The COVID pandemic has seen almost half of adults put on weight. If you want to get healthier and fitter, don't do it alone - there are free NHS diet apps and plans that can help.  These free NHS recommended diet and exercise apps can help you introduce small changes, helping you both eat better and get more active, the NHS Weight Loss Plan app has helped many people like you lose a stone in three months.

The pandemic not only closed gyms and forced people into their homes, it led to an epidemic of comfort eating. Being overweight raises your risk of dying of Covid, on top of being linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other illness.

These apps from the NHS are a good place to start a healthy diet and exercise programme, which gently ramps up and leads to slow, sustainable healthy weight loss, through gently increasing your  exercise and eating habits.

NHS Diet Plan App – for healthy weight loss

Users of the NHS Weight Loss Plan app [who kept going over 12 weeks] reported a loss on average of almost a stone (5.8kg), according to research published by Public Health England (PHE). The app, which also comes in downloadable PDFs, has targets each week to keep you motivated.  The plan is broken down into 12 weeks so you can:

  • set weight loss goals

  • use the BMI calculator to customise your plan

  • plan your meals

  • make healthier food choices

  • get more active and burn more calories

  • record your activity and progress

The NHS says to lose weight in a safe way, the average person should reduce their daily calorie intake by 600. Women should aim for 1,400 calories each day, and men 1,900.  But everyone is different; you can change this to a person amount using the BMI calculator.

Here are some reviews of the App on Google Play:

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NHS Easy Meals App - calorie counted recipes

If counting calories sounds like far too much fuss for you, then Easy Meals may be the way to go. It offers more than 150 calorie-counted recipes, so you don’t need to calculate it yourself. Each nutritious meal has the calorie total included to make it easier for you to stick to a goal, as well as learn portion control. All you need to do is select a meal and the app will tell you how much of each food to weigh out, and steps for how to cook.

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NHS Change4Life Food Scanner

This simple app reveals just how high in salt and sugar some of your favourite foods are. And it can come as a shock when some of the foods you thought were healthy turn out not to be. All you need to do is scan the barcode of a product, such as a can of soup, cereal, jam or pasta, and the app shows in visual form how many sugar cubes of sachets of salt are inside a serving. It clearly displays each item's “traffic lights” for sugar, saturated fat and salt, with low, medium and high. Over the following months it plans to show alternatives for the items you scan, making better choices even easier to make as you shop. For now, it's a useful tool to see what items in your cupboard are silently adding to your waistline.

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NHS Couch to 5K – C25K - exercise app

Running is known to be one of the best exercises for blitzing body fat - and the C25K app gets people who have never run before off the sofa and burning calories. It incorporates a mixture of running and walking, and if followed properly, should allow beginners to run 5,000m in just nine weeks. Users of Couch to 5K have a choice of five trainers to support them - including BBC presenter Jo Whiley, Olympian Michael Johnson and comedic Sarah Millican. As you complete the workouts, the app will track and award your progress, and give you tips for future workouts. And on top of this, it's free to download.

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