What Are the Best Eating Disorder Recovery Apps?

What Are the Best Eating Disorder Recovery Apps?

What Are the Best Eating Disorder Recovery Apps?

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Key Takeaways

  • Eating disorder recovery apps can complement your treatment but should not replace therapy and counseling. 
  • Use apps built with evidence-based practices for eating disorder treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Different apps offer digital diaries, food prompts, and motivational coping cards. Some include in-app messaging to your provider for immediate support.

Modern technology has brought patient care directly to your home through apps you can download onto your phone or tablet devices. These apps can support your eating disorder recovery but should not replace care from an eating disorder-informed healthcare team. 

In this article, you’ll learn the potential benefits of using an app during recovery and which eating disorder apps are scientifically proven to help adjunct to therapy.

Nourish offers individualized nutrition counseling covered by insurance. If you are ready to take the next step in your eating disorder recovery, consider booking a virtual appointment with a Registered Dietitian!

Can Apps Help with Disordered Eating?

Some people are more likely than others to experience the benefits of using an app to support their eating disorder recovery. Having an app eliminates the need for pen and paper, which can appeal to some people who already rely on their smartphones for daily tasks. 

A 2015 review suggests that apps may appeal to people not ready to commit to therapy but want to explore what treatment for an eating disorder could look like. During this contemplative stage, they are more likely to browse through app content and decide if the material might be helpful for them. 

The review also suggests that anonymity might appeal to people who don’t feel comfortable discussing their health with a therapist. Although an app is not comprehensive enough to replace therapy, it can be a gateway to seeking more appropriate treatment. 

Other features of apps that could be beneficial include symptom trackers, reinforcement of skills already learned, personal reminders, and sometimes a community forum with peer support.

What Makes Apps Helpful?  

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a predominant element of eating disorder recovery. This therapy teaches you how to change your thinking patterns, which can lessen generalized anxiety and help you change your disordered eating behaviors. 

Self-monitoring is a critical skill that is developed using CBT. Having access to an app at all times of day offers more opportunities to record symptoms, thoughts, changes in mood, and anything else that feels relevant to your recovery. 

People who develop this degree of awareness may experience better recovery outcomes, but it will vary per individual. A small 2018 study in Denmark found that some people benefitted from a self-monitoring app, while others found it an impediment to daily life. The concluding sentiments towards the app were subjective. 

You and your clinician should decide if an app is right for your recovery. If you don’t enjoy technology, receiving notifications, and being on your phone, an app may not be appropriate.

Nourish can connect you with a Registered Dietitian specializing in disordered eating. If you need expert support to help you improve your relationship with food, consider booking a virtual nutrition appointment with a Registered Dietitian

Choosing an App for Eating Disorder Recovery

You can use an app at any stage of your recovery. We recommend choosing an app that incorporates evidence-based practices into its framework. Examples include CBT or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Most apps offer homework, which can help you apply therapy knowledge and further develop your skills.  

Other mental health disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, can exist alongside an eating disorder. Using apps to improve this area of your mental health can also benefit your eating disorder recovery. 

Some apps will serve as a digital diary, while others will prompt you with daily food and mealtime reminders; you can try different apps until you find one that fits your needs. Most apps are available for Apple and Android devices and can be downloaded directly from the app store. 

The Best Eating Disorder Recovery Apps 

All of our recommendations use evidence-based content and are regularly recommended by clinicians. The best app for you is one that complements your treatment plan and doesn’t burden you or interfere with your recovery. If an app is not working for you, stick with the treatment plan outlined by your specialist and continue to attend therapy regularly.  

Recovery Record: Eating Disorder Management

This app is a patient management app, and you can invite your clinician to be involved through the app. The widgets include meal logs, meal plans, learning coping skills, and messaging with your provider. The app follows privacy and security laws (it is HIPPA compliant), which makes it a safe option. 

MindShift CBT

CBT therapy is a core element of treatment for eating disorders. CBT teaches you how to improve anxiety management through daily tools. The interactive app has recorded meditations to prevent a panic attack, coping cards, journaling prompts, and offers general health tips. 

Rise Up + Recover: An Eating Disorder Monitoring and Management Tool for Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, and EDNOS

A key feature of this app is the self-monitoring homework assignments based on CBT. It can be helpful to complete these assignments between your therapy appointments. Users have noted the messaging in this app is empowering and supportive. 

Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help

A CBT-specific app that uses diary entries to help you understand your thoughts and feelings. This app can help decrease anxiety about specific thoughts by teaching you how to think differently. Developing these skills can help you feel more in control of your mental health and better manage your anxiety levels.  

Brighter Bite - ED Recovery

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) can help reduce eating disorder symptoms and improve body image. This app teaches you how to apply ACT principles through short and easy-to-follow modules. This information can help you acknowledge denial, accept difficult realities about your health, and feel motivated to make positive changes. 

Can an App Replace Eating Disorder Treatment?

Little data exists on the benefits of using apps for eating disorder recovery, but specialists agree it cannot replace therapy. The recommended treatment for all eating disorders includes a combination of therapy visits, dietitian support, family counseling, and medications as needed. 

Online Treatment for Eating Disorders 

Online treatment includes virtual counseling appointments and using apps and other devices to manage your recovery. 

A 2019 review suggests that online treatment can help people compared to no treatment at all. Having online options increases access for people unable to meet for regular in-person visits. 

Online treatment options can increase attendance because there are fewer barriers to attending appointments; this can help increase accountability for therapy. The results and possible improvements in recovery will vary based on the individual.   

Nourish offers individualized nutrition counseling. If you are ready to take the next step in your eating disorder recovery, consider booking a virtual appointment with a Registered Dietitian!


Recovering from an eating disorder can make you feel vulnerable and possibly very anxious. Most people in recovery will benefit from care from a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. This includes a therapist, dietitian, and physician who will provide you with unconditional support. 

An evidence-based eating disorder recovery app can help you stay motivated and on track between appointments. You can even invite members of your care team to most apps, and they can celebrate your progress. Some people enjoy community forums on the app and relating to peers.  

Research published in 2020 has shown that including a dietitian trained in eating disorder management can hugely benefit your eating disorder recovery. They can address urgent nutrition matters, such as deficiencies or malnutrition. Improving your nutrition status is a priority for recovery. 

Seeking Help 

An eating disorder recovery app can be a supportive tool in your care plan, but it can not replace therapy. Surrounding yourself with compassionate and expertly trained professionals can be the most helpful intervention for recovery. 

Nourish offers individualized nutrition counseling. If you are ready to take the next step in your eating disorder recovery, consider booking a virtual appointment with a Registered Dietitian!

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