MealSnap for iPhone: A Picture Is Worth 1000 Calories


Using your smartphone to capture an image of your meals is one of the most common clichés of social media oversharing. Naysayers are always eager to say, “Why should I care what people have for breakfast”.

If you’re taking pictures of what you eating anyways, then MealSnap from Daily Burn can help you out by estimating the number of calories you’re about to consume (or have already consumed). Daily Burn produces other smartphone apps for health and exercise tracking including an app to scan food packaging barcodes to access their nutritional information.

I was skeptical when I first heard about MealSnap back in April. Could it really identify the food I was eating from just a smartphone picture. I grabbed a few photos of some past meals to see what kind of results MealSnap would give me. I included a stack of pancakes with blueberries, a burger and fries and a slice of pepperoni pizza. Not exactly a snapshot of a healthy lifestyle, but I can assure you these were not eaten on one day.

The MealSnap database of 500,000 food items identified the breakfast as pancakes and the blueberries (601-902 calories). It also did a great job of self-identifying the burger and fries, even the ketchup (454 -681 calories). The pepperoni pizza was identified too (198 – 297 calories). A quick check over at profile suggested that these estimate were in the neighbourhood.

So, what is MealSnap good for? It does make a good food journal. If a person is looking to change their eating habits, one of the first things they should do is create a food journal of what they are eating now. MealSnap makes this process relatively effortless, and with a brief description to the image you can improve it’s accuracy with calories.

I’m still amazed that the image recognition works at all. MealSnap is available in the App Store for $2.99

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