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  • $1.99

    Allergy Guard

    by CovertApps.com

    The first step in cooking for any special diet is to identify the foods you have to avoid. Fortunately, Allergy Guard has already done the work for you! Allergy Guard is essentially a well-organized, easy to use, and comprehensive database of ingredients, their secondary and alternative names, and how they relate to common allergens. Users can find information by creating a profile and allowing the app to mark potential interactions, manually searching for the allergen to find the other names (e.g. arachis is listed under peanut), or searching for ingredients and checking the associated allergens. Allergy Guard is even useful in non-allergy cooking, as its list of allergens includes ingredients that must be avoided for people following common dietary restrictions such as dairy, animals, and gluten.

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  • $4.99

    Food Intolerances - Histamine, Fructose, Salicylate & More.

    by Baliza GmbH

    If you are one of the unlucky few who needs more information (or more specialized information) on food than Allergy Guard provides, you should try the more detailed Food Intolerances. Food Intolerances is designed to focus on six specific allergic issues (histamine, gluten, fructose, milk, egg, and salicylate), but it has detailed technical information about ingredients and potential allergies that makes it useful for those with other issues. The app tries to convey as much information as possible, with explanations on the allergic conditions and even Wikipedia links in each ingredient page.

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  • $1.99

    Substitutions

    by Gormaya

    Now that you understand the ingredients you can’t use, it’s time to find out the ingredients you can! Substitutions is a handy app that has information on how to substitute for 414 ingredients in defined categories such as “gluten free,” “low sodium,” and “vegan.” Substitutions is a good option for basic information, but it can’t function as a cook’s only source of information on safe substitutions until it adds more content.

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  • $3.99

    Culinary Calculator Pro for Tablet

    by Couture Catering and Artistic Pastry Notions

    More advanced cooks might prefer to skip Substitutions and go directly to the more involved Culinary Calculator Pro for iPad. Although Culinary Calculator Pro has a larger database of ingredients and possible substitutions, the interface is not at all intuitive (except perhaps to fans of math or calculators). If you’re willing to spend the time to figure out how the substituting and converting works, you will be rewarded with multiple replacement options that have the amounts already calculated for you.

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  • $1.99

    MyFoodFacts

    by VISDATEC INC.

    Once you’ve gotten the hang of the ingredients, it’s time to go shopping! The ingredient apps are very useful, but an easier way to screen products for those not used to poring over labels is to use a barcode scanner app like MyFoodFacts in the store and then read the ingredients at home to double check. MyFoodFacts distinguishes itself from other offerings in the category by having the most comprehensive information on the products in its database-- it was the only one tested that accurately displayed “may contain” warning labels. Accuracy is so important for an app like this that it’s enough to make up for the frustrating scanner and the incomplete product database. As a bonus, MyFoodFacts lists FDA and allergy alerts and recalls, which is useful for everyone who wants to avoid contaminated food.

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  • Free

    Whole Foods Market Recipes

    by Whole Foods Market, Inc.

    Now that we’re sure the ingredients are safe, the real task begins: Cooking. The recipe app you want will depend on what the special dietary need is, but an excellent starting point is the free Whole Foods Market Recipes app. Although some apps such as AllRecipes and Epicurious allow filtering and some choices for special diets, the Whole Foods app seems designed for people with special diets. Each recipe is clearly labeled with a color-coded badge identifying the diet to which it belongs, making it easy to see if the recipe is safe.

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  • $8.99

    FOOD52 Holiday Recipe & Survival Guide

    by Open Air Publishing

    If you’re entertaining, Food 52 Holiday Recipe & Survival Guide is a great option, because it includes a section on “special recipe categories” such as vegetarian & vegan and gluten-free. Although most of the recipes in Food 52 are not tailored to a specific dietary need, the app has much to recommend it. It is beautifully designed, easy to navigate, and includes cooking techniques and information on entertaining.

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  • $2.99

    Allergy Free Entertaining

    by Melinda's Gluten Free Goodies

    Those new to the world of allergies, needing to avoid multiple ingredients or food types, or short on time (or patience) should check out Allergy Free Entertaining. Users can choose the type of recipe (savory or sweet), the purpose (e.g., for kids, entertaining) and/or the allergens to avoid, and the app displays the recipes that fit that criteria. Allergy Free Entertaining is also useful for the non-allergic, as it includes low sugar, vegetarian and vegan in its list of “allergens,” along with more classic allergens such as nuts, gluten, soy, and eggs. The app even provides alternatives for certain ingredients (although we wish it did not use a proprietary flour blend).

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  • $6.99

    Cook IT Allergy Free for iPad

    by My Allergy Free Recipes, LLC

    Those committed to lots of allergy-free cooking will want to try Cook IT Allergy Free for iPad! The app is a treasure trove of information for the allergic cook, including helpful tips on living with food allergies, product recommendations, and substitutions. Potential allergens are clearly marked on each recipe so that users know they can click on them to see a list of possible substitutions. The app is a dream for seasoned allergy experts, but may be a bit intimidating for new converts.

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  • $6.99

    Seriously Good! Gluten Free Living

    by Spots Consulting LTD

    Those needing only gluten-free recipes should try Seriously Good! Gluten Free Living. The app attempts to go beyond being a traditional recipe app by providing information about gluten free cooking, including basics such as flour mixes and “cupboard essentials.” The interface is polished and easy to navigate, and there are video options for many of the recipes. The only potential issue is that Seriously Good! Gluten Free is clearly designed for an international audience and may prove tricky for U.S. cooks who do not want to convert metric units or find substitutes for unfamiliar ingredients such as “treacle.”

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  • Free

    Healthy Recipes by SparkRecipes for iPad

    by SparkPeople

    Healthy Recipes by Spark Recipes for iPad is an excellent choice for those needing to cook a “healthy” meal (i.e., low fat, heart healthy, or diabetes-related). The app is simple and unadorned, but is easy to use and displays nutrition facts for each recipe. Users can browse, search or filter recipes by several categories, including occasion, dietary needs (e.g., gluten free and vegan), calories, and even prep time.