What Is It?

The Eatery, from Massive Health, is a social food tracking app. Rather than focusing specifically on calorie counting, you take a photo of what you’re eating, (optionally) provide a description and then rate how fit or fat you think it is.

Other users also rate your meal (and like/comment) giving you an average score out of 100. It also has some nice features, like a weekly review feature telling you how you compared to the rest of the user population and key stats including where you eat most (and least) healthily and the healthiness of your meals by time of day. The latter is especially helpful to pinpoint the mid-afternoon vending machine visits that are derailing you…

Screenshot of The Eatery dashboard

The Eatery Dashboard

My Experience of the App

I’ve been using the app since last October and recently hit 1000 items recorded (milestone prompting me to write up some reflections). For those of who have instantly done the maths and your reaction is “Stop eating 6 meals a day and you’ll lose some weight!”, bear in mind that drinks are also recorded 😉

Overall it’s easy to use, intuitive & nicely designed, though could be a little speedier. Sometimes there’s a bit of a delay between snapping a photo and getting to describe/rate, but it is getting slicker with every update. Adding the ability to retrospectively add meals if you forgot to take a photo has been a most excellent addition for 2012.

Key Thoughts

  • It helps to combat “all or nothing” thinking: a bad choice is a blip rather than the beginning of a binge. A great improvement on just “good day” vs “bad day” approach many of us default to.
  • Since it is SO much less laborious (just snap & rate) than detailed calorie counting, it is easier to keep tracking.
  • The community rating aspect is great – gives you a reality check on what you’re eating – and although some folks have some funny ideas about what is (un)healthy, the average tends to be pretty good.
  • Whilst you might argue the opinion of a crowd of strangers is not exactly reliable, I find I object to calorie counting apps for the same reason – since I mainly eat non-prepackaged food, I find it hard to trust the calorie estimates since diff apps vary so much.
  • Some of the little gamification elements help you stay consistent – the quirky “streak” messages from Andrew Carman are particularly awesome.

All in all, one of the most helpful health apps I’ve found – and certainly the one I’ve used most consistently for the longest!