When you’re looking for free weight loss apps that work, the search becomes more challenging. There are numerous apps out there and most will not help you reach your goal. The good news is there are apps that can help – if you know where to look. In this article I’ve include a good list of weight loss apps that will only cost a dollar or two USD. Note: These weight loss apps were not developed by medical professionals and results may vary from person to person
Picks of the best weight loss apps
Best meal planning app for weight loss
- Price: $12.99 per month, or $4.99 for Healthline readers
PlateJoy is a meal planning app designed by dietitians.
It’s one of the most customizable meal planning apps, allowing you to set goals, such as weight loss, and even choose from several dietary patterns, like keto, dairy-free, paleo, and more.
It also allows you to filter out ingredients that you prefer to avoid and offers the option to set different portion sizes for each person in your household.
Using your responses from a brief questionnaire, the app creates a custom meal plan for you each week, including a curated grocery list.
You can replace recipes on the meal plan with others and can even enter your own recipes into the app to keep everything in one place.
The app also integrates with several grocery delivery services, allowing you to order your groceries online. What’s more, the app’s digital pantry lets you keep track of ingredients you already have on hand.
While the app typically costs $12.99 per month, Healthline readers can access PlateJoy for $4.99 per month. There’s also a free 7-day trial for new members.
- suitable for a variety of dietary needs
- focuses on meal planning and healthy cooking
- customizable portion sizes
- suitable for families
- requires a subscription
Best weight loss app with coaching
- Price: $59 per month or $199 per year
Noom is a popular weight loss app that helps users lose weight by making sustainable lifestyle changes.
The app assigns a daily calorie budget based on answers to lifestyle- and health-related questions. It also factors in your current weight, height, sex, and weight loss goals.
While the initial calorie recommendation tends to be low, you can adjust it to a more appropriate and realistic number.
The Noom app allows users to track food intake using a database that includes more than 3.5 million foods. Users can also log their weight, their exercise, and other important indicators of health, such as blood sugar levels.
One of the key features of Noom is virtual health coaching. Coaches provide accountability and help users set realistic weekly goals to keep them on track. However, the coaching feature works more like email than a live chat, so coaches may take a day or two to get back to you.
Noom’s effectiveness is also supported by research. One study in more than 500 adults found that food and exercise logging, along with coaching, through Noom was more effective for weight loss over 6 months than food logging or personalized coaching alone
However, keep in mind that Noom is still a calorie-counting tool. Because calorie counting can increase the risk of disordered eating in some people, Noom may not be the right fit for everyone
Noom costs $59 per month or $199 per year.
- one-on-one coaching
- community group with group coach
- focuses on behavior modification
- curriculum that offers educational resources
- food and exercise logging
- color-coded system to help users choose low energy density foods
- can get expensive depending on which subscription you choose
- initial calorie budgets that may be too low
- may take a day or two to get a response from a coach
- potential for calorie counting to lead to a disordered relationship with food and body image in some people
Best weight loss app for community
- Price: approximately $23–$50 per month
WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, is a well-known weight loss program that has been shown to be effective for weight loss
WW uses a points system in which foods and drinks are assigned point values based on their nutrient content and calorie density. Most importantly, no foods are off-limits.
Based on the results of an online quiz, customers receive a daily PersonalPoints allotment and a customized list of zero-point foods.
WW offers three plans, all of which provide access to the WW app. Depending on which plan you choose, WW costs approximately $23–$50 per month, though the company frequently offers monthly discounts to new customers.
Using the app, customers can easily keep track of points, monitor weight trends, and log workout sessions. There’s also a barcode scanner that makes it easy to enter foods.
The WW app offers weekly workshops, social networking, a rewards system, and 24/7 live coaching.
Another benefit of the WW app is its large collection of more than 8,000 WW-approved recipes that you can search based on meal type and dietary requirements.
- 24/7 live coaching
- social networking with fellow WW members
- food and exercise logging
- weekly in-person workshops on some plans
- barcode scanner
- tracks points rather than calories
- can be difficult for some to track points
- no free version
Best weight loss app for activity tracking
- Price: free; optional subscription for $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year
Wearable activity trackers offer a convenient way to keep tabs on your exercise habits and stay motivated to move more
Fitbit is a wearable technology company that offers a variety of fitness trackers and smartwatches to suit a wide range of budgets, style preferences, and health goals.
While some offer more high tech features than others, Fitbit products are designed to be used alongside the Fitbit app.
In the app, Fitbit users can view their daily health and fitness data, including their step count, miles walked, heart rate, sleep quality, and more. The app also allows you to manually log your weight, current stress level, and food and water intake.
One of the strengths of the app is its community features, which allow you to connect with friends and family members and participate in community challenges.
To help you stay motivated, you’ll receive awards for achieving specific goals. There’s also the option to set a reminder to get up and walk every hour.
For those who are interested in more detailed health insights, Fitbit Premium provides Daily Readiness, Sleep, and Stress scores to help make your health data more actionable.
To get the most out of this app, you’ll need to own a Fitbit, which can be costly. The app itself is free with an option to upgrade to Fitbit Premium for $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year.
- automatic activity syncing from your wearable device
- food and water logging
- provides detailed data on your activity levels
- may allow you to track additional health data, such as heart rate and sleep
- ability to connect with friends and compete in challenges
- Fitbit device required to access certain data, such as exercise, sleep, and heart rate
- subscription required to access more detailed health insights
Best user-friendly weight loss app
- Price: free; optional subscription for $9.99 per month or $49.99 per year
Calorie counting can help many people lose weight
MyFitnessPal is a popular app that integrates calorie counting into its strategy for supporting weight loss.
MyFitnessPal calculates your daily calorie needs and allows you to log what you eat throughout the day using a nutrition database of more than 11 million foods — including many restaurant foods, which aren’t always easy to track.
After you enter your food intake, MyFitnessPal provides a breakdown of the calories and nutrients you consumed throughout the day.
The app offers several reports for viewing your data, including a pie chart that gives you an overview of your total fat, carbohydrate, and protein consumption.
MyFitnessPal also has a barcode scanner, which makes it easy to enter the nutrition information of packaged foods.
You can also track your weight, search for healthy recipes, and connect with other users to share tips and success stories.
The app is free to download. You can access some premium features, such as setting your own nutrient goals, for $9.99 per month or $49.99 per year.
- user-friendly features such as “Quick Add” and a barcode scanner that makes logging quick and easy
- syncs with fitness tracking apps, including Fitbit, Jawbone UP, Garmin, and Strava
- provides detailed feedback on your intake
- offers graphs and charts of your macronutrient intake
- allows you to input entire recipes and log one serving
- some user-generated nutrition information in database that may not be entirely accurate
- often includes multiple options for one food item, meaning you may have to spend some time to find the “correct” option to log
- may be time consuming to adjust serving sizes and enter recipes in the app
- potential for calorie counting to lead to a disordered relationship with food and body image in some people
The Best Free Weight Loss Apps
I tested seven popular and highly-rated apps — including Cronometer, MyFitnessPal and Lose It! — to find out which features of the apps you can access with a free account.
See the table below for a quick overview of those features and which apps offer them. Then keep reading to find information on subscription options, availability and how to get started using each app.
Best for Nutrient Tracking
Free Features: Barcode scanner, calorie counter, exercise log, food diary, goal setting, nutrient tracker, progress charts
Availability: iPhone or Android
The Cronometer app is simple to download and use whether you’re an avid calorie counter or new to active dieting. What makes this app stand out is the amount of nutrient tracking information you can access with a free account. In addition to calories, the app monitors macronutrient goals and provides a nutrient summary including vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids and protein.
If you’re interested in keeping tabs on all of this and more, consider downloading Cronometer. To sign up, you’ll be asked a few introductory questions including your gender, birthday, height and weight. Then you’ll be asked to set a weight goal, enter an email address and create a password.
On the homepage, you’ll see the date, your food diary and a breakdown of daily calories. It includes those consumed, those burned and those remaining. You can click the plus sign at the bottom of the screen at any time to add food or scan a barcode. The app also lets you add notes, adjust your biometrics and log your exercise.
When you add food, you can indicate the amount and serving size, then see a summary of calories as well as a complete nutrient summary. You can also save foods and recipes in the “Foods” tab. In the “Trends” tab, you can see an overview of how many calories you’ve consumed in the past week and a nutrition report. The report shows you calories consumed, calories burned, calories remaining, micronutrients and more.
In the “Settings” tab, you can manage your target goals, connect devices or health data and update other account/ biometric information without having to upgrade to the paid membership.
Best for Community
Free Features: Barcode scanner, calorie counter, exercise log, food diary, goal setting, in-app community, in-app rewards, progress charts, recipes, reminders, water tracker, weight log
Availability: iPhone or Android
If you need a community for support, Fooducate may be the best free weight loss app for you. The “Community” tab in the app allows you to see trending and recent posts from other Fooducate users. You can follow and message others on the app or start a discussion by writing a post or sharing a photo.
After you’ve downloaded the app, created a free account and answered a few questions about your lifestyle, you’ll be able to see your recommended daily calories and make modifications to your diet plan.
In the free version, you can add your target weight and a target date for achieving your goal. You can also see up to six months’ weight loss progress. In addition, you can track your calorie intake, calorie quality, some nutrients and water intake up to a month in the past.
Across the bottom of the app, you’ll find a few different features including the “Food Finder” barcode and the main “Tracker” home tab. On this page, you’ll see how many calories you have left for the day. You can also click the plus sign at the bottom to add water, food, exercises, mood, hunger, weight, sleep or additional notes. Unfortunately, the free version doesn’t allow you to log body measurements.
The “Recipes” tab comes with tons of trending, recent and “favorited” healthy recipes from other users. You can also upload and share your own! The last tab, “Diet Tips,” contains recent articles, references, tips and tricks shared by other Fooducate users.
The app also allows you to choose how often you receive motivation notifications designed to help you achieve your goals: every meal, once a day, once a week or not at all.
3. My Diet Coach
Best for Motivation
Free Features: Barcode scanner, calorie counter, exercise log, food diary, goal setting, in-app challenges, in-app rewards, reminders
Optional Subscription: Premium Membership ($4.99/week after a one-week free trial)
My Diet Coach is a fun way to stay motivated and engaged while counting calories and tracking exercise.
After you’ve downloaded My Diet Coach and set up your free account, you’ll be asked to enter your current weight and goal weight. Once you decide on a goal, you’ll be asked to select or enter a reason why you want to achieve your goal. It may be “to feel good about myself,” or “to improve the quality of my life.” Then, you can choose to be reminded of your goal at a time and frequency that works best for you. Your goal weight and reason will also be displayed on the home page of your app alongside your avatar.
You can use the “Reminders” tab to control motivational reminders and set new reminders to drink more water, go to the gym and more.
In the “Diary” tab, you’ll be able to see a running count of daily calories consumed versus calories remaining. You can swipe up on the tab to see more detailed information including a daily nutrition distribution chart. Above that, you’ll see options to log food and activities, scan a barcode and more.
In the “Challenges” tab, you’ll be able to set challenges for yourself and monitor your progress. The “Motivation” tab tracks your in-app points and provides a daily quote. It also displays motivational pictures that you take or upload and lets you customize your avatar. As you complete more activities in the app, you’ll earn more points to unlock digital rewards that allow you to style your avatar.
You can also click on your profile to connect to other health and fitness apps for free.
Best for Calorie Counting
Free Features: Barcode scanner, body measurements, calorie counter, exercise log, food diary, goal setting, in-app challenges, in-app community, nutrient tracker, progress charts, recipes, reminders, water tracker, weight log
Availability: iPhone and Android
Optional Subscription: Premium Membership ($19.99/month after a one-month free trial or $79.99/year)
I used MyFitnessPal for calorie counting a few years ago, and I was happy to see the app is still easy to use and has some new and improved features. If you’re looking for a simple calorie counter/food log, MyFitnessPal may be the best free weight loss app for you.
Once you’ve created your account and answered a few questions about your body type, activity level and goals, you’ll be ready to get started. You can start a one-month free trial of the premium features or simply click the “X” to continue using the app’s free features.
Based on your responses to those initial questions, you’ll see your target amount of calories for the day across the top of the app on the home screen. It’ll also display how many calories you’ve logged, how many you’ve burned from exercise and how many you have left for the day. You can scroll down to browse recent articles, fitness tips and healthy recipes from around the web.
In the “Diary” tab, you can keep a log of your food, water and workouts for free. At the bottom of your daily entries, you can add food or exercise notes. You can also view a breakdown of your daily nutrition including calories, nutrients and macros. You can always click the plus sign to log your weight, food, water, exercise or add a new status.
In the “Progress” tab, you can view charts tracking your steps, weight, neck, waist and hip measurements. In the “More” tab, you can adjust your profile information, upgrade to premium status and set goals for yourself. You can also add meals, recipes, foods, reminders, and you can link other apps or devices without having to upgrade.
How to Choose the Right Weight Loss App for Your Health Goals
To say the market for weight loss, nutrition, and fitness apps is oversaturated is an understatement. “The myriad of health apps out there is confusing for both patients and providers,” says Reshmi Srinath, MD, the director of the Mount Sinai Weight and Metabolism Management Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. The ideal app, she says, both motivates you to make healthy changes and holds you accountable for enacting those changes.
The biggest problem is that people stop using the apps, says Dr. Wright. It’s okay to download a bunch of the apps (most are free) and sift through them to find the one that feels the most user-friendly to you. When you like the features, you’re more willing to stick with it, rather than the one your friend loves.
It can be tough to find accountability on an app, so look for those that feature a community of fellow dieters, offer daily reminders that pop up on your phone (make sure to adjust the settings accordingly), or have personalized professional support (via registered dietitians, for instance).
That said, if you find that you’re eating to a certain calorie target and charting food and exercise to the best of your abilities but you’re stuck in a plateau, you may need help from a weight loss professional, says Dr. Srinath. If you’re interested in seeing what a weight loss app can do for you, there are some stellar places to start
The Weight Loss App Everyone Should Have
Lose It! Calorie Counter
- App Store rating: 4.7
- Google Play rating: 4.6
Free, with in-app purchases
The best apps for weight loss let you chart your food intake and document exercise, says Srinath. These may sound like bare-bones goals, but Srinath says that Lose It! excels in this regard. It’s easy to use and sets a daily calorie budget for you, and you can track food using their bar code scanner or by snapping a photo of your plate, making it easy to use.
Lose It! also allows you to connect certain fitness trackers so you can integrate everything in one place. The company says that users have lost more than 78 million pounds total. Impressive!