App of the Week: Smash Your Food

 Title: Smash Your Food HD

 Platform: iPad

 Cost: $2.99

It’s back to school time and this month the YALSA App of the Week bloggers are  focusing each week on apps that are good for students and teachers. We’ll cover research, science, math, and staying organized. If you have a favorite school related app feel free to post information about it in the comments on our App of the Week posts. And, don’t forget, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is taking nominations for Best Apps for Teaching and Learning. You can make a nomination on the AASL website.

I must admit, I love science. It started in 7th grade when I had to make a 3D model of a cell and include real world things to represent each part of the cell. I don’t remember all the objects my lab partner and I used, but I remember we had a lot of fun and I still understand the function of mitochondria. Since then, I have always had an interest in the biological sciences. To me, it seems that the biological sciences have an ugly step-sister in health class. Nobody wants to take health. You might have to talk about changes in your body (Uncomfortable.) or listen to a teacher drone on about how calories are energy and are misunderstood (Boring.). Lately, I have been on a mission to find interesting health apps to help people understand that your health affects your biology in a very direct way.

The most fun and most disgusting app I’ve found is Smash Your Food. Produced by Ocatve Media International, Smash Your Food shows in a very real way the amount of sugar, salt, and oil found in commonly eaten foods. When you first open the app, you are prompted to enter your gender, age, and level of physical activity, and then you are shown a food.

After you select a food, you guess the amount of sugar, salt, and oil in the food, and then you click on a big red lever to let the real fun begin!

 As your food is smashed, you see the true amount of salt, sugar, and oil and see how close your guess was to the truth.  Though I LOVE smashing the food, I wish there were some healthy choices to smash as well. All of the foods to choose from– about 40 choices over the course of five different levels– are considered unhealthy and while these are very fun to smash, it would be interesting to see the amount of sugar in fruits like watermelon or grapes and then watch them get smashed. It is important to note that these are not animations. These foods were videotaped being smashed in HD and, because of that commitment to reality, are much more fun to watch.

Smash Your Food won honorable mention in Michelle Obama’s “Apps for Healthy Kids” National Competition and has been featured on the Today Show. Though it’s recommended for people ages 5-12, it is fun for all ages and really brings home what unhealthy things look like in your body after you have eaten them. A corresponding website at Food N’ Me allows you to play Smash Your Food for free, as well as take other quizzes like “What food am I?” and “What recipe are you?” Though this app is only available for the iPad, it is sure to have the entire family gathered around, laughing while learning about the unhealthy components of favorite foods.

For more app recommendations, visit the YALSA App of the Week Archive.

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