HowUDish is a new app dedicated to helping users find appropriate meals geared towards specific dietary needs when they dine out, in hopes of promoting healthy eating. Based on a few simple input questions, the app uses your criteria to search for dishes you can eat when you’re out and about. For instance, if you happen to be following a vegan regime, HowUDish searches your area for a list of vegan-friendly meals in your backyard. Pretty neat.
Here's how it works: upon signing up, HowUDish asks you to select your overall goal, whether it be to slim down, maintain, or bulk up.
Then it asks you to select what kind of program you are trying to adhere to, asking you to choose 1-3 diets you may be following. Choices include low-cal, low-carb, low-fat, high fiber, high protein, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and balanced.
I selected low-carb, gluten free, and balanced just for kicks. Based on my selection, the app does a local search within 10 miles (Boston for me), and magically identifies dishes that I can try while eating out. Based on my three dietary choices, HowUDish warned me that I may have picked too narrowly. I accept this fate and continued. Within seconds, a Roasted Eggplant dish appeared on my screen from Bertucci’s, with the closest address, health notes, and star ratings from Foursquare. Pretty nifty, albeit not my first choice of restaurant..but if in a pinch.. I politely declined the suggestion and Baba Ghannouj from Aladdin’s Grill in Revere popped up next. OK this is pretty cool. Other options were a Spring Green Salad from Ki Bistro, and a Roasted Beet Salad at Figs. If you click on their suggested dish, the user then sees the entire dietary profile of the dish, and has an option of saving the dish for later.
Wanting to explore more, I went to the arrow icon in the upper left hand corner and found myself in a filtered search field. Maybe I want some sushi and Greek cuisine. By applying these two filters, HowUDish comes up with more choices based on my cravings for that moment. Now I can try a Beef Salad in downtown Boston or a Kani Salad at a local sushi joint. That’s pretty great, especially if I was strictly gluten free.
I then clicked on the spoon and fork icon in the lower left hand of the screen. This is where my activity is saved such as my saved dishes and my swipes. It’s important to know that you can swipe right as much as you’d like when reviewing the menu suggestions. HowUDish saves these and helps curate meals that look interesting to you. However, you can only save up to 10 dishes. If you’re feeling driven, you can even report on the dishes, such as a dish no longer being available or no longer meets the said criteria. HowUDish also encourages users to check-in at restaurants, which helps for future matches.
To make changes to your settings, simply click on your profile picture icon (mine pulled from Facebook) in the lower right hand corner. Here you can change your weight goals, diets, and local search fields. I wanted to broaden my search so I readjusted to low-carb and balanced and then filtered to find a bakery nearby meeting that criteria. Unfortunately for me, no dishes were found, which was kind of a bummer since I do think there are bakeries which are trying to cater to some healthier options.
I think HowUDish is pretty cool for the health conscious eater. I’m curious for those who have a fitness tracker or weight loss apps if there was a way to connect these to HowUDish. While I understand how the app can assist you in finding appropriate spots to dine out, I’m not sure how it directly relates to the weight loss goal. It’s up to the user to update/maintain their weight within the app. While the app is able to identify calorie counts and such, HowUDish seems to be more directly related to helping people find appropriate or desired meals as opposed to directly keeping you “fit.” That being said, it’s certainly a fun app to explore, especially for my fellow food lovers who want to be a bit more thoughtful when it comes to eating out, especially with the holiday season in full swing!
Please note payment was made to review HowUdish