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The best iPhone health, fitness and cooking apps

So you own an iPhone, and you want to know what the best apps for Apple’s smartphone are, naturally enough. After all, the reason that many folks choose Apple is for its famous app ecosystem.

Recently, we looked at the best Android apps across a number of articles, splitting them up into different categories such as utilities, reference and so forth (see the final article in that series here, which has links to all the others in the introduction).

And we’re now doing the same thing with the iPhone. We’ve already looked at the best reference apps, productivity apps, utilities, communication apps, iPhone games, and hobby apps; now it’s time to check out the best in health, fitness and cooking apps.

Note that if you don’t want to follow such an in-depth examination of iPhone apps, and would rather see just a short summary of the most important software, you can simply check out our 10 essential iPhone apps article.

Furthermore, some of these apps cost money. If you’re not keen on spending, and would rather look at a list of the best free apps, then see our Top 30 must-have free iPhone apps.

Finally, if you know of a great app that we haven’t covered, please tell us about it in the comments section below. If you have time, give us the full name of the app, price, and a short description so other readers can learn about your favourites, too.

Right, let’s get on with looking at the best in health, fitness and cooking apps, which includes the likes of Dinner Spinner Pro, MyFitnessPal and WebMD.

By the way, if you want to download an app, simply click on the title, which links to the app in iTunes. Dinner Spinner Pro (£1.99) Dinner Spinner is, like Epicurious, a recipe app filled with user-uploaded content and ratings, but the one thing it has that Epicurious lacks is a filter for how much time the recipe requires. Busy people with little time for whisking soufflés, curing fish, or sitting idly by for six hours while the proteins in their pork butt break down in a slow cooker, know the real value of a 20 minute meal. The "spinner" part of the app's name comes from the filter categories on the home page. You can set them as you like, or play roulette (with an audio cue to boot).

Cyclemeter (£2.99)

Bicycle tracking app Cyclemeter collects a wealth of data, is very accurate, contains several well thought out features, and appeals to fitness enthusiasts who participate in more than one sport. This £2.99 iPhone app maps and records your bicycle rides, then compiles all the data into excellent graphs. And despite its name, Cyclemeter doesn't just record cycling. Other activities, from cross-country skiing to running, come preloaded so at the touch of a button, you can leverage the app for more than one sport – an enormous benefit.

Epicurious (free)

Epicurious is a recipe app, and I'll openly admit that it's not my favourite. I'm actually a fan of Dinner Spinner Pro which we’ve just mentioned – but that app costs money, and of the free recipe app options, Epicurious is the best. Developed by Condé Nast, this app pulls recipes from a huge catalogue, including the archives of Bon Appétit and the now defunct Gourmet magazine. You can search by ingredient or by the type of dish you want to make, such as appetisers and "weeknight dinners."

GAIN Fitness (free)

This app acts as a total workout buddy, coaching you through a fully customised exercise routine as often (or seldom) as you want. The app boasts an excellent set of options, and it can remind you to work out and even customise the exercises you can do while on the go, at home, or at the gym. It comes with a substantial amount of exercises, but you can buy additional specialty packs – such as yoga – starting from £1.99 each.

MapMyRide+ (£1.99)

Most tech-connected bicycle nerds have heard of MapMyRide+, which is made by the same company that developed the equally well-known MapMyRun. Both apps track your route via GPS while you run or cycle, and utilise a map to show you where you went after you're done. It also displays your ride length as well as pace, maximum speed, and a few other statistics. MapMyRide is a solid companion for cyclists, not to mention an excellent tool for new cyclists in particular. Note that right now, MapMyRide+ is on offer for free, so go grab it quick if you’re interested.

MyFitnessPal (free)

The free fitness app MyFitnessPal is one of the best all-in-one calorie counter and exercise trackers for the iPhone. A simple design and interface makes using the app a quick process rather than a fatiguing chore, which is essential when trying to reach a long-term fitness or weight goal. The selling feature of this app is its exhaustive food and nutrition database, which trounces every competitor's that we've seen.

Pepperplate (free)

Pepperplate, which is available as a web app as well as an iPhone and iPad app, is a nifty tool that lets you save recipes that you find online, or write your own, and export the ingredients to a shopping list. The mobile app is essential for the shopping part. It also has a calendar for meal planning, which is a feature that's not often seen in other food and recipe apps. It's a good recipe management tool, and a handy reference when you're shopping for your next meals.

RunKeeper (free)

Runners, fitness enthusiasts, and anyone trying to shed a few pounds might know that the iPhone is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to helping you track your exercise. With the RunKeeper app, one of the most popular apps among outdoor runners in particular, you can tap into the phone's GPS technology to map where you've run, jogged, or walked. (You can also manually enter information from indoor runs). RunKeeper figures out more statistics for you, like your pace, total distance covered, and so on. All your data is synced to the site, where you can view a history of all your activities. The app also has a coaching feature if you want audio some encouragement while you're working out.

WebMD (free)

WebMD is much more than a diagnosis app, although you certainly can use it to input symptoms you are experiencing and find some clues as to what's ailing you. It also contains first aid guides – simple instructions for dealing with an emergency that everyone should have accessible to them at any time. This free reference app is one that you’ll hope you don't ever need, but the moment you do, you'll be glad you downloaded it.