There are a lot of people out there who have healthy goals in mind. Some want to lose those extra pounds they packed on over the holidays while others are looking to tone up for swimsuit season. Or perhaps you fall into the category of those who have been told by their doctor that losing weight, eating right, and exercising are essential to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure in order to stave off hereditary diabetes and heart disease. Whichever camp you happen to land in, you may be looking for tools that can help you to reach your healthy goals. And in this regard, you’re lucky to live in a digital era, with all of the information you need right at your fingertips thanks to technology like the smartphone and mobile connectivity. In addition, there are all kinds of apps available to help you get on track with tracking your diet and activity. But if you’re looking for an application that not only offers you tracking tools but also provides you with an education that will help you to eat healthy for life, then it’s time to download Fooducate for your iPhone.

This freebie is smarter than the average bear, so to speak. While it definitely has some features that you’re sure to recognize, such as tools to track your food and activity and a barcode scanner, you’ll find that the app has a lot more to offer than similar programs you may have tried. In truth, the tracking functionality is fairly standard. It’s when you move on to the barcode scanner that this application really starts to shine. For one thing, the database of foods includes 200,000 unique items, so most of what you scan should be available. Of course, you can always add favorite items that aren’t already listed, for your own use and for the benefit of the entire Fooducate community. This is a great help since you can also use the app to create your weekly shopping list.

However, you’ll get more than the standard nutritional information when you scan a barcode. The first thing you’ll notice is that every item is given a letter grade from A to D. Those that receive an A rating are the ones that are the healthiest for you, giving you the most nutritional value for the calories you consume. So this can give you a quick snapshot of what to put in the cart and what to put back on the shelf. And just in case you’re not convinced by the letter grade, there’s also a list of ten things you should know about the product in your hand. Does your box of cereal boast whole grains and other healthy features? The app will let you know that it doesn’t contain 100% whole grains and that it actually has four teaspoons of sugar in every serving.

But the best feature by far is the recommendation section, whereby the app provides you with healthy alternatives to the products you might normally buy. So it not only educates you about the foods you scan, but it also offers alternatives that can help you to get the items you crave while enjoying better nutritional value. So if it turns out that your high protein snacks contain a ton of sugar and fat, you can try something new. In essence, Fooducate provides you not only with a way to track your progress towards health and fitness goals, but also the tools and education needed to formulate healthy eating habits for life. That’s a lot of value for a free application that you can take everywhere you go.