The great thing about any type of packaged food is that you can flip it around and check the nutrition information. The same doesn’t hold true for when you cook yourself, or even when you’re dining out. Food Builder is a neat, ad-free, Android app that gives you nutritional information for what you’re about to eat. Now this isn’t some magic app that lets you take a picture of your food and analyzes the photo to give you a list of the ingredients that went into making it and then gives you the nutrition information. You have to enter the ingredients yourself, manually, elbow-grease style. It comes with many pre-added ingredients that you can just select from the relevant category so that definitely speeds things up. Each food you add is a ‘plate’ and at the end, you get general nutrition information for it.
Launch the app and tap the blank list to add your first plate. Give your ‘Plate’ a name. There are two ways to add ingredients; use the search bar at the top and then select and ingredient from those listed. For each ingredient, you have to enter the quantity it’s used in, in gram units. Alternatively, you can tap the action bar to open the navigation drawer and see the list of ingredient categories. Tap a category and select an ingredient from it. Enter the quantity and repeat until you’ve added all your ingredients to the plate.
Once you’ve added all your ingredients, tap the arrow on the actin bar and view your completed plate. Swipe up to get nutrition information for the whole plate.
The pre-added ingredients are a modest list of common items used in food but if you find you need to add an ingredient that the app doesn’t have in its own lists, you can add the ingredient to your personal database. When you add the ingredient, you will have to enter nutrition information for it yourself.
My one beef with this otherwise awesome app is the units of measurement; it keeps asking for quantity in grams and most recipes that you read online will have ingredients in cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons. There’s no way to factor those in, not even to estimate the quantity. This means that if I’m adding a teaspoon of oregano to something, I have to weight it first? Admittedly, if the app tries to guess or estimate the quantity in grams for anything, the nutrition information will be slightly off so the work around to this is tough.