TECHNOLOGY is often blamed for increasing obesity rates, but an Eastern Health dietitian says it could also play an important role in living well.
Angliss Hospital dietitian Mel Myers said popular apps available on phones and tablet devices helped people maintain a healthy lifestyle in the midst of their busy lives.
On February 1, as part of Healthy Weight Week, dietitians from the Angliss, Box Hill and Maroondah hospitals, as well as Wantirna Health and the Peter James Centre, will show off some of the best smartphone apps for healthy eating.
Ms Myers said apps should be used in conjunction with professional advice and now is the ideal time to review diet.
"It's the new year, there is warmer weather and people have high expectations and make goals that aren't realistic. What we can offer is support and advice to ensure they not only make realistic goals, but do so in a healthy manner."
Food Tracker is a favourite app of Ms Myers' because of its accessibility. Users scan what they are eating and the food is given a rating — green for good, amber for OK and red for bad. She recommended downloading Food Switch, which analyses the fat, energy and salt content of foods and then recommends a better option.
However, people needed to remember that food wasn't the only part of being healthy.
"These apps are mostly counting calories and you can make up your daily intake of calories with unhealthy food. It doesn't consider food groups or exercise." She also stressed the importance of families supporting each other's healthy eating — "it's good to have all the family involved and set a good example for the children".
As parents prepare for the new school year, Ms Myers suggests keeping lunchboxes fun and interesting — "healthy food doesn't have to be boring". She suggested things such as fruit or vegetable kebabs, plain popcorn and fruit icypoles.
People can visit Eastern Health dietitians on February 1 from noon in the foyers of Eastern Health. Details: 9764 6231.