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The Family's Favorite Recipe But Healthier

An app that teaches all cooks how to make their own recipes healthier.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

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"CalCutter - An app for cooks from all walks of life."                          

This app developed by the NYC Dept. of Health allows one to enter their own recipe and the intended number of servings, and it then calculates the estimated calories per serving.  If one wants CalCutter can convert the recipe into a lower-calorie dish by suggesting changes.  The changes include alternative ingredients, healthier cooking methods and smaller portion sizes.  The new recipe can be saved and shared with family and friends via email.  (from NYC DOH website.)

CalCutter is a free app which connects users to information that helps them to make healthy dietary choices.

Press Release, 2013 - The NYC Dept. of Health Launches CalCutter


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Photo of Veronica Borges

Seems like a great idea! It's interesting that they focus on low-calorie substitutions instead of healthier substitutions in general. I played with the application, adding a cookie recipe with granulated sugar, whole milk, and butter. It suggested that I use less sugar, butter and low-fat milk but did not suggest using almond milk, coconut sugar or ghee. It would be a great addition to the application if it informed of substitutions, that while might not be less calories, would be better for your health.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Veronica. Thanks for your comment!
Interesting discussion on what is healthy. I think the main focus with this app is to decrease the calories per serving in a recipe. It is the excess calories that increases weight and that is the health risk. So substituting, unless it decreases calories, is not healthier in this scenario. As an example - 12 ounces of soda and 12 ounces of fruit juice have about the same number of calories, due to grams of sugar. One might be processed and one natural but the overall health risk is the same when consumed in excess. Does that make sense?
Here is a great resource.
Do you use nutrition apps? Are there apps that provide information on the differences between cow''s milk, soy milk, almond milk - for example? I would find that useful.

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Photo of Scott Shirbin

Such a cool idea. Sets the groundwork for a much more sophisticated app.. E.g. Allowing users to add foods they maybe allergic to and get recommendations for other options.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Nice Scott!
I think this app allows folk to be creative as they get information.
What other tasks that we do in our daily lives can we get creative with, change up, to improve our health? and can an app help?

Photo of Mithra Vankipuram

This is very interesting. I have learnt a lot about substitutions from my 2 years of being a vegan. It takes a lot of effort to write down non-american recipes, such as indian recipes. I will try it out and see what it tells me.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel


Photo of Shilpa Mandhan

Hi Bettina! Fantastic share - I'm going to try and use this app as I am often looking for ways to make recipes healthier! Have you used it?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Shilpa. Thanks for the comment!
No, I am not really a cook so I have not tried it- yet. Would love to hear about your experience trying it out! I found the app on the NYC Dept. of Health website last year when I went looking for some health education resources. I am a pediatrician. I thought it was awesome that the health dept. developed several free smart phone apps for the public.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Thanks OpenIDEO!

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Congrats on this post being today's Featured Contribution!