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Advent of the smart lunchbox is the game-changer everyone has been waiting for

New breed of healthy living tools takes care of the missing element in the fitness trackers’ package – analysing what we eat before we exercise

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2016, 10:54am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2016, 10:54am

You try to stick to healthy meals at home: but what’s in your lunchbox? And how much is enough, when it comes to portion control?

Analysing what goes into our mouths, before we try to run, cycle or swim off those calories, is one element of the whole health package most connected fitness trackers seem to have missed - until now. A new breed of healthy living tools aims to take care of that.

Could you imagine a smart lunchbox which works out the nutritional value of its contents? A couple of health-conscious entrepreneurs did, so they developed Prepd Pack, a neatly–designed, bento-style lunchbox which takes the guesswork out of what’s inside.

The whole thing starts with an app. The user chooses from an evolving library of recipes created by professional chefs and nutritionists to suit a broad range of diets, appetites, and health goals. All recipes are designed to fit the lunchbox’s modular containers – so you know precisely how much you are eating, and also avoid food waste.

The app does the calorie counting for you, storing the data for on-demand feedback about your diet. And the lunchbox itself is so beautifully crafted you’d happily tuck one under the arm for the commute to work. It’s eco-friendly to boot, manufactured from high quality, recycled and sustainable materials.

Going further, the Wi-fi connected, Bluetooth-enabled SmartPlate under development is like the big brother of the buffet. Its surface area is divided into sections designed to encourage “healthful eating portions”, although uncomfortably reminiscent of a toddler’s first plate.

What you can’t see are the cameras that enable advanced recognition of food on the plate, and the sensors which weigh it. The device can even, apparently, tell the difference between white and wholemeal pasta, so there’s no cheating, and the developers say it’s getting smarter all the time.

The data is sent to your smartphone app for health analysis, and yes, SmartPlate will integrate with your Fitbit.

But how will you know if your diet and exercise regimen is adequately meeting your weight loss goal? Enter a new breath technology device from LEVL, which its developers say can judge whether the body is in a fat-burning state, known as ketosis.

This is achieved by measuring the amount of acetone in an individual's breath – producing results like a clinical test would normally do. The LEVL score appears on the device and connects with a smartphone app for real-time analysis and predictive information. By comparing the LEVL score with their diet and exercise choices, users may choose to adjust their routine to maximise fat loss.   

If a little more effort at the gym is in order, you don’t need to leave home to take a class any more. Cycling brand Peloton has developed a Wi-fi connected, interactive bike with a screen on the handlebars that lets you join a virtual spin class.  Your real-life coach is an actual New York City trainer, who will yell motivational-speak while the music is pumping – and if you don’t happen to like your instructor, you can simply pick a new one from the menu.

A monthly subscription is required to keep the classes going, but this includes unlimited streaming rides, live and on-demand. The subscription is limited to the bike, not the user – so whoever takes the Peloton Cycle for a spin can also join a class.

You can chat to classmates while you ride. And because you’re in your own home, the wearing of Lycra is optional.