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Change one thing: The IoT meets New Year’s resolutions. Part 1: Healthy eating

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Welcome to our five-part series on New Year’s resolutions – with a little help from the Internet of Things, of course! Over the next few days we’ll tackle healthy eating, regular exercise, sleeping better, how to stop procrastinating, and tackling your finances. Part one: Healthy eating.

Committing to change: it’s a slow start

So now’s the time of year when I rouse myself reluctantly from a foody and boozy sodden stupor and vow to make some changes for the new year. Proper, life-altering, getting-to-the-core-of-what-it-means-to-be-my-best-and-most-wonderful-self changes. I really mean it this time.

To be honest, I’m pants at keeping New Year’s resolutions. It starts well enough. I will get into shape! I will eat more healthily! I will look for the best in people and not be such a cynical misery-guts! I will do all these things and more, and emerge from my over-indulged state a shining, miraculous being, capable of marvelous things! Yes I will!

No, I won’t. And probably, neither will you. Unless you’re one of those fortunate beings for whom self-improvement comes naturally, you’re unlikely to keep such grandiose resolutions alive for more than a few weeks. But that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. It just means we need to set achievable goals.

Change just one thing

So to borrow a slogan from one of the more realistic NY campaigns (I think it was from Boots): change one thing. Pick one goal. Alter one habit. Be specific. Be disciplined. Be realistic. This being an IoT blog, I’m on the look-out for devices that can help us keep these goals. The IoT can’t grant you willpower, but it might help in other ways. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at our first challenge: healthy eating.

The goal: I want to eat more healthily

Unsure where to begin? A good starting point is becoming aware of your current nutrition habits to identify where you’re already eating healthily, or where you might be guilty of some bad practices. Honesty is the key. Do you often choose unhealthy foods over fruit and veg? Or perhaps you find portion control difficult? Here are some devices and apps to help.

  • Fooducate: A useful tool for nutritional guidance, Fooducate is a database of more than 200,000 items. By scanning an item’s barcode you’ll get data about the ingredients, nutritional information and even suggestions for healthier alternatives. There are tracking tools for fitness, food and progress, plus grocery lists to help you stay on track.
  • HAPIfork: It takes time to feel full, so if you guzzle your food you’ll consume more than if you eat at a slower pace. HAPIfork lights up when you’re eating too quickly and connects to your smartphone too.
  • Vessyl Cup: Caffeine or sugar junkie? It helps to be aware. Vessyl analyses the liquids you put in it to help you keep track of what you’re drinking. It will tell you the calorie count, sugar / fat / caffeine content of what you’re drinking and synchronise the results to your smartphone to help you find healthier patterns.
  • TellSpec: A narky biotech product designed to dish the dirt on your meal’s nutritional demerits. Point it at your meal and get the results sent to your smartphone. A useful tool for people with allergies too.
  • SmartPlate: If manually counting calories turns you off, this might be for you. The 10-inch plate comes equipped with weight sensors and mini cameras to monitor how much you’re eating. It can connect to Fitbit to automatically link your consumption and exercise routines.

So there you have it – some IoT solutions to help you stay on track and commit to a healthier diet. Keep an eye open for the rest of our four-part series – tomorrow, we tackle regular exercise. Wish us luck!

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