The first step to eating smart and preventing weight gain in the New Year begins with the shopping cart.  From the moment you step in the grocery store, be sure to stock up on power foods before anything else.

1.  Hit the fruit and vegetable isle first.  The is one of the most important choices you can make to maintain your health.  The darker the color for vegetables in general, the higher the nutrient content.  Romaine lettuce, for example, has six times more vitamin C and eight times fore vital A by weight than iceberg lettuce.

2.  Choose beef that is labeled with the words loin, 99% fat free ground beef, leg and round cuts.  Pork should be purchased as tenderloin, leg, shoulder or canadian bacon.  Veal is generally all lean unless it is ground.  Choose poultry without skin, ground breast of turkey/chicken and lean white meat (chicken breast) over dark (legs & wings).  Opt for fresh fish, frozen filets or shellfish over breaded or fried varieties.  Deli meats should be broiled, baked, lean (at least 95% fat-free) and free of injected oils or nitrates.

3.  Choose non-fat, skim or 1% milk fat dairy or non-dairy alternatives.  The calcium content of low-fat dairy products is still equal to or greater than that of full-fat products.  You'll still get bone-building nutrition but without the extra fat.  If you prefer non-dairy items, almond milk, soy milk and flax milk are good options.

4.  Fats.  The more liquid a fat, the better!  When you are shopping, look for unsaturated fats and oils (olive, canola, safflower, grape seed extract or corn oil) over lard, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated soy bean oils.

5.  Dressings and Condiments.  Look for low-fat or fat free dressings, fat-free mayonnaise, reduced fat peanut or nut butter, low-sugar jams and jelly, low-sugar syrups and sugar-free gelatins and puddings.

6.  An average supermarket has well over 30,000 foods in the store.  The ones they want you to buy are often high in fats and carbohydrate and usually stocked at eye level.  Be on guard for tempting cookies and candies, high-sugar cereals, pre-packaged snacks and chips, packaged baked goods, cake mixes, pies, breads, pastries, sugary sodas, pre-made pizza, fat filled frozen dinners and most boxed foods.

7.  Never, never shop on an empty stomach.  Make a power food shopping list and stick to it.  If you keep it up, your body will love you forever!