Monday, April 9, 2012

Food Allergies? There’s an App for That!

by Kelley Lindberg

Got a smart phone or iPad? Then you probably have a screen full of favorite apps. They make our lives a little easier, our errands a little faster, and our time-wasters a little more fun. They can also make living with food allergies a little more manageable.

Here are a few food-allergy-related apps I’ve found that seem to be helpful. I haven’t tried them all yet, but I’m working my way through them. There are plenty more food allergy apps where these came from, so go to your favorite app store and search for whatever you need – from cooking, to shopping, to eating out, to traveling, there’s an app for that! And if you have a favorite food allergy app that I haven’t listed, let us know about it by posting a Comment.
  • Myfoodfacts (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, $1.99) – With this shopping tool, you personalize your food allergen alerts, then use your iPhone camera to scan product label barcodes to search ingredients for your allergens. If a food allergen is found, the app alerts you. It covers food products in the U.S. now, but future releases will include Canada, Europe and other countries, as well as other smartphones.
  • Restaurant Nutrition (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Free, but a paid version has more features)  – This app provides nutritional info for food at chain restaurants. It notes if the restaurants provide allergy info. You can customize the allergy info so that foods that contain any or all of the Top 8 allergens won’t be displayed for that restaurant, so you can see if there is anything you can eat at that restaurant.
  • AllergyEatsMobile (Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Free) – This is the app version of the website, where users write reviews of restaurants and their food-allergy friendliness. You can click a “Find Restaurants Near Me” button, or type in a location to find restaurants elsewhere. Because their information is created by users, some cities in the U.S. have more reviews than others. You can also log in and rate restaurants yourself.
  • Cook It Allergy Free (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, $4.99) – Includes lots of recipes that you can customize to avoid your allergens, and it even suggests safe substitutions for recipe ingredients. You can add your own notes to the recipes, save your customized recipes, and create a grocery list of ingredients for a recipe.
  • Allergy Translator (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, $1.99) – Translates your food allergies and requirements into other languages, so you can show the translated screen to your restaurant server when traveling in other countries. Lets you choose from 45 allergens and 33 languages.
  • SelectWisely Allergy Cards (iPhone and iPod Touch) – I’ve used Select Wisely translation cards for years – they are wallet-sized cards that list your allergies and a warning message in the language you choose. Now you can order the same card and have it on your iPhone. Contact Select Wisely directly for cost and more information.
  • EMNet findER (Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Free) – Finds the nearest emergency room with one click, and lets you display directions.

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