Nutrition impacts every single element of your life. Your daily energy levels, weight, risk for disease and even the level of self-confidence you feel about your outer appearance are all tied to nutrition and nutrition comes down to habit.

If you currently entertain more bad eating habits than healthy good ones, it’s time for a lifestyle/nutritional makeover.

The great thing is, you won’t have to be a nutritional specialist to figure it out. Healthy smart nutrition is nothing more than a focus on the basics and turning that focus into healthy daily habits.

Since your food choices begin with your shopping list…changing your eating habits starts there too. Healthy smart habits are what see you through. They are the glue that guide your daily actions.

Here’s a few food shopping and food prep tips that help you make wise nutritional choices and create healthy habits.

Never Grocery Shop hungry –

If you food shop without a game plan, you’re only inviting in trouble. You’ll be at a much higher risk of putting foods into your cart (all those fancy packaged processed foods that call out to you) that you otherwise would not. Once in your cart they’re as good as in your cupboard, on your table and in your tummy. “Out of sight, out of mind” is the mantra you need to adopt when shopping. You can’t eat what you don’t have lurking in your cupboards, fridge or freezer.

Make a List –

Take time before heading out to plan out what you will cook that week. List all items you need to pick up and don’t deviate from it. Once you get in the habit of making a list, it becomes second nature. It saves times by assuring you pick up all you need for your weekly recipes (you won’t have to make multiple trips) and the time you spend at the store considering foods will be less.

Know When to Splurge –

It’s important to know when to save and when to splurge when grocery shopping. Certain items are well worth paying premium for as far as your health is concerned. The main areas you should pay attention to in the produce department are the “dirty dozen”…apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, snap peas, spinach, strawberries and sweet bell peppers. These are the most important ones to purchase organically. Other premium areas are free range poultry, grass fed beef and freshly caught wild fish.

Prep Multiple Meals at Once –

Get out of the habit of preparing single serve dishes and instead adopt the habit of making large batches of food. Your mantra should be: “Cook once, eat three times.” Batch cooking saves time, money and energy. Chances are you’ll make better use of the groceries you buy and there will be less waste.

Designate a Day for Food Prep –

It’s a smart idea to designate one day a week to strictly food prep. Pick a day when you are not that busy so you have time to tend to multiple meals in the kitchen. Prepping and preparing as many meals as possible for the week ahead on one day really reduces the burden of cooking during busy week nights. Get into the habit of planning to do this and soon it will be part of your regular weekly routine.

Freeze Individual Servings –

If you’re really not into eating the same meal two days in a row and left-overs are just not appealing to you, start freezing some foods in individual serving size portions. Most dishes freeze well and they’ll be waiting for you on those days when you’re on the run or when you arrive home hungry but too tired to cook.

Begin With a Foundation of Protein and Vegetables –

Lean protein is going to help preserve your muscle mass tissue and combat hunger pains while the vegetables add more bulk to your diet. This helps fill you up and ensure that you are getting your nutrient intake while keeping your calorie intake where it should be. Once these two are in place then simply add in some carbohydrates and healthy fats. You should aim to fill 50 percent of your plate with vegetables, 25 percent with lean protein and the remaining 25 percent from other foods.

In the end, a big part of healthy eating is “preparing to do so.” In other words, those who “fail to plan, plan to fail.”

Although not overly complicated or confusing, getting rid of old habits and replacing them with healthier options can sometimes be a daunting task. It takes time, tenacity and conscious effort backed by sufficient motivation to shift mostly “unconscious eating habits” into “conscious healthy” ones.

Is the pain worth the gain? You bet it is. Your reward is a healthy body and mind – something no one can put a price tag on.

Keep these principles in mind as you adjust your approach to preparing your daily meals…

If you truly want to to support your energy levels, build resistance to disease and perform your daily activities with ease, you need to  take command of your diet and daily eating habits.

“Reclaim Your Longevity” can help you do just that…

For more tools and resources from Carolyn Hansen to assist you in attaining your health and fitness goals and achieving the success you desire in life, please visit:

Carolyn Hansen Fitness

Isn’t it time to throw away all the false statements you’ve accepted about dieting and exercise and learn what it really takes to stay healthy and fit long into your senior years?