HowGood is one of the apps that will rank foods for sustainability and health.

When I abruptly decided on New Year’s Eve to try to eat more sustainably, I assumed there would be loads of apps to help me along. Alas, this isn’t so. NoshPlanet (free, iOS), a guide to sustainable restaurants, listed only seven eateries in the greater Washington area, Sweetgreen being the most affordable. Locavore (free, iOS and Android), a guide to local farm produce, offered only carrots and artichokes during the winter. Love Food, Hate Waste (free, iOS and Android), which offers scalable recipes to minimize unused ingredients, comes only in the metric system, and I have no clue how much 400 grams of mixed vegetables are.

Eating artichokes all winter seemed grim indeed. But there are a few exceptional options available to those of us in backwoods towns who wish to maintain a sustainable ethic.

The best guide to sustainable eating is the one I’ve been using the longest: Seafood Watch , produced by the Monterey Bay Aquarium (free, iOS and Android). The app is user-friendly and lists fish in alphabetical order, allowing easy and quick reference in the fish aisle at the grocery store. Seafood Watch suggests that consumers entirely avoid some seafood, such as conch or dab, because their stocks are too depleted, while rating others on a scale from “best choice” to “avoid.”

Two other apps, Food Scores and HowGood, both free and for iOS and Android, and both produced by environmental consultancies, allow users to scan barcodes to instantly receive information on sustainability and health. Food Scores, which surveys more than 80,000 foods, uses a scale of 1 to 10 to determine how healthy and sustainable a food item is, with the best foods scoring 1. My Skippy peanut butter scored an even 5, dinged for not being certified organic and containing genetically engineered sugars. Food Scores instead recommends Crazy Richard’s Pure PB, which scored 1.6 because it contains no artificial ingredients and is a nutritious low-cost source of protein. Based on its metrics, HowGood didn’t recommend Skippy at all. But unlike Food Scores, it didn’t readily offer alternatives. Instead, I had to search for “peanut butter” to find its preferred brands (Yumbutter and Sweet Ella).

Food Scores is best for frozen meals. Lean Cuisines, long a staple of mine, mostly scored 5s and 6s, though the roasted turkey breast was a 10. Frozen dinners by Amy’s Kitchen, Tabatchnick and Artisan Bistro scored the best. HowGood does not rate quite as many frozen meals, though it does recommend Amy’s brand.

While we wait for developers to deliver more apps along these lines, these three can certainly get you on your way to eating sustainably.

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