Sports nutritionist Heidi Skolnik says that the clock is ticking.
"You're right to really pay attention to what you eat over 40," she says. "What we do in this decade predicts our vitality in the next.
"If you don't get your nutritional house in order in your 40s, I promise you that it isn't going to get easier," she says with a laugh.
Skolnik, the author of "Grill Yourself Skinny," says that a solid diet, plus cardio combined with strength training is the perfect combination.
"There is also the idea of nutrient timing," she says. "It's about when you eat and how you distribute those calories. It's not just about watching calories and not over-doing it.
"We know now that how you distribute your calories throughout the day really matters," she says. "As we age, sometimes our cravings aren't as great as they were when we were younger.
"Then there is the whole idea of control or managing our hunger," she says. "Even when you weight is stable, you should still distribute your calories in a smart way throughout the day."
SAMPLE PLANS FOR BREAKFAST
Heidi says that her perfect breakfast begins with 8 ounces of Florida orange juice. "It's a great way to get your vitamin C that you need, but you will need more vitamin C later in the day, too."
Some of her breakfast choices:
An omelet or scrambled eggs with a slice of whole wheat toast and the glass of Florida orange juice
A breakfast burrito on the small side with the OJ.
A corn cake with peanut butter and a glass of milk.
Heidi says, "Make a latte for breakfast with real milk. Another favorite choice of mine is lox with crackers and tomato. You can also make a whole grain waffle, but top it with cottage cheese for the protein, plus add some fruit and nuts, too."
SAMPLE PLANS FOR LUNCH AND DINNER
Heidi says that lunch offers some broad options. "Your choices are as varied as your palate," she says.
Her lunch choices:
A salad made with veggies and topped with your favorite protein and beans.
A simple chicken stir fry made with olive oil, chicken and veggies
Half a sandwich with a glass of pure Florida orange juice
"Pay attention to your body," she advises. "If you're having a hungry day then add some more substantial food. Maybe you want something crunchy to bite into. Do pay attention to cravings and have healthy options around."
Her dinner choices:
Your favorite protein and a veggie with a sweet potato or brown rice on the side
Skip the big plate of pasta and adjust it down to half a cup of pasta, topped with chicken and broccoli. Mix a little OJ and seltzer for a healthy drink.
SOME FINAL TIPS:
"Vitamin C is very important. It's a water soluble vitamin," Heidi says. "So keep your eye on your C intake. Maybe add some red peppers later in the day, have broccoli for dinner or splash some Florida orange juice in your veggies."
"Make sure to eat protein throughout the day. Your body can only absorb so much of it at one time. You should have protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner."
"Eat fresh fruit for the fiber," she says.