It's hard to have accountability with your diet unless you have the right information. That's why I'm always thrilled when my clients decide to use macro trapping apps. As a nutritionist, I see the way that we can all easily overestimate, underestimate, or be oblivious to how much we're really taking in. I also know that all calories are not created equal.
"Consistent tracking is a significant predictor of weight loss," according to a 2017 clinical analysis. Macro counting allows you to get the right calorie amounts from the right sources for optimal health, muscle mass, and fat burning. I want to introduce you to the concept of counting macros to easily micromanage your diet!
Quick Table of Our Top Rated Apps For Macro Tracking
1st Phorm App
Yes, one of the best databases
Personal nutrition coach (use code FHM to choose me), Training / workout programs, daily task list, live streams, food analysis
Yes, outstanding database
Yes, it's the best free macro tracking app hands down
$6.67/mo (use code FHM10 for 10% off annual subscription)
Free barcode scanner, adjust food portions based on macros, export data to excel sheet, customizable daily macro goals
Yes, a great database
Yes, be ready for ads everywhere
Diet and exercise journal, food analysis, meals and recipes
Yes, free trial
$4.16/mo (billed annually)
Ad free, diary, fasting timer, recipe sharing, custom biometrics
Macro Tracker Keto Diet App
Yes in premium version
Yes, free trial
Personal health coach, articles, recipes, macro calculator
Food & Macro Tracker By Fittur
Yes in premium version
Yes, free trial
Recipes and coaching
Lifebase Macro App
Yes in premium version
Yes, free trial
Nutrition coaching, recipes, and more
Lose It! Food Tracker App
Yes in premium version
Yes, free trial
Water tracking, patterns and reports
Why Use an App to Track Your Macros?
Macros are the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates you consume. Why track macros? Counting macros is one of the best ways to ensure that you're eating the right ratio of nutrients. Counting can help you to maintain a healthy weight without diving into deprivation or deficiencies. In addition, getting the right macro balance can help you to get the energy you need for vibrancy to do the workouts you want to do to get fit without bottoming out. The point that I really want to make clear is that macro tracking is about knowledge and empowerment instead of shame.
What's a Good Price for a Macro Tracking App?
It's pretty amazing that we live in a time when you can enjoy an advanced, intuitive system that tracks your macros for you for just a few dollars a month. One of the reasons why I often recommend macro tracking apps to my clients is that they can help you to get much better results from your diet plan. That means that using a high-quality app makes every dollar that you spend on healthy food or a gym membership actually go further. I think a good price point for a tracking app is $12.99 per month. While there's some wiggle room in either price direction, the bottom line is that a good app is important if you're serious about making changes.
What to Look For
I've seen what works after watching my clients use different tracking apps. Apps aren't just calculators. They are true databases and resources that allow you to control what you're eating. Let me cover a few points to have on your must-have list.
Food Tracking Database for Easy Scanning
Don't underestimate this feature. Getting a library of nutritional information is as easy as scanning labels with your phone. This is so powerful for being able to make good decisions.
Macro/Nutrition Coaches With Purchase
I like it when apps don't just leave you to figure it all out for yourself. While the technology of tracking apps will do a lot of the heavy lifting as far as counting and recording for you, there's no replacing human expertise when it comes to diet and nutrition. Many apps actually allow you to get one-on-one help from a nutrition coach capable of helping you create tailored eating plans.
Nobody is making serious strides with diet changes unless they're also feeling the burn. Something that I love about macro tracking is that it's so empowering because you're accounting for every bit of fuel that you take in. Tracking apps that include workouts and exercises help you keep all of your wellness planning in a single ecosystem that makes you more likely to actually follow through.
Success Stories From Real Users
As a nutritionist, success stories are what keep me motivated to do what I do. That's why I always attach extra importance to success stories from real users that are shared in reviews. It's always a great sign when a brand of any kind opens up their comment section or review page for ratings. Take some time to read reviews to get an idea of what you can expect.
The Eight Best Macro Tracking Apps
I know it can be hard to weed through all of the fitness apps out there. I promise you that a good macro trapping app is like nothing else you've used before. Here's my list of the seven best app.
#1: 1st Phorm App (Best Overall)
The 1st Phorm App is such a dynamic app. I recommend it strongly for busy people who don't have time to piece together a custom diet plan on their own because it puts an entire weight-loss ecosystem at your fingertips with a catalog of passive and interactive features. You're going to track apps, plan a personalized meal plan, follow along with all the best workouts, and get guidance from an advisor.
Let's start with the meal planning. This app gives you the ability to select a custom macro plan based on your goals and lifestyle. Your barcode scanner is connected to the world's largest database of food! You can also save custom meals that you like for easy tracking. The workouts alone make this app worth its weight in gold. You're tapping into EMOM interval training, cross training/functional fitness, strength training, traditional workouts, weight-loss workouts, and workouts tailored for home exercise. Your workouts are customized for tailored results. There's even a visual progress tracker that is incredible for keeping you motivated.
The thing that ties it all together to make this app such a powerful tool for success is direct personalized access to your own TransPHORMation advisor. Get direct support for any questions at any point of your journey. You're also getting encouragement, support, and knowledge that can help you to see incredible progress from daily livestreams from registered dietitians and NASM-certified nutrition specialists. You can also join your fellow macro counters in competitions with opportunities to win up to $50,000.
- Makes planning a custom meal plan so easy.
- You're tapped into the largest food database in the world. Just scan food to get information on practically anything!
- Incredible selection of cutting-edge relevant workouts for every type of fitness goal.
- You can message advisors directly.
- Livestreams are packed with helpful information.
- You can customize your experience every step of the way.
- I love the community aspect of the optional competitions.
- While I love the weekly assessment, I'd love it if it went just a little deeper because it's so valuable.
#2. MacrosFirst App (Best Free Macro Tracking App)
Use code FHM10 for 10% off the yearly subscription package!
MacrosFirst app is one of the easiest, most simplistic macro trackers out there but it contains some of the most powerful and intuitive features. The best part? They offer some of the most coveted macro tracking app features for free!
While MacrosFirst does offer a paid version of their app, they give so much value in their free app that thousands of macro trackers have made the switch over to MacrosFirst and are unlikely to go back. Two of the biggest pain points for macro trackers are tedious macro math and back-and-forth serving size adjustments and manually entering foods into the database.
MacrosFirst tackles both of these problems in the free version of the app by offering the ability to auto-calculate food portions based on your macros. This means no more macro math and adjusting portions endlessly to try to get them to fit your macros. This feature is exclusive to MacrosFirst and is one that’s making tracking exponentially easier.
Furthermore, they have a Smart Label Scanner that instantly scans your nutrition label and automatically populates the nutrition information in the app for you - no more manual entries! These features and benefits are unheard of on other free apps, making this both the best free and premium app on the market.
Of course, if you’re willing to shell out a few extra bucks each month to upgrade to the premium version of the app, you’ll enjoy even more benefits like the ability to adjust your macros by the day. So for those of us who like to carb cycle or utilize high/low-calorie days, the premium version of the app makes it a breeze to customize your macros in so many different ways, making it well worth the upgrade.
- Simple, clean interface that’s easy to use
- Not bloated with ads and extras
- Auto-calculate food portions based on your macros
- A great database of foods that’s ever-expanding
- Free premium scanning tool that auto-populates nutrition information for you
- Ability to edit your daily goals based on your macro needs (with the paid version)
- Very low monthly cost for the paid version of the app
- It’s not fully integrated with all fitness trackers yet
- There’s no body weight tracking option yet - coming soon!
Coupon code: FHM10
I wanted to be sure I threw in a freebie for you because I do truly believe that health information shouldn't have gates around it. Of course, it's important to know that free apps in any genre tend to have limitations that make it hard to get exactly what you need. However, I am impressed with the basic tools for macro tracking offered by MyFitnessPal. This can be a great app if you're simply looking for a way to start getting familiar with how to count macros without necessarily creating a comprehensive plan for a lifestyle edit.
My favorite part about this app is its database of more than 14 million foods. You can scan barcodes, save meals, store recipes, and track what you're consuming. The app even throws in some great recipes for you to use. Unfortunately, this app doesn't provide any access to nutrition experts when you have questions. However, I do like that you can chat with a live community 24/7. The only thing to keep in mind is that other people on the same journey as you aren't necessarily experts on counting and balancing macros.
- Simple to use.
- Nutritional database is helpful.
- Barebones features.
- No access to dietitians or experts.
- More of a food diary with the perk of access to nutrition information.
#4: Cronometer (Best for Diet Support)
Cronometer is a really dynamic app for focusing on "whole" nutrition. You're also getting a very professional, polished experience that gives you confidence in your diet decisions. I am really impressed by the fact that Cronometer verifies every food submission for accuracy. This is something you'll never get with free macro tracking apps.
The personalized touches for creating custom foods, recipes, exercises, and biometrics create next-level accountability and personalization. This app also generates high-level reports for you that break down how your nutrients and biometrics correlate over time. You're also able to continuously tweak weight, macro, and nutrient targets for your specific goals. You can even customize your experience for keto, vegan, or doctor-recommended diets.
One feature that stood out to me is the fasting timer. So many of my clients are using intermittent fasting to sharpen their health at the moment. I can see how the fasting tool on here would be great for tracking fasting to watch its impact over time.
- Great way to log diet, exercise, and biometrics in one place.
- Reports and charting offer concrete ways to track your progress.
- Can be tweaked for special goals and diets.
- Loved by more than 5 millions users already.
- Food information is verified.
- No one-on-one support dietitians.
- While it's great at tracking your exercise, no workouts are provided.
#4: Macro Tracker - Keto Diet App
This is a niche macro tracker for people on keto diets. It was actually developed by someone on a keto diet looking for a simple way to focus solely on getting nutritional information for keto-friendly foods. What makes this app shine is that it offers a better method for inputting custom foods than other apps. In addition, it lets you decide between reusing foods as they were and modifying serving amounts.
This app also removes the guessing game of inputting food. One common problem with any type of food tracking app is that you're left to make a judgment call on whether you're eating a small, medium, or large banana. With Macro Tracker, you add information based on grams for a more precise way of measuring what you're eating. You can even alter the weight when adding a food saved in the system. The tracker automatically updates based on the weight you've selected.
- A streamlined app just for keto diets!
- Precise weight inputs.
- Design is a little primitive.
- Wasn't developed by nutritionists.
- No nutritional tips, guidance, or support.
- No community interactions.
#6: Food & Macro Tracker By Fittur
Food & Macro Tracker By Fittur is a next-generation app that takes you far away from the outdated "spreadsheet" style of tracking macros. This intuitive next-generation tracker updates your macro targets in real time as your body composition changes. You're empowered to make good food and exercise decisions based on personalized data. As you eat, you're watching food get subtracted from your macro targets. The app even adjusts for serving size. This is a user-friendly app with simple displays, finger-swipe controls, and automatic calculations. You can also plan your day's worth of meals in minutes.
You're not just tracking macros with this app. In fact, there are custom trackers for special health considerations. I love that Fittur lets you keep an accurate whole-health picture by providing a recipe macro calculator, water tracker, and intermittent fasting timer. You're also getting macro customization, a macro statistics tracker, weight charts, and more. This app even has special settings for tracking pregnancy macros and breastfeeding macros. In addition, it builds in diabetes-management tools. If you're sharing your fitness journey with others, you can encourage them to download the same app for food sharing with friends and family.
- Streamlined and intuitive interface and features.
- Lets you track macros for different stages of life, personal goals, and special health considerations.
- You can share foods with friends and family.
- Has 100% five-star reviews in the Apple App Store.
- Harder to use if you're basing your diet goals on BMI because it uses a proprietary system that takes personal stats into consideration.
#7: Lifebase Macro Exchange Tracker
This app stands out to me because it actually encourages you to use it while working with a nutrition coach. Most people who use the app download it after being guided toward it by their nutritionists and health coaches. If you're not working with a nutrition coach, Lifebase actually asks you to fill out a form to be directed to a coach or clinic that uses its platform. In fact, this platform is so advanced that it's not actually intended to be used unless you're being guided by a health coach.
Lifebase has developed its app to help aid healthy fat loss while boosting muscle gain. You'll start by meeting with a coach to measure your baseline body composition. This allows you to create a more accurate meal plan with better accountability when tracking your progress. The best part is that you're developing a personalized macro plan with the help of a coach who has actually analyzed your body weight and body composition.
While your coach won't be following you around for every meal, using the Lifebase app can feel like having your own food expert in your pocket whenever you're eating at home, at restaurants, or on the go. Lifebase uses artificial intelligence (AI) that provides a feedback score in real time for everything you eat. The system compares what you actually ate to your goals to help you pivot your habits in real time. You're also able to measure your body composition to track your success. It all comes together to help you see the real-time impact of the changes you're making.
- Focused on making real strides with fat loss and muscle gain.
- Creates a tailored plan based on your body composition.
- Uses AI to provide real-time feedback on what you're eating.
- You can only use this app when working with a professional coach.
- You have to be committed to adding data after every meal to keep steady real-time results.
#8: Lose It! Food Tracker for Weight Loss
Lose It! is actually a pioneering app for counting macros. While most people have only been talking about counting macros as part of mainstream dieting over the past two to five years, Lose It! actually launched in 2008. More than 40 million users have already started living healthier lives using this simple system.
Something I like about using an established app like this is that the team behind it has had 15 years to work out all the kinks to create a platform that actually fits the needs of its users. This is a user-friendly, no-nonsense tracker that can really enhance your diet efforts.
You start by simply filling out a profile with a goal weight. The app then calculates your calorie budget for you. Next, you're given all the tools you need to track food, weight, and activity. The app's convenient barcode scanner allows you to access the Lose It! database to track everything you've eaten.
This app's award-winning food log is incredible because you can just snap photos of what you eat instead of jotting down notes. As a nutritionist, I love that the emphasis isn't just on counting macros. You're also taking a full-health picture by tracking nutrients, water, sleepy cycles, and more. In fact, this is one of the only macro apps to recognize the important link between getting proper sleep and maintaining a healthy weight. You'll get tools to track patterns to begin to identify what's actually helping or hindering your progress. In addition to recipes and workout guides, this app also offers easy meal planning focused on hitting your targets for suggested calories and macros per meal based on your personalized goals.
- All the hiccups have been worked out of this established app.
- Photo-based food log makes updating your log a cinch!
- Great for tracking nutrients, water, sleep, and more.
- Very simple to create a personalized plan.
- Easy to sync to popular wearable trackers.
- The emphasis isn't necessarily on tracking macros even though this app can help with that.
Macro Tracking Apps vs Keto Apps
Macro tracking apps track protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Some will also track things like calories, water intake, exercise, and sleep. A macro tracker is designed for people eating what could be considered classic mainstream diets.
A keto app tracks the basic metrics that are crucial for maintaining a keto diet. This should include total carbs, net carbs, and fats. In addition, many keto tracker apps will also track your ketones, glycemic load, blood glucose, and insulin. Like macro tracking apps, keto apps can also provide things like recipes, workouts, and live chats with nutritionists.
Calorie Counting Apps vs Macro Tracker Apps
There's definitely some overlap with calorie apps and macro apps. However, they aren't necessarily interchangeable. Calorie counting apps focus on the number of calories being consumed instead of breaking down the categories that your calories are being counted in. This means you'll stick to a set number of calories per day to reach your goal weight based on factors like your weight, age, and activity level. Macro trackers break down your calorie consumption "pie chart" by protein, carbohydrates, or fat. Macro counting can help to create balance for shedding fat while maintaining lean muscle better than just focusing on anonymous calories.
The Bottom Line
Yes, I think everyone who is serious about getting to a goal weight should use a macro tracker app. This is a great tool for avoiding fad dieting. Counting macros can be more effective than counting calories because you're getting the balance to shed pounds while also feeding muscle tissue.
Macro App Tips for Success From the Nutritionist
Be consistent! That is really the trick to making a macro tracking app work for you. While the app can give you incredible tools and information to make the right choice with every bite, it can't make the choices for you. I also encourage you to make use of the metrics provided by these apps to look for how your failures and successes happen. There was a time when you could only get that kind of insight by paying thousands of dollars a year to work with nutritional professionals.
Lastly, my advice is to never view your food logs and "progress reports" as judgments. You don't have to do this perfectly. You just have to give it a perfect try!
How Do Macro Tracking Apps Work?
Macro tracking apps use your age, height, weight, and other information to help you set target goals for protein, fat, and carbohydrates. You'll then create custom meal plans to meet those goals. Macro apps make it easier to reach your goals by offering barcode scanners that allow you to analyze every food for its macro content.
How Do I Calculate My Macros?
Macro tracking apps calculate your macros for you after you add the foods you've eaten into the system. They pull from extensive databases to provide accurate macro assessments for every type of food.
How Much Should I Pay for a Macro Tracking App?
Pay what you think your health goals are worth! I tend to tell my clients that $12.99 is a great price point.
What Are the Health Benefits Associated With Tracking Macros?
Tracking macros can help people lose weight safely. Macro counting is an important tool for understanding where your calories are coming from. You can also get an idea of how the calories you're getting from different sources affect your body. Lastly, you can utilize the knowledge about how different calorie sources contribute to your goals to create a custom diet tailored to help you look and feel your fittest.
How We Chose the Best Macro Tracking Apps
We researched and tested highly rated macro tracking apps. We looked for apps that utilized the best technology to create a user-friendly interface offering personalized and accurate goal setting, tracking, and reports. We also took into consideration real user ratings, special features, and AI tools.