The month in between Thanksgiving dinner and the ball dropping in Times Square might as well be called the Superbowl of Food. From boozy office parties to cookie swaps—not to mention all the candy—there’s an endless supply of sweet treats. Eating healthy quickly becomes an afterthought, unless you have someone to be your clean eating cheerleader.
That’s exactly what you get with Rise, an app that pairs users with a virtual nutritionist. We’re not talking Siri-style artificial intelligence—there’s a registered dietician on the other end of the line (er, smartphone). All you have to do is snap a photo and write a brief description of every meal and snack. The next day, your nutrition coach reviews all of your meals and gives suggestions for changes to make. The app’s interface is beautifully designed and easy to navigate—plus, it sends push notifications to remind you to log meals.
When you first download the app, you answer a set of questions and define your goals (losing weight, keeping diabetes in check, lowering blood pressure). And then you’re paired with a nutrition coach based upon the things you’re trying to achieve.
We started by saying we wanted to shed those few extra pounds and evaluate if our eating habits were actually healthy. Day one, we figured we’d be in for a scolding when we pigged out on nachos instead of eating a handful of almonds. But our nutrition coach was always so positive and suggested simple and easy changes that we could stick to. By logging all of our meals, our undying love for good ole mayonnaise quickly became apparent. So our nutrition coach recommended we swap out mayo for mustard. We even asked about our allergies that had been acting up with the change of the seasons, and her recommendation of a daily teaspoon of local honey had us breathing (and sleeping) easier in days.
Taking a photo of every meal you eat changes the way you look at food. For starters, our meals began to look a lot more Pinterest-worthy. But we also found ourselves making healthier choices—like using all natural peanut butter instead of the processed stuff—because we knew someone else would be keeping us accountable. (It’s just like the student trying to impress the teacher.) When the hors d’oeuvres start flowing at parties this holiday season, we know we’re equipped with the strongest shield of all: our very own healthy eating guru in our back pocket.