How long can you keep chicken breasts in the fridge? Is that hamburger still safe if it’s been in the freezer for
6 months? Are those leftovers still good to eat?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has an app that aims to answer questions like these. FoodKeeper is
“the app that will help you store and cook your food properly,” the USDA says.
Users can search from a database of more than 400 food and beverage items to learn recommended storage timelines, cooking advice, food safety tips and more. For example, a search for ground beef will reveal that the
meat’s recommended storage life is 1-2 days in the refrigerator and 3-4 months in the freezer.
Users can utilize FoodKeeper to learn the USDA’s recommended cook times and temperatures. Type in “whole chicken,” and the app will recommend roasting the bird in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes per
pound or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. FoodKeeper also advises where to
insert the thermometer (the innermost part of the wing and thigh and the thickest part of the breast) and how
to roast a stuffed bird.
If users are unable to find what they’re looking for, they can use the app to ask the USDA a specific food safety question through Ask Karen, the USDA’s 24/7 support system. Most common questions have already been answered on the Ask Karen database, which is searchable and available in its entirety to app users.
Furthermore the app helps users keep track of what food in their kitchen is about to spoil. Simply tell FoodKeeper when you bought your fresh produce, meat or pantry staples, and you’ll receive a reminder when your food is approaching the end of its recommended usage life via your device’s calendar.
The app is free and available on Android tablets and smartphones in addition to Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
+Eat This Much
Eat This Much, a meal-planning site, has an app of the same name. The “virtual nutritionist and meal planner” app aims to make creating a diet plan easy and pain-free—including for those on the gluten-free diet.
The app works by creating a customized meal plan using recipes that meet your individual dietary, health and budget needs. Enter your overall goal—lose weight, maintain health or gain weight—and then input basic facts about yourself, such as your height, weight, gender and activity level.
The app also allows for specific dietary preferences. While users cannot choose “gluten free” as a basic diet (the service only specifically accounts for Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, Atkins or Mediterranean diets), the user can tell the
app they don’t want to see recipes with gluten, in addition to other common allergies or intolerances such as dairy, tree nuts, soy, etc.
Consumers can input a daily caloric goal or a preferred budget range. Cooks can also choose to only see recipes that match their cooking skill level.
The app is recommended for new vegans or vegetarians who want to ensure they’re getting an appropriate amount
of protein or other nutrients. And if you’re the type who can work through lunch before remembering to stop and eat, the app can even send reminders when it’s time for a meal.
Basic meal planning via the app is free, although users can pay $8.99 a month to upgrade to the premium version, which features weekly automated meal planning on the user’s typical grocery day, the ability to save and print meal plans for future use, and a tool that can incorporate leftovers from previous meals into future meal plans. The app is available on Apple and Android devices.