[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R9QWkjwhGA&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]Drop chicken into the wok, listen as it sizzles and pops. Toss in a few snap peas, sprinkle on some spices, and stir. Watch as a dragon in chef’s garb rates the nutritional value of your dish.
Drag ’n Cook, a new iPhone app from Joslin’s Asian American Diabetes Initiative (AADI), lets you digitally prepare your own cuisine while monitoring the overall health of the ingredients involved.
“This is based on home cooking,” said Chihiro Hernandez. “It’s a good way to assess how you can make your food better or healthier.”
The app, available in iTunes today, comes with a Basic and a Chinese package—vegetables, meats and spices traditionally found in Chinese cuisines. From these 200+ ingredients, users can follow recipes or create their own dishes by dragging and dropping food icons into a frying pan.
The app provides trivia tidbits and full nutritional information about each food. If that doesn’t sate your curiosity you can tap on the Wikipedia icon to learn more.
Cookbooks don’t always list the nutrition value of each ingredient. Drag ‘n Cook is a good way to see if, when combined, the recommended foods have too many carbs, too much sodium, or too much fat.
In learning about the food, the creators in the AADI hope that users can figure out how to substitute healthier options into existing recipes, or come up with their own good-for-you concoctions.
“Drag ‘n Cook is about empowering individuals to take control of what they eat,” said William Hsu, M.D., co-Director of the AADI. “It can help people reach their health goals by choosing what they like to eat, not by following someone else’s food list or recipes.”
And once users have made the recipe their own, they can save the ingredients, add a picture and instructions, and share their creation via email or on Facebook.
The end result is analyzed along three different guidelines – AADI’s traditional Asian diet, the percent Daily Value scale, and USDA’s. For anyone unfamiliar with these guidelines, the app provides a handy refresher for a full understanding of how your food is rated.
“There’s always a way to modify,” said Hernandez. “We want you to take control of it, and share your ideas and inspirations with other people.”
Drag’nCook will be released with the Chinese package, but the AADI has plans to create add-ons featuring more packages, such as Japanese, Indian, and eventually more broad non-Asian inspired cuisines. Each package comes with one healthy traditional recipe. Ingredients can be mixed together in various cookware–a frying pan, a wok, and an urli all come with the first release version.
“We hope people will start to eat healthy, cook healthy, enjoy eating, and hopefully learn about something new,” said Hernandez.