I use the CRON-O-Meter web app on my laptop to track what I’m eating and make sure I’m getting enough nutrients in my diet. I’ve been using it consistently for about 2 weeks and am finding it very helpful so far.
What I like about CRON-O-Meter:
- It has a large database of food items and their nutrient profiles. I expected them to have information for generic foods, such as bananas or carrots. But, I was pleasantly surprised that they also have a lot of brand-specific items in their database. For instance, I can enter “Late July, Organic Multigrain Tortilla Chips, Sea Salt flavor” instead of just “tortilla chips.” This makes me more confident in the accuracy of my food entries.
- I can add my own recipes or create custom foods, so it’s not an issue calculating the nutrient profiles of dishes I cook at home. Now, estimating how much of each ingredient I used when I don’t measure what I’m cooking, that’s another story…
- Their data visualizations are colorful and helpful! Some metrics are displayed as progress bars with percentages of the target amount. Others are represented in circles and pie charts. What I like is that their data viz is conducive to goal motivation and making healthier choices. For example, at the end of the day when I’m deciding on a late night snack, I can look at what I ate earlier and see what effect certain snacks will have on my nutrient levels for the day. So, if I’m low on carbs and high on fat, I might choose a banana over a handful of chocolate chips.
Where CRON-O-Meter could be improved:
There’s this one task that annoys me every time, which is copying and pasting a meal from a previous day. It’s more involved than it needs to be, as you’ll see in the video below.
My other primary pain point, which isn’t directly related to the app interface, is estimating how much of a food I eat. Most mornings, I make the same oatmeal for breakfast, which I can easily measure and then track. But for dinner, I like to get creative and switch things up. I’m usually winging it in the kitchen, adding a little bit of this and an extra pinch of that, until the dish tastes how I like it.
I end up “eyeballing” how much of each ingredient I’m using, so I can “create a recipe” later in CRON-O-Meter. Even though it’s not the most accurate tracking method, for me, it’s close enough. I’m not on a strict diet anyways or trying to follow doctors’ orders; I’m just trying to get a better idea of what nutrients I’m getting (or lacking).
Overall, I’m really enjoying the free CRON-O-Meter web app to help me make better food choices. After my first full week tracking my meals on the app, I used their “Trends” nutrition report so I could note any nutrients that were on average too low (or high).
Then, I looked up rich sources of those nutrients and used this information to plan my groceries for the week. Not surprisingly, I found that my diet could use a few more servings of dark leafy greens!
As I continue to course-correct and analyze my stats, I hope to develop a set of meals that’ll satisfy all my dietary needs. Over time, I’ll probably think of more reasons to like the app and ways to improve the experience.