Career Development

Nutrition Assessment and Recipe Analysis Applications

January 10, 2018   /
Jason Machowsky, MS, RD, CSCS
Nutrition411 Staff

Dietitians going into private practice often wonder which is the best nutrition assessment or recipe analysis software that is available on the market. Unfortunately, the answer is, it depends. You must consider a number of factors when choosing your ideal software platform, including but not limited to features, compatibility, and cost. The first thing to do before shopping around is to make a list of all of the requirements you are looking for in your nutrition tool. The following examples provide some ideas and useful information.

PC versus MAC
Do you use an Apple or PC-based computer? Just about all of the programs are PC compatible, but some of the programs are not compatible with Apple platforms. A few programs are web-based.

Will you use the software to analyze overall dietary habits for a nutrition-coaching client? Do you want a user-friendly graphic interface that allows both the dietitian and client to use and communicate via the service? Do you want clients to input their daily intake on their own, so you can access and provide feedback on what they input? Will you need to analyze the exact nutrient intake for patients with clinical conditions or deficiencies? Will you need to create and standardize recipes? Are you responsible for making food labels? 

Setting a maximum price limit can help narrow down the options and will give you a realistic idea of what kind of features you can purchase within your budget. Is it a flat-fee cost, monthly, or yearly? Standardize all prices (ie, make all prices yearly to get an equivalent view of cost).

Does the service/program offer and/or require periodic costs to update licenses or versions?

Customer service
Some programs offer limited customer service/support. Others charge for support after the first year.

Warranties, satisfaction guarantee, and free trials
Most applications have free trials for you to test out the service. Take advantage of this, so you know what you are getting!

What are you currently using?
This review contains a relatively comprehensive, but probably not exhaustive (there is always something new) list of the nutrition assessment and recipe analysis programs on the market and their features/costs, as reported by the companies’ websites. If you have particular experience with one of these programs, please let us know or report your feelings in the comments below or on the Twitter page by tagging us at @Nutrition411com!

  1. ESHA

Genesis® R&D—product formulation and labeling software
Genesis R&D enables food technology professionals to automate both nutrient analysis and the creation of a variety of labels. With one click, users can automatically generate a label complete with ingredient and allergen statements. Other label formats include supplement facts, aggregate, dual declaration, and the new child label.

Genesis R&D features and benefits

  • An intuitive, user-friendly interface that uses the latest in ingredient search technology
  • Automatic nutrient analysis for 160+ nutritional components, including food exchanges
  • Available labels: the United States, Canada, European Union, and Mexico
  • Allergen statements, ingredient statements, and nutrient content claims
  • A meticulously researched food database of more than 60 000 foods and ingredients and food items, with data from more than 1 800 reputable sources. The data sources include the latest USDA Standard Reference database, manufacturer's data, restaurant data, and data from literature sources. Each of their 163 nutritional components is individually sourced.
    • Users can add an unlimited number of new foods and modify existing foods.
  • A variety of nutrition reports to help analyze food formulations and recipes
  • Cost entry and calculations
  • Meat and dairy product formulators
  • Moisture and fat adjustments: subtract or add water/fat, and view results on screen immediately
  • Yield tables: enter food as purchased and obtain nutrient values for edible portion only
  • Bar code generation
  • Customer service
  • Available as desktop or hosted solution

Additional Genesis R&D details

Cost: $5,499 as of December, 2015 for one license; Contact ESHA for subscription pricing and additional pricing options.

Food Processor® SQL—nutrition and fitness software and FoodProdigy—online companion
The Food Processor SQL enables nutrition professionals to evaluate client dietary and fitness needs, calculate nutrient recommendations, analyze nutrient intake, plan meals, develop exercise programs, and present the data in a variety of formats.

FoodProdigy lets your clients conveniently and immediately document their diet intake and activities from their personal computer, rather than relying on memory or keeping a journal by hand.

Food Processor SQL and FoodProdigy features and benefits

  • Nutrient search: search function for items high or low in a specific nutrient
  • Precise nutrition and fitness planning: Automatic dietary intake and activity analysis, weight management, and recipe and menu development 
  • Diet analysis and recipe planning: instantly compare client dietary intake against recommended nutrient standards, analyzing for 160+ nutritional components
  • FoodProdigy, the online companion to Food Processor SQL
  • Database of more than 60 000 foods, recipes, and exercises from a variety of sources, with continuous updates as new information becomes available
  • Ability to add an unlimited number of new foods to the database and modify existing database foods
  • Advanced client information tools: features such as tracking medications, contact information, allergies, etc
  • Dietary intake organized by day and/or meal, with analyses done per unit (day or meal) or averaged over a number of days.
  • Wide variety of printable and exportable reports, including spreadsheet reports, Nutrition Facts panel with trans fat data, single nutrient report, and many others
  • Exercise tracking based on metabolic equivalents (METS) and exercise information from the American College of Sports Medicine (exercise database contains 654 individual activities)
  • Sophisticated food search: many new search options
  • Fitness and weight management: variable traits, including age, weight, height, gender, and activity level to create the personal profile for which you specify standards—as recommendations for weight gain or loss and special dietary needs are entered, calories and calorie-dependent nutrients are quickly recalculated
  • Customer service
  • Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) guidelines

Additional Food Processor SQL and FoodProdigy details
Cost: $699 as of December 2015 for one license; $150 per additional license

Additional services (for added cost): import/export utility, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) access control, ESHA database licensing

  1. Evolution Nutrition®

Evolution Nutrition is designed for individuals and professionals, including athletic trainers, personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists, and registered dietitians (RDs). Evolution Nutrition provides professionally guided nutrition design and planning for clientele or patients incorporating advanced physiology-based principles and practices. 

Evolution Nutrition features and benefits

  • One hundred percent control over tracking, interpreting information, and providing meal plans for clients
  • Systemized nutrition analysis and planning to dramatically improve work efficiency
  • Nutrition planning based on the most advanced science in the market
  • Tracking and analysis for a broad range of individualized data, from medical lab values to detailed nutritional breakdowns

Cost: The Pro edition is $59 per month for one RD and up to 5 clients ($708 per year); $4.40 per month for each additional client, with discounts available for multiple RDs and clients signed up under the same account (30-day free trial available).

Additional pricing details:

  1. Nutrihand

The company offers 3 different products with a database of more than 250 000 foods, and 1 200 meal plans for 9 calorie levels, 6 cuisines, and 9 health conditions. Fitness component includes 1 100 exercises. All information is updated daily. Programs are available online 24/7. Supports any computer, tablet, or phone. No charge for less than 1 000 clients/month. Free technical support and tutorials for professionals and their clients.

Nutrihand PRO

  • Analyze menus and recipes
  • Create meal and fitness plans in minutes
  • Generate detailed reports on nutrition, physical activity, and medical information 
  • $9.95/month

RD Clinic

  • Includes Nutrihand PRO and adds client management for charting, coaching, and monitoring
  • Communicate securely with clients and work with them over the internet
  • One hundred percent HIPAA compliant and updated daily
  • $19.95/month

Health First

  • Includes RD Clinic and adds a corporate wellness module. 
  • Add your own wellness content or purchase the company’s content separately based on needs
  • $49.95/month

Customization of all services is available for an additional one-time fee starting at $550.00.

  1. Nutritionist Pro™

Nutritionist Pro Diet Analysis
Nutritionist Pro provides thorough nutrient analysis of diets, menus, and recipes. The new intuitive design and powerful functionality of Nutritionist Pro will assist nutrition professionals in any health care delivery, food service, or educational setting.

Nutritionist Pro features and benefits

  • Extensive database: Accurate, up-to-date food and nutrient data for complete analysis on more than 35 000 foods and ingredients, including brand names, fast foods, ethnic foods, and enteral products; Knowledge Database of more than 500 brands from more than 500 food manufacturers, plus the ability to add an unlimited number of your own foods and recipes
  • Client management: customizable detailed information on an unlimited number of clients
  • Diet analysis: evaluation of diet recalls or food frequencies against specific nutrient requirements
  • Recipe analysis: analysis of an unlimited number of recipes automatically, taking into account nutrient losses and gains from cooking; database of more than 750 quantity and consumer recipes from USDA, Communicating Food for Health newsletter, and Good Housekeeping
  • Menu analysis: menu plans by meal, single day, or range of days, with comparison to nutrient goals
  • Reports: numerous professional reports for clients, diets, menus, and recipes in various formats, including CSV, PDF, RTF, etc. Spanish reports are also available.
  • Search: available by name, category, nutrient value, food source, or any combination of these, or by your preferred nutrient values for foods
  • Preview nutrients: nutrient values available while adding foods and ingredients to diets, menus, and recipes

Cost: $599 for the stand-alone version, or $685 for the network version. Volume and product bundle discounts available.

Nutritionist Pro Food Labeling
The software database has up-to-date food and nutrient data for complete analysis on more than 35 000 foods and ingredients, including brand names, fast foods, ethnic foods, and specialty ingredients.

Nutritionist Pro Food Labeling features and benefits

  • Custom label formats meet US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements, including options for bilingual Spanish and French labels.
  • Formula/recipe analysis: analysis of unlimited recipes while automatically taking into account nutrient losses and gains from cooking, plus the ability to add an unlimited number of new foods and modify existing foods
  • Complete Nutrition Facts label information: step-by-step guides for creating labels allowing you to add voluntary nutrients and the FDA standard reference weights
  • Nutrient content claims: automatically calculated FDA-defined nutrient content claims for foods or recipes
  • HACCP: addition of HACCP into a recipe or formulation
  • Ingredient declaration: weight-ordered ingredient lists generated automatically
  • Print or export labels: available in a variety of industry-standard formats, including BMP, EPS, GIF, PCX, TIF, JPG, and PDF
  • Available in CD or cloud version

Cost: Pricing for labeling feature varies depending on CD or cloud version. Cloud version is sold by 3, 6, or 12-month subscription. Contact for more information.

Nutritionist Pro Knowledge Base
The Nutrition Knowledge Base is a subset of the proven knowledge base that is behind the Nutritionist Pro nutrition analysis software. The Nutritionist Pro staff of RDs works continuously on the food database to provide the most accurate nutrition information in the industry. The flexible structure of the database allows for easy integration into any custom software application.

Nutritionist Pro can help create custom student applications to bundle with various textbooks. It also is used to build consumer websites that provide up-to-date nutrition data on more than 35 000 foods, as well as internal food service applications for recipe analysis and food label creation. Large pharmaceutical companies, consumer diets and websites, publishing houses for custom applications and textbooks, and exercise- and fitness-driven organizations use the Nutritionist Pro Knowledge Base.

Nutrition Pro Knowledge Base features and benefits

  • Database of more than 35 000 foods, recipes, and ingredients
  • Exclusive Asian-Indian database, in addition to USDA, Canadian Nutrient File (CNF), and others
  • Preparation yields and nutrient retention factors that enable accurate recipe analysis
  • Foods assigned diabetic exchanges using proprietary algorithms
  • Each food item and recipe placed into a specific food category to ease food search (examples of categories include baked product/cookie, meat/beef, poultry/chicken, and combination food/dish/poultry)
  • “Typical” portion and gram weight for each food, as well as a cup gram weight for volume conversion
  • More than 90 nutrients for each food, with calculations based on typical portions
  • Eighty-nine standard sets of nutrient goals for a variety of ages and genders, including the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs)
  • Daily Value (DV) goals as seen on Nutrition Facts labels, with each goal containing a set of 90 nutrient values for diet comparison or recipe analysis
  1. NutriBase

NutriBase, released with the latest USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Release—version SR23, is used to track and graph body fat percentages, as well as body weight. You can also import recipes, physical fitness indexes, meals, and meal plans.

NutriBase features and benefits

  • Prelicensed, royalty-free client intake module CDs (created by you), which allows your clients to install software on their computers, record their own intakes, and e-mail their results to you
  • A powerful and flexible formatted report generator that allows you to control many aspects of quality reports for your clients
  • Harris-Benedict, Mifflin-St Jeor, estimated energy requirements (EER), or direct entry of resting metabolic rate (RMR) from an indirect calorimeter to calculate or enter calorie expenditures for your clients
  • Ability to compose your own food intakes and/or recipes
  • Tracking of body chemistry data, personal information, and measurements for each client
  • No annual subscription fees for continued technical support and updates beyond the 1st year
  • Installation of NutriBase on up to three computers, as long as you are the sole user of the software

Cost: $750 for an individual computer and user. $1,450 for network edition for up to 5 simultaneous users, and $1,950 for network version for up to 50 users.

  1. Nutritional Computing Concepts—professional recipe analysis

The Professional Recipe Analysis program is used in many cookbooks, including those published by the American Diabetes Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and private companies. 

Nutritional Computing Concepts features and benefits

  • Recipes organized in My Favorite Recipes with ability to choose the cookbook name and create an unlimited number of cookbooks 
  • Recipe Data Editor to enter all the information about a recipe
  • Ingredients from the 30 000 foods in the food database
  • Ability to add your own foods to the database 
  • Easy determination of the nutritional content of a serving of recipe
  • Automatic computation of the best exchange lists for meal planning for one serving of the recipe
  • Review of the nutritional content of the recipe ingredients and one serving of the recipe, selecting the nutrients from the 145 included in the food database Recipe Nutritional Analysis
  • Print the recipe in the format you need
  • Create a word processor version file for your computer

Cost: $99.95 flat fee

  1. The Nutrition Company—FoodWorks

FoodWorks contains more than 39 000 food references, including USDA Standard Reference 23, the Food and Nutrition Database for Dietary Studies, and the Canadian Nutrient File, plus direct data from seven fast-food restaurants. 

FoodWorks features and benefits

  • Database of foods, recipes, and ingredients, and the ability to add your own
  • 113 nutrients and food components, with the ability to use any or all nutrients in your analysis
  • Unlimited database expansion, so you can add and manage as many new foods as you require
  • Nutrient analysis of meals, recalls, recipes, menu cycles, and individual food items: analysis by day, meal, average of multiple days, average of meals on multiple days, and time of intake; multiple-day nutrient averaging for up to 30 days in a single food list; and nutrient trend tracking for up to 30 days in a single food list
  • Four dietary standards: DRI (RDAs and Adequate Intakes), DVs, Canadian Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNI), and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO)
  • Custom dietary standards: an unlimited number of customized dietary standards for clients with special dietary or clinical needs
  • Optional use of the adequate macronutrient distribution range values of the DRI
  • Five basal metabolism formulas, including basal energy expenditure (BEE), Mifflin-St Jeor, body surface area (BSA), FAO/WHO, and DRI energy values
  • Comprehensive on-screen instructions, user manual, and context-sensitive help, including detailed walk-throughs of FoodWorks’ functions and tasks
  • Energy expenditure analysis for single or multiple days, including calories expended per activity and percentage breakdown of total energy expenditure
  • Weight management and body mass index (BMI) calculator
  • Analysis quick reference: continuously updated analysis results for seven nutrients of your choosing
  • On-screen display of all analysis results, including nutrients in each food, bar graph comparing results with recommended nutrient intake, calorie distribution and fat breakdown pie charts, carbohydrate counts, and much more
  • QuickData: instant nutrient values for any selected food item
  • FoodMate: a free companion program to FoodWorks, allowing your clients to create diet recalls and then submit them to you for analysis
  • Internet-style, multi-word food search with exclusion feature
  • Nutrient screen function to locate foods containing a specified level of a nutrient 
  • Ability to share data for your added foods with colleagues who also use FoodWorks by simply e-mailing them a FoodWorks project file 
  • Nutrition Facts label maker (vertical and horizontal formats), including trans-fatty acids 
  • Ability to import food/nutrient data from spreadsheets into the FoodWorks database
  • Ability to export user-added foods for use in spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel; analysis results for use with word processors, spreadsheet software, and presentation software; and Nutrition Facts labels, graphics, and menus to documents and presentations
  • Recipes: Recipes are saved as food items in the database, so that you can use them in other analyses and cycles; automatic adjustment of recipe analysis to reflect nutrient content of one serving; calculation of recipe yield from approximate weight of a single serving; recipe scaling to increase or decrease servings and/or portion size; ability to apply waste factors to recipes to account for production loss; meal and recipe cost-estimate calculator; ready to cut-and-paste recipes created with FoodWorks for use in any word processor; utility to design and use nutrient retention and shrinkage factors in recipe analysis; and serving size converter for easy conversion from one household serving to another
  • Printouts: large selection of attractive, colorful, easy-to-understand printouts, including shopping list information and analysis critique printouts, where you can modify the printout to include custom messages that say whatever you want in any language you want to help clients improve intake and compliance with diet recommendations
  • Cycle menu management
  • Up to 15 meal tags for traditional meals, as well as nontraditional eating patterns, such as athletes in training
  • Premature birth date adjustment calculator 
  • Projects and client data saved in files for easy recall and sharing
  • Analysis tracking notepad: storage of client notes, clinical data, tray card information, recipe instructions, HACCP data, and other useful information

Cost: $199.95 for a single license and $50 for each additional computer; $49.95 for upgrades from previous versions

  1. MenuCalc®—nutrition analysis for restaurants

MenuCalc is a fully online web-based nutrition analysis software application that allows you to easily and accurately calculate the nutrition content of your menu items. Simply create an account and start creating your recipes to receive your nutrition results. The software is designed and streamlined specifically for restaurants. 

MenuCalc features and benefits

  • Web-based system, with no cumbersome software to install
  • Instant nutritional results
  • Ability to export your nutrition results
  • Recipe and analysis storage
  • Searchable ingredient database
  • Duplicate recipe feature
  • Nutrient comparison tool

Cost: $540 to $2,500 per year, depending on number of new recipes per month
Free nutrition and fitness tracking, journal, and analysis services

  1. NutritionData

Since its launch in 2003, NutritionData has grown into one of the most authoritative and useful sources of nutritional analysis on the web. In July 2006, NutritionData was acquired by CondéNet, a digital publisher under the Condé Nast Publications umbrella dedicated to editorial excellence. The continuing goal of NutritionData is to provide the most accurate and comprehensive nutrition analysis available and to make it accessible and understandable to all.

The information in the NutritionData database comes from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference and is supplemented by listings provided by restaurants and food manufacturers. The source for each individual food item is listed in the footnotes of that food’s nutrition facts page. In addition to food composition data, NutritionData also provides a variety of proprietary tools to analyze and interpret that data. These interpretations represent NutritionData’s opinion and are based on calculations derived from Daily Reference Values (DRVs), Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs), published research, and recommendations of the FDA.

While NutritionData cannot guarantee the absolute accuracy of every listing, every attempt possible is made to ensure the quality of the data.

NutritionData features and benefits

  • BMI
  • Food tracking
  • Recipe analysis
  • Food input
  • Foods by nutrient
  • Food comparisons
  • Custom entry tool
  • Nutrient search tool
  • Caloric ratio search
  • Nutritional target map
  • Daily needs calculator
  • Google toolbar
  • Firefox plug-in and widgets

Additional information:

  1. FitDay™

FitDay offers a free online diet journal to track foods, exercises, weight loss, and goals. More than 5.1 million FitDay members use the site to take control of their diet and lose weight.

FitDay features and benefits: 

  • Completely free
  • Tracking for foods, exercises, weight, and goals
  • Calories, nutrition, weight loss information, and more
  1. LIVESTRONGSM.COM contains more than 625 000 foods and 1 500 fitness items, allowing visitors to track their caloric intake and burn, and achieve their goals. LIVESTRONG.COM is a diet coach, nutritionist, and food planner at your fingertips.

LIVESTRONG.COM features and benefits

  • Calorie breakdown
  • Calories over time
  • Exercise breakdown
  • Your own diary
  • Real-time food tracking map
  • Demo of new MyPlate features

Additional information: Gold option available for $45 per year (includes daily nutrition chart, week at a glance, and set custom nutrition goals)

  1. Myfitnesspal

Free calorie-counting desktop program or app which features a database of over 5 million foods and an activity tracker. MyFitnessPal allows users to create a personalized diet profile which is customized to individual weight-loss goals. The system can support diets such as Atkins, South Beach, Zone and more, and provides the ability to interact with other users for support.

References and recommended reading

MyPlate. US Dept of Agriculture website. Accessed December 16, 2015.

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. USDA website. December 16, 2015.


Review Date: December 16, 2015.