Important announcement to all diabetes HCPs and Cook&Count app users

After 5 years of being the only nutritional app especially for home cooking, we are very sorry to announce we will be shutting down on Monday 11 February, 2019. We greatly appreciate you using or recommending Cook&Count app and want to thank you for being a part of our journey in trying to make it easier for people to carbohydrate count home cooked food.

You can download all your recipes via email, PDF, print or you can share on social media before 11 February 2019. After that date we regret that you will not be able to access your account.

I originally started Cook&Count because I wanted to help all those people, or carers of people, with insulin dependent diabetes, including my son, who wanted to cook food from scratch and know how much carbohydrate it contained. I am as passionate as ever about this. We have been fighting to keep the app financially sustainable for some time. There are high costs involved in designing, building and maintaining a high quality app, particularly one that uses calculations and stores data on behalf of users. It is a software application and they are expensive to create, support and keep up to date. These costs are much higher than the amount of revenue that came in from any premium sales.

Over the years Cook&Count app has become an established part of carb counting support and is currently recommended by diabetes health professionals around the UK. It is also used by many others around the world. I believe that it is a service that should be offered by either the NHS or one of the main diabetes service providers. We recognise that there is currently no equivalent, trustworthy and accurate alternative app. Please talk to your diabetes team if you have any concerns about this. And please be reassured that we are still doing everything we can to find a new home for the app and ensure that this important service can be resumed.

Thank you. And happy cooking!

Deborah Wilder
Founder

28th January 2019

Important announcement to all diabetes HCPs and Cook&Count app users

It is with much regret that I have to inform you that Cook&Count app has been removed from the iTunes and GooglePlay app stores. For the next two months, or until such time as we have found a new home for Cook&Count, if you have already installed the app then it will continue to work as long as you do not delete the app from your phone or tablet.

There are high costs involved in designing, building and maintaining a high quality app, particularly one that uses calculations and stores data on behalf of users. It is a software application and they are expensive to create, support and keep up to date. These costs are much higher than the amount of revenue that comes in from any premium sales.

I originally started Cook&Count because I wanted to help all those people, or carers of people, with insulin dependent diabetes, including my son, who wanted to cook food from scratch and know how much carbohydrate it contained. I am as passionate as ever about this. We have been fighting to keep the app financially sustainable for some time. Over the years Cook&Count app has become an established part of carb counting support and is currently recommended by diabetes health professionals around the UK. It is also used by many others around the world. I believe that it is a service that should be offered by either the NHS or one of the main diabetes service providers. Please be reassured that we are doing everything we can to find a new home for the app and ensure that we can resume the service for new users as quickly as possible.

We would like to thank you for using or recommending the app, and like to reassure you that all your data will be kept private.

Still, as always, happy cooking!

Deborah Wilder
Founder

24th October 2018

What do people want from health tracking apps?

Health Apps survey results

We love learning more about the health apps market. Health, fitness, weight loss and nutrition are hot topics, and we’re keen to know what people find most helpful when it comes to improving eating habits in particular.

We carried out a short survey among those who are less familiar with Cook&Count but who have an interest in health and fitness. Some interesting insights have emerged from the results that we’d like to share.


1. Accuracy is key

When asked what would improve tracking apps used, the top response was more accurate data. Over half of those surveyed said that increased accuracy was important to them. This was followed by integration with wearables, increased nutritional information and healthy living advice.

It’s great to hear that people want as much accurate information and advice as they can get! The nutritional information for ingredients in Cook&Count is sourced from government databases and we pride ourselves on not using often inaccurate crowd-sourced data.



Improve


2. Trusted advice doesn’t just come from the doctor

Nutrition websites, blogs and social media are just as popular for healthy eating advice as speaking to healthcare professionals. A sign of the technological age, people are relying more and more on a wider range of information sourced from all over the web.

We just need to make sure that this information is as accurate and reliable as possible. At Cook&Count we work with trusted healthcare professionals to make sure the information we provide comes from true expert sources.



Advice


3. Digital recipes are the future

As expected, the internet has far overtaken books as a source of recipes. 89% of those who filled out the survey said they source recipes from the internet, while 57% say they use recipe books. One third of respondents get recipes from friends and family, but fewer use or are familiar with recipe sharing apps.



Recipes


4. It’s all about personalisation

People love to adapt recipes to suit their tastes. Our favourite finding – a huge 92% of people said they like to adapt recipes either for taste or health reasons. This is just what we want to hear! Cooking should be an enjoyable and experimental process. Whatever restrictions you may have on what you eat, adapting recipes allows you to still enjoy variations of all your favourites. Find ways to cut out some carbs or calories, or up your protein intake.



Adapt



In summary, people want accuracy, variety, availability and adaptability. It’s all about accessing the right nutritional information and advice, alongside sourcing the most interesting and adaptable recipes. Do you agree?

Our top recipes for batch cooking on a Sunday

Beef ragu

It can be hard to find time for home cooking during the busy working week. Full time jobs and family commitments can make it tricky to fit in a food shop and find time every evening to make a new meal. Our latest cookbook – Sunday Cook-in – is here to help with some of our favourite batch cooking recipes.

Set aside an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon, put some music on, and have a nice relaxing cooking session. Then you can stock up your fridge or freezer with these delicious and nutritious recipes that will keep you going throughout the week.


Founder Debs’ greatest granola recipe

Making two large jars and tasting ten times tastier than anything you’ll find in a supermarket, this will keep you going for weeks. Serve with cold milk and a dollop of natural Greek yoghurt, plus a sprinkling of blueberries or raspberries. And take some into work with you and eat a handful to keep you going until home time. This is a great alternative to popping to the vending machine or the shop to buy sweets.

Granola


Researcher Caroline’s lentil and chorizo pie with pesto mash

Full of veg and pulses with a herby mashed potato topping, this homely and comforting staple keeps in the fridge for a few days and also freezes well.

Lentil pie


Hannah’s favourite mixed bean salad

Beans, hard crunchy veg and citrus juice make this salad last for days in the fridge. It’s the perfect summer lunch that will keep you coming back for more.

Mixed bean salad



Download Cook&Count app now for iOS or Android to make your working week a little easier by cooking ahead!

Strawberry yoghurt – what’s the healthiest option?

strawberry yoghurt infographic

Yoghurt is often advertised as a health food. It’s full of “good bacteria”, vitamins and calcium. It aids digestion, helps your immune system and is high in protein. But not all yoghurts are created equal. To shed some light on this we’ve created an infographic to raise awareness of what’s really inside this popular dairy product (and watch sugar levels in soya versions too!).

We’ve compared nutritional information for three popular yoghurts to highlight the different options (values are per 100g). We know which one’s our favourite!


Standard strawberry yoghurt

  • Often advertised as a low fat option, turns out this is a low fruit and high sugar option as well! Low fat isn’t always the healthy choice. Increasing evidence is showing that it’s sugar that we need to watch to stay in shape.


Greek style strawberry yoghurt

  • Greek yoghurt tends to be higher in fat than standard yoghurt, but it’s also higher in protein. It has a thicker consistency and stronger flavour as it is more concentrated.


Natural yoghurt with fresh strawberries

  • You’ve guessed it, our number one option. High in fruit and surprisingly low in sugar, this is the most natural option. It might not carry a low fat or low sugar label, but it contains the fewest calories too!



Swapping ingredients to increase fruit and veg content in your meals and snacks, and reduce added sugar, is a great way to improve your health. Low fat diet advice is facing a lot of contradictory evidence, suggesting it isn’t always the best option. The best thing to do is to keep an eye on the nutritional information of what you’re eating to ensure you’re getting a balance of all nutrients.



What’s your favourite type of yoghurt? Have you checked the sugar content? Use Cook&Count on iOS or on Android to find out the nutritional content of all your favourite home cooked foods.

22nd March 2017 Tags: ,

Five healthy swaps for a healthy life

Hannah healthy swaps

Healthy eating advice and messages in the media can be confusing. We’re sold simple solutions when the underlying problems are far more complex. Content Manager Hannah shares her healthy swaps for a more balanced life and diet…

Since joining the Cook&Count team I’ve realised just how complex the world of health behavioural change is! It’s hard to keep up with all the contradictory messages and diet advice that’s out there. I’ve always aimed to live a healthy lifestyle, my biggest weakness being a sweet tooth (maybe that’s where my surname comes from!).

I read a lot of health news as part of my role in the team, and it’s pretty overwhelming. One week “all natural” is best, the next “butter leads to type 2 diabetes”. Then we hear “sugar is the enemy” but “artificial sweeteners increase appetite”. It’s hard to know what advice to pass on to friends looking to improve their diets.

While making a real effort to read up on the science behind claims and avoid simple messages, I do believe in simple switches and small steps leading to big changes. It’s all about habit forming. So here are my top 5 healthy swaps:


1. Squash to water

As a teenager I could never seem to get used to the taste of pure water, but after a short period of conscious effort I’ve come to drink barely anything else. My trusty bottle of water goes everywhere with me. Sugary drinks aren’t so good for hydration, as after the water has been absorbed, some of it must be used to digest the carbohydrate. Find some more sugar reducing swaps, plus learn about how sugar is affecting our kids, on NHS Change4Life.


2. Refined to whole grain

I automatically buy wholemeal bread and pasta and brown rice whenever I can. It baffles me why restaurants don’t often have the option of brown rice or pasta! Whole grains have more of the good stuff left in than refined grains. From vitamins and minerals to healthy fats, protein and fibre. It’s National Nutrition Month this March, so what better time to make the switch!


3. Milk to dark chocolate

I’m a big chocolate eater. I like to claim it’s for the iron and magnesium, but I really just like to end a meal on something sweet. It took a bit of getting used to, and it may be a little pricey, but 90% cocoa dark chocolate is now my top choice. Even 85% cocoa solids tastes a tad too sweet! And the sugar difference is surprising. While standard milk chocolate contains 56% sugar, some of the darkest chocolates contain just 7%. Here’s a nice infographic from Prevention.com examining the pros and cons of dark vs milk chocolate.


4. Step it up (swap the lift for the stairs and the bus for the pavement)

Walking, to me, is one of the most powerful tools for health and fitness. Few of us enjoy the gym, and walking is something everyone can fit into their daily routine. I know a number of people who’ve had huge weight loss success simply by increasing their step count. As a team we always try and take the stairs when we can! Check out the NHS 10,000 steps challenge to get walking more.


5. Watch your mood (swap snacking for sleep)

We all experience how tiredness and stress affect our mood and eating habits. When I’m low on sleep I’m always craving food to keep up my energy levels. It’s an obvious one, but the benefits can’t be overstated. Keep well rested to control your cravings! As it’s Sleep Awareness Week next month in the US, take a look at this video How much sleep we really need? from the National Sleep Foundation.



What are your healthy swaps? Download Coo&Count on iOS or on Android to see what changes you can make to your home cooked recipes to improve your health.

Ellie’s story: Home cooking for a healthy family

mother and teenage son

A working mum with two sons – including 13 year old Luke who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 10 – Ellie tells us how relaxing in the kitchen (and using Cook&Count app!) helps her to feed her family…


Healthy eating and home cooking

Healthy eating was important before Luke’s diagnosis anyway – we’ve always cooked healthily and had a healthy balanced diet. We’ve never been into any kind of fad diets at all, but when you have type 1 it is partly about making sure you can carb count accurately. We aim for a low fat, healthy, balanced diet, and the way to get that is home cooked food.

Part of why I enjoy home cooking is relaxation. I’ve always enjoyed cooking but I work so I don’t have time to cook every night. I usually just potter around in the kitchen on my day off and make a batch of food for the week. I enjoy cooking for appreciative hungry boys – they’re very easy to feed! It can get a bit tedious doing the same day in day out, so I like to mix it up a bit.


The importance of accurate carb counting (and the benefits of calorie awareness)

The reason I’m interested in knowing the nutritional content of my food is predominantly for carb counting. Even if you look at recipe books that have the carb content per portion, I’ve noticed they can be way off, or not include the portion of rice that it comes on the side. The information out there can be quite misleading, so actually doing it yourself is the best way to guarantee that you’re getting the carbs right. If you get it wrong when you’re matching it with insulin, you risk having your blood sugar shooting up or plummeting down. I was quite shocked when Luke was first diagnosed that his dietitian said that he needs to be within 10 grams of carbs of accuracy in what he’s counting. It sounds dramatic, but it is important.

I don’t diet at all and I don’t do fad diets, but I have to say that when I want to lose a bit of weight the only way that I think works is doing a calorie counted diet. So I’ve been using the calorie content as well which is an added bonus! One other thing that is important on the nutritional content is fat. It’s good to have an awareness of whether your food is particularly fatty.


Making life easier

I couldn’t believe the irony of Luke being diagnosed as my maths is really not strong. I had all these scribbles – ratios worked out on the backs of envelopes in the kitchen, and I would go through packets of rice and packets of sugar, working out whole recipes by hand on a calculator. This wasn’t particularly time efficient, but then I’d write them all down for future reference. It’s much easier to have it calculated for you.

I discovered Cook&Count app on Twitter. It was quite early days and Luke had only just been diagnosed. Cook&Count app is helpful if I’m doing a new recipe from scratch to work out the carbs. I recently went through a period of thinking I had it all sorted – I’ve got all my usual recipes off the top of my head now – but he’s growing all the time. When you’ve got a teenager with type 1, they suddenly start eating more and the portion is one and a half times the size. It’s being able to adapt the sizes that’s really useful. You think you can carb count in advance, but then actually you might want seconds and a bit more pudding, so it just gives you that flexibility.


It’s all about portion sizes

The most important thing for me is the ability to carb count based on weight and portion sizes. Sometimes you’re not going to be near scales, so you can just judge it by portion size and divide it up – that’s really helpful. I haven’t seen anything like it. I know other health and fitness apps have carb counting, but it tends to be more about takeaway and restaurant food rather than actually being able to create your own food at home.

The only thing to improve Cook&Count app for me would be to be able to use it online on my laptop – I think that would be useful!



Try out Cook&Count app for free for yourself from the App Store or Google Play.

Lemon heart biscuits for Valentine’s Day

lemon and chocolate heart biscuits

A tasty heartfelt gift for the one you love this Valentine’s Day – lemon biscuits dipped in dark chocolate – created by our founder Debs…

Visually striking, with dark chocolate part coating the buttery lemon biscuits. These crisp biscuits have a refreshing zing of lemon and rich chocolate flavour that go perfectly together.

 

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 300g plain chocolate

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3. Line two baking trays with baking paper and leave to one side.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl before adding the lemon zest. Mix for 30 seconds then stir in the egg.
  3. Sift in the flour and baking powder and keep stirring. Gradually add the milk to turn the mixture in to a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes if the kitchen in warm.
  4. Roll out the dough on a floured surface so it is 5mm thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes and transfer on to the trays. Bake for 15- 20 minuets, when turn lightly golden remove them the oven and transfer on to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Melt the chocolate in a microwave. Half dip each biscuit in the chocolate then return it to set on a new sheet of baking parchment.

 

Lemon biscuits

 

Enjoy this sweet treat with someone special, or share the love with your friends, family and colleagues!

Check out the nutritional information in the app – you’ll find this delicious recipe in the Baking section.

 

Download Cook&Count for free now for lots more tasty creations, all with accurate nutritional information, available for iPhone/iPad and on Android.

13th February 2017 Tags: , ,

New Cook&Count Android release goes live!

We’re pleased to announce that the much anticipated Android release of new Cook&Count is now available!

Offering gluten and dairy filters for those with special dietary requirements, along with lots more tried and tested recipes, Cook&Count provides nutritional information for all your home cooked favourites.

Here are some of our favourite new recipes…

 

Baked herby falafels from the Fakeaways cookbook

Baked herby falafel

Falafel are a great fast food. They are a traditional Middle Eastern food, very nutritious and versatile. Serve with a flatbread, salad and hummus. They’re also great for snacking or served as part of a mezze tray.

 

Cheesy potato pancakes with mizeria from the Cheap & Easy cookbook

cheesypotatopancakes 710x440

Potato pancakes are a popular Eastern European staple. This is a Polish recipe, which we recommend you serve with mizeria, a yoghurt and cucumber salad. This makes a perfectly balanced meal.

 

Gluten free orange and almond cake from the Gluten Free cookbook

Orange almond cake 710x440

A classic recipe, first published in A Book of Middle Eastern Food in 1968. It remains popular nearly 50 years later. Easy to make, low in fat and gluten free. This works well as a dessert or cake.

 

Completely free to download, you can give Cook&Count a try by adding three of your best recipes and following many of our own. Then for just 79p per month (£7.99 per year) you can access the full range of recipes and save as many of your own as you’d like to.

Download the brand new Android version here, or the iPhone/iPad version here, and get cooking!

8th February 2017 Tags:

How cooking burns calories

calories-burned-while-cooking

We believe in cooking from scratch not just for healthier eating, but for a healthier life. Getting active in the kitchen requires a bit more effort, but you’ll burn a good few more calories too!

Here at Health Apps, the Cook&Count app team don’t believe in strict calorie counting, but we absolutely do believe in calorie awareness and portion control. We need to know what we’re taking in in order to adjust our portions and daily exercise accordingly.

So does shopping for, preparing, cooking, serving and clearing a meal really count as exercise? It certainly does.


Food shopping

Wandering up and down the supermarket aisles or around the local shops is a healthy walk. You can burn close to 90 calories simply on your weekly food shop. And over 100 calories carrying your bags home or up some steps. Don’t ignore the effect of this routine exercise. It’s not just about the calories, it’s the movement and activity that really counts.


Preparing the dish

Thought standing around in the kitchen while you chop veg was a waste of time? Think again. From fridge to oven to sideboard and back again, you’ll be burning calories you didn’t even know about. Put some music on and you might even find yourself having an extra little jig!


Post-meal tidy up

Food bought, meal prepared and you thought you were done. But there are still more calories to lose. Laying and clearing the table then washing up will keep you moving and burning energy. The numbers may look small, but they all add up to a more active life.



That’s a grand total of 337 calories simply from creating a tasty meal! And that’s just an average. Calories burned will vary depending on your weight, so take a look on CalorieLab.com.

Cook&Count app has some tasty recipes for you to try and will show you how many calories are in any size portion, plus lots more useful nutritional information. Download Cook&Count app for free now!

31st January 2017 Tags: , ,