Do We Need an App to Make Healthy Choices?

By: Matt Weik

A new app was launched in late 2016 called “Order Healthy.” The app is designed to help you make healthy decisions when it comes to eating meals away from home.  Maybe you’re enjoying a night out on the town and you sit down to eat at a nice restaurant?  What do you order?  This app might just be the thing you need to make your decision a little bit easier—or maybe not.

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Reviewing the App

What better way to learn about a new app than to actually check it out in the app store—which is exactly what I did. I’m not quite sure I’m believing everything I’m reading via the Fox News report where I first heard about it.  According to their source (, they were told as of March 2017, the app had over 4,000 users.  I’m not completely sold on that based on what I’m seeing in the app store for iPhones (Android version is supposed to be released in late 2017).  Looking at the app store, only five people gave a review.  That means of all the people who downloaded it, only 0.125% decided to give it a review—and the rating isn’t helping any.  In fact, the app only has a 1.5 out of 5-star rating.

According to the description, “Order Healthy connects you to local restaurants so you can order delivery or takeout food and still eat healthy! We put health ratings right next to food items on the menu, so you can easily find the healthiest and most nutritious foods from more than 10,000 local restaurants.”

How the traffic light rating system works:

To kick things off, you need to open up the app. When you search for a local restaurant, you can pull up the menu and see all the different dishes available.  Next to each dish you get a red, yellow, or green circle.  I’m sure you can imagine what each color represents, but below are the details of each.

Red Circle: this is an unhealthy food option and should be avoided

Yellow Circle: this is in the middle or medium in terms of health and nutrition

Green Circle: this is the healthiest and most nutritious food option

Each of the ratings above are based off of each dish’s total fat content, cholesterol, sodium, and carbohydrates. The app also allows you to place your order if you so wish to. 

Let’s be honest here, I don’t care where you eat, in my opinion around 95% of the places you would go, most meals would probably get a red circle next to every dish that wasn’t a salad—and I’m sure some salads would get one too! Restaurants these days prepare most dishes with butter, oils, and other fats.  Why?  Because it makes things taste better.  So, it just makes sense.  They figure if you enjoy your food (without counting calories) you’re more likely to come back.  From a business standpoint, it makes sense.  From a waistline standpoint, it’s a nightmare.

This app is getting a RED circle!

The biggest complaint from those who reviewed the app is that when searching in their given location, it comes up with nothing. To see if what they were saying is true, I downloaded the app for myself and ran a search.  Guess what?  I got no results.  Cool concept, terrible execution.  They supposedly have places in the New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago markets (and apparently 33 other cities that were not disclosed).  That’s great for people in those areas, but for everyone else, it appears you’re out of luck.

Also, when you think about it, 10,000 places to eat are not that many in the grand scheme of things. I ran a Yelp search for the area I live and it came up with 456 places to eat.  And that’s just one small area of Pennsylvania, not even near a large city like Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.  Therefore in my opinion, this app is a colossal fail.  I believe Order Healthy has fudged their numbers to make it sound like the app is doing well, and none of their reviews have been good.

Would I recommend you download this app if you have an iPhone? Absolutely not.  In fact, I deleted it before I even started writing this article. Wherever you go to eat, the best thing to do is ask them to prepare the meal in a fashion that is healthy and without all the added calories and fat from ingredients like butter and oils. You don’t need an app for that!

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Sources: Fox News and iOS (Apple) App Store