The Best Apps for Gluten-Free
Let your smartphone do the work for you
Smartphones are our constant companions, and with them, the convenience of apps. For both people on medically restricted diets and people wondering if they should be, such apps are a time- and sanity-saver. With gluten intolerance or celiac, it’s crucial to know what is and isn’t safe for you to eat, and good apps can help you with that.
Of course, a smartphone or the internet is incapable of diagnosing a person with a gluten-related food disorder and prescribing a gluten-free diet. A good symptom tracking app can be worth its weight in gold, though, as it provides an easy and convenient way to track what food and how the body reacts to it. Here are some great apps to check out:
mySymptoms Food Diary & Symptom Tracker an app available on Android & Apple: This useful app comes in both a free (lite) and a paid version (full). Users generally find that the lite version is sufficient for their tracking needs. Aside from tracking what you ate, mySymptoms also allows you to track customizable symptoms and other environmental factors, including sleep, stress, and exercise.
Beyond that, the app assists you in analyzing the relationship between certain foods and symptoms. The longer you track, the better your insights will be. Diary entries can be printed for easy sharing with your medical care team, making your diagnostic journey simpler and more accurate.
Cara Care, an app available on Android & Apple: The design of this app is to help individuals with IBS or IBD. Since these are both gut disorders, there’s a lot of overlap in symptoms when you’re concerned about the possibility of celiac or gluten sensitivity.
Cara Care allows you to track symptoms and food quickly and easily, though with less editability than mySymptoms. Free for use, this is a good app for starting to understand the relationship between your food and your symptoms.
Interested in taking it one step further? This app provides in-app purchases to connect to real-life, registered dieticians to help you on your food journey.
Once you start eating gluten-free, you realize that gluten is everywhere. Reading labels is crucial to keep your gut healthy, but it can be very time-consuming and monotonous. Check out these apps that can give you a leg up on your next trip to the grocery store.
The Gluten Free Scanner, an app available on Android & Apple: Use your phone’s camera to give an item’s bar code a quick scan and The Gluten Free Scanner will tell you if it’s gluten-free or not. With over half a million products and growing in their database, this is a handy app to have in your pocket.
The regular version of this is free and provides you full access to the scanning functionality. Further perks like directly searching a gluten-free database and lists of safe/unsafe ingredients are available in the full version for $3.99.
ShopWell, an app available on Android & Apple: Enter your dietary goals, allergies, and likes or dislikes before scanning food barcodes with this app and receive feedback on how well that food will meet your needs. This free app has a smaller database than our previous entry, but that’s offset by the fact that the scanner results are tailored for you.
As a nice bonus, once you create lists of foods that fit your tastes and needs, they’re shareable with family and friends. The next time someone asks, “What can I have available for you to eat?” you can have an exact answer!
SideChef, an app available on Android & Apple: SideChef helps revamp your entire eating experience when you need to go gluten-free. Essentially a meal planner on steroids, SideChef allows you to set diet restrictions and preferences before suggesting recipes for you. Once recipes are selected, easily compile a shopping list and even start your next Walmart trip all through the app.
This is a free app but does contain in-app purchases ranging from $0.99-49.99 to get you past a paywall and into “premium” recipes. However, most users find the free version is plenty.
Eating Out Gluten-Free
Going to restaurants to eat while on a gluten-free diet can be difficult at the best of times, so why not make it easier on yourself? With these apps in your pocket, save time and increase convenience when looking for a place to eat.
Find Me Gluten-Free, an app available on Android & Apple: By far the most popular app for finding gluten-free friendly restaurants, Find Me Gluten-Free uses the popular crowd-sourcing model specifically for those who need to avoid gluten. With locations and reviews inputted by fellow gluten-free users, it feels like a community as well as an easy source for celiac- and gluten sensitivity-safe eating.
For a free app, it comes with some pretty great services. The development team constantly adds new businesses, menus are available for many locations, and you have phone numbers and directions at your fingertips. Users say this is the easiest way to find gluten-free friendly establishments without all the stress.
Yearly subscription plans are available for single users ($19.99) or for families ($29.99). These plans give access to premium filters, including Most Celiac Friendly, Open Now, and By Direction, each designed to make your search increasingly user-friendly.
Gluten-Free Restaurant Cards, an app available on Apple only: This app has one, extremely important function: help you easily, clearly, and politely inform restaurants of your dietary needs. If you love to travel, this app will be extra handy as it offers this information in over 40 languages so you can feel secure that you’re getting your message across correctly. Whether you use it as a quick refresher before speaking to waitstaff or use the cards directly, this free app is a gem to keep on you.
Not an Apple user? Try CeliacTravel.com, the website this app pulls cards from.
Think Smarter, Not Harder
Your phone goes with you everywhere, so you may as well put it to work helping you navigate gluten-free needs in a heavily gluten-containing world. Each of these apps will help lift the load that comes with checking, double-checking, and triple-checking gluten content everywhere you go. Whether you grab one or all of these apps, they will be an investment in the healthy future of you and your guts.