We’ve previously talked about awareness of eating smart for wellness, along with making the right lifestyle choices. We boomers know that long-term maintenance of our well-being has environmental dimensions and an organic food supply source, free of toxins and hormones, is critical. For multi-sport family athletes and adventure junkies it’s even more critical to eat the right food to avoid the bonk!

For family eating tips for sport fun, let’s take a page from the new military diet recently featured in an article in Business Week. We, too, can revamp family menus and workouts to power up our play. Look at food as fuel. Eat with purpose! There are certain foods that can amp up your metabolism and burn more calories (and therefore fat) faster. Start by replacing high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, and white flour in your pantry with whole foods and plant-based protein sources. Drink low-fat milk and real fruit juice. Choose fruits for energy. Replace white bread and pasta with whole grains, sunflower seeds, yogurt, and salsa. Eat sustainably and higher on the food pyramid. Pay attention to the nutrition-per-calorie ratio: 60 percent carbs, 20 percent protein (or less), 20 percent fat (more if “essential fats” such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids & less protein).

There’s nothing worse than being out on the slopes or the trails and suddenly running out of gas. You’ve just bonked! During strenuous exercise, the body relies on carbohydrates for most of its energy, even though fat stores are usually much larger. Most carbohydrates come from glycogen stored in the liver and in the leg muscles, with a small amount in the blood. Checkout this new study described in the Oct. 21 issue of PLoS Computational Biology for calculating fuel loading and aerobic capacity to avoid hitting the wall. It’s fascinating stuff.

Get the book, Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. The book’s thesis is simple: “Excess body fat is the enemy of performance… As body-fat levels go down, aerobic capacity goes up, because muscle has less competition from fat tissue for oxygen and fuel.” Again, note the aerobic capacity link to avoid bonking. “Your genes place limits on how much more muscle and fat you can gain or lose, but within these limits, there is a fair degree of adaptive potential,” Fitzgerald writes, citing a Wake Forest University study showing that body fat percentage is 64 percent inherited but that lifestyle controls the rest.

Reality Check: Chart body fat percentage (B.M.I.). Count calories for intake and outgo. Look at food as fuel and eat with purpose. It’s how to power up your play.

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