Myfitnesspal seems to be the fitness world’s default calorie counter, and I can’t figure out any good reason why. It force-feeds you ads and articles while you’re trying to log your food, puts your exercise calories into an equation at the top of the screen (not a great way to track, honestly), and its food database is a minefield of inaccurate listings. There are better apps out there, and my favourite is one of the lesser known: Cronometer.
One of the biggest reasons why I love it: you can use the app without obsessing over energy intake. Myfitnesspal puts your calories for the day right at the top of the home screen, and the whole app seems to be built around the assumption that you’re trying to lose weight. But if you just want to eat better while maintaining or gaining some muscle mass, Cronometer allows you to pay less attention to your calories.
Instead, when I open Cronometer, I see bar graphs (accompanied by teeny tiny numbers) for my calories and macronutrients—protein, carbs, fat—for the day. A feature in the paid version lets me track my protein per meal. Swipe to the next screen and you can see a different view that shows how well you’re meeting your “targets” for the day. Calories don’t have to be involved; mine currently include fibre, added sugars, protein, and a few vitamins.
Basically, I like Cronometer because it lets me track what I want to track, and feels much less like an extension of diet culture. It doesn’t bug me with constant notifications, nor does it have a tab full of articles on low-cal snacks and why I’m not spending enough time in nature. Yes, it’s a food tracking app, and the act of tracking food can itself be problematic. But it seems to be one of the less bad ways to do it.