health app if you’d like to track your weight, water consumption, food choices and activities through the app.
The Smart Chef suite of apps contains a food substitute guide, a dictionary of cooking terms and a kitchen calculator. You’ll find alternatives for over 400 foods, including gluten-free, dairy, baking, spices and more.
KitchenSwaps Lite’s database contains over 1300 ingredient substitutions and equivalencies. But there is a big catch. The free version of the app only displays the first substitution in the list. If you want to view more than one suggestion on the list, you must upgrade to the $0.99 paid version.
The interface is rather primitive. But for the budget-minded, Kitchen Swaps Lite is a good choice.
Grocery Shopping Apps
Set your user preferences to filter out any manufactured food products that contain allergenic ingredients. Next, browse by keywords to find foods that fit your criteria. (For example, breakfast cereals.)
EIYC even searches for allergy-friendly salty or sweet snacks, breakfasts, desserts or cookies.
This app contains a built-in barcode scanner to weed out any allergenic foods. Spoon Guru also sends allergy-friendly recipes directly to your phone (which is a massive time saver.)
My Food Facts
Use the My Food Facts app to scan food label barcodes. You’ll instantly receive an easy-to-read, searchable list of ingredients to alert you about any allergy triggers.
For those with food allergies who like to cook, the following apps can help you find allergen-free recipes.
Enter any foods you’re allergic to into the app. Next, select dishes that appeal to you. (Yummly then remembers your preferences.)
The next time you open the app, Yummly finds similar recipes to the ones you’ve favoured. An especially nice feature of Yummly is the integrated grocery list.
Youmiam is a combination of a recipe app and a community. Set up your profile to avoid recipes containing your allergens. If there are particular foods you dislike, you can also filter them out of the results.
Provide the app with your level of cooking expertise (beginner, intermediate or expert), and it returns suggestions based on your skill level. You might see a few recipes in French, as the app is based in France.
Important to note: The “Staff Picks” tab won’t always filter out your allergens. In this case, you’ll see “The following recipes don’t include your food preferences” displayed in a green banner.
Stick to the “Recommended” tab to be safe.
Avoiding certain foods and finding recipes that avoid allergens is only part of the equation. Many with food allergies also find it useful to track their symptoms as well.
If you suspect certain foods trigger your symptoms, then a tracking app can double as your allergy journal.
It allows you to record what you eat (and when) and also track any symptoms you experience. If you consistently note the same signs after eating specific foods, then follow up with a doctor for further allergy testing.
These symptom tracking apps will definitely help you get a handle on your symptoms.
This allergy app bills itself as “your personal diary for keeping track of your food and symptoms.” If you accidentally miss tracking a meal, you’ll receive a reminder notification. Foody features predictive text, so you don’t have to keep re-typing the same foods in your diary.
Rate the intensity of your reaction to avoid trigger food in the future. Export your food diary via PDF to share with your nutritionist or physician.
Designed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease sufferers in mind, this app bills itself as a “Food, Mood & Poop Tracker.”
Don’t let the label scare you off. The Cara app tracks all your foods and symptoms, as well as your mood, stress levels and medications. This helps you identify patterns when your symptoms are apt to be at their worst.
Cara also suggests substitutions for foods that trigger your symptoms. Export your food diary via PDF for your health practitioner.
The mySymptoms app features a food journal as well as mood and symptom tracking. View suspected trigger foods, trends and correlations in the Food Analysis tab. The more you track your meals, the better analysis you’ll receive. Export your data for later review by your healthcare provider.
Like to dine out? Then check out these restaurant apps custom made for those with food allergies.
Eating out is a challenge for food allergy sufferers. Few menus list all the ingredients in their dishes. And although restaurants take food allergies seriously, cross-contamination of dishes with allergens does happen occasionally.
That’s why apps that help food-sensitive diners find restaurants to accommodate their special needs is most welcome. The drawback to these apps is that they tend to be location-specific. (For example, available for U.S. or U.K. users only.)
Before you dine out, pick up one of these restaurant apps custom-made for those with food allergies.
This U.S.-based app has been around since 2010. AllergyEats claims to be “the leading guide to food allergy-friendly restaurants around the United States.” Read reviews by diners, or add your own reviews to the community and share them to social media.
Over 850,000 U.S. restaurants are listed and rated in the app, including Allergy Eats picks for the most allergy-friendly restaurant chains.
This free app tracks 33 common allergens found in restaurant meals, including milk, egg, shellfish and peanuts, and also advises allergy-friendly dining options. If you have particular dietary restrictions (for example, keto, vegan or kosher), DineSafe will locate a restaurant catering to your preferences.
Restaurants can also submit menus to be uploaded to the app database. This makes it handy for diners who want to check restaurant menus before they venture out.
Find top-rated restaurants, food products, allergy doctors with Spokin. Follow users with the same allergies as you have to see their recommendations.
Spokin’s hidden allergen feature discovers allergy triggers in food products and menu items.
This app is a godsend for travellers with food allergies. Create profiles for family members with food allergies. The app translates 622 different food allergies into local tongues (including a warning message to show wait staff.)
Currently, the app supports French, German and Spanish, but more languages are in the works. All translations are by native speakers.
Profiles are stored locally on the app, so you’ll be able to use AllergyFT without a WiFi connection.
What are your favourite apps for dealing with food allergies?
What food allergy apps have you found useful for dealing with your food allergies? Please leave a comment below and let us know!
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