Apps may help kids make healthier food choices

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Too much time in front of the TV, computer, even smartphones is often named as a factor contributing to childhood obesity.

But there is one way a smartphone can help kids make smarter choices about eating.

Apps can make it easier for children to make healthier choices.

With a seemingly endless array of tempting and oversized portions, it is not always easy to make the best choices when you eat.

But, a growing number of weight-loss apps may help, especially for kids.

Deborah Sanchez said it worked with her daughter, Alannah.

"You try everything as a mom to make them healthy, healthy eating, we watched our portions, but she still seemed to increase in weight," Sanchez said.

Alannah found a weight-loss app that groups foods as either red, yellow or green. The idea is to easily identify unhealthy "red" foods. It is almost like a game.

"I've switched to smaller plates and I've switched to lighter cheese," Alannah said. "You have to watch your portions a lot."

"Weight-loss apps are like a modern-day food journal," registered dietitian Ann Dunaway said. "You can take them with you everywhere you go so they're really convenient. Research has shown that by keeping track of your food and what you eat and drink makes you more mindful of it and therefore you're more able to lose weight."

And if a child or family needs additional help, some apps offer coaching, usually at a fee.

But for now, Alannah says the app is helping her.

"And now I'm more aware of what I'm gonna eat," she said.

Sanchez said it has made it easier for her, as well

"It's just really taken all of the fighting over food away from me and all I have to do is guide her and remind her," she said.

The app Alannah uses is called kurbo, but there are several and some may be more helpful than others for kids.