Smash Your Food HD is a highly entertaining app for iPad dedicated to the better understanding of the amounts of sugar, salt and oil found within foods that are commonly eaten.
With five levels included, players are asked to determine the amounts of these substances by reviewing the nutritional facts of each food in question and then watching as these foods get pulverized - much to the delight of children.
I really like that although a nutrition app, this app shows children how math can have a very practical application in their lives as the grams of sugar and oil, along with the milligrams of salt, must be converted to the units of measure found within the app, specifically sugar cubes (4 grams per cube) 1/8 teaspoon pours of salt equaling 288 mg each as well as teaspoons of oil (4 grams per spoonful) After these calculations are made and the answers are entered, one gets to smash the food, and boy does the food get smashed!
Do keep a calculator handy to make these calculations easier, especially the 288 that one must divide into the sodium mg of foods to come up with the number of 1/8 teaspoons of salt that one is looking for in an answer. It is also good to know that 1/2 measurements are not possible so players must round up or down to a whole number - another math element taught with a real world application.
Impressive HG videos are shown of each food being pulverized by a vice that closes down, smushing and smashing these foods in the messiest ways possible, complete with fun, squishy sound effects. My son at four does not fully get the heath aspect of this app but loves to smash the foods within this app. Few apps have brought the smiles and squeals that this app delivers, creating a truly addicting experience for both him and for me.
Complete meals are included by the 5th level, as are “crazy” levels that include a “super-sized” load of food - just for fun really - as the splat here is, as one can imagine, all the more epic.
I enjoy the visual of not only the food being flattened but the look of the food elements being filled into beakers below the smashing machine, as sugar cubes, salt shakes and teaspoons can be seen doing measurements, sometimes overfilling these beakers with sugar cubes being heard dropping off screen as the beaker has been filled and the sugar presumably backs up into the machine, as well as the oil that may spill out over the beaker when too much continues to be poured.
It would be nice to be able to enter in one’s best guesses on sugar, salt and oil after seeing the food mashed, as the level of oil that get squeezed out of some foods is quite telling, allowing people to use their understanding of these ingredient amounts based on info previously learned from this app instead of doing the math, especially since one can gain stars for answers not only spot-on, but for showing an understanding that a food stuff is higher or lower than the amount allowed per meal players are allowed. Be aware that stars are not given for previously correct answers, confusing for us in the beginning of playing this game.
It is a nice touch that the info of six players can be stored within this app, and that each player has a different limit of sugar, salt, and oil that is the maximum allowed per meal. I do find it unfortunate, however, that this app features only the most junky and the most obviously bad-to-consume foods, with no choices that are fully actually allowed under the guidelines that one learns about in the beginning of this app based on the player's age and level of activity, even making certain junk foods look like a lesser-evil food because healthy food options are not offered.
I also find that the nutrition elements are overly simplified as here, all fats are bad fats, which in the real world is not the case - yet among these foods, it is very much so. Topics such as fiber, protein and glycemic index are also not covered, being beyond the scope of this delightfully disgusting app.
In a future update, I would love to smash a bowl of guacamole, yogurt, watermelon or a pomegranate, as well as choices such as rotisserie chicken, sushi, grilled salmon or a simple plate of beans and rice to show food choices that one can eat without regret. I would also love to see foods that are worse for people than one may imagine, such as muffins, which are notorious for high levels of sugar and oil as well as more Chinese food choices, a cuisine that if cooked without concern can be full of crazy amounts of oil - something that even many adults don’t realize or choose to ignore, or a salad loaded with creamy dressing - another common downfall.
Even with the notes given, this is a highly entertaining, addictive application that will certainly entertain children. I a happy to announce that Smash Your Food HD has won the Michelle Obama's Apps For Healthy Kids contest, and it is nice that emails including tips and advice are available to be received each time one completes a level.
I hope that more levels and foods can be added in the future, ideally with healthy food substitutions to encourage good nutritional choices, helping players choose foods other than those included within this application.