AP: Juniors Shanghai preview

Chinese takeaway on the menu for BMW Juniors. Shanghai, China - As Formula BMW Asia arrives in China for the closing rounds to the 2006 season, Education & Coaching Programme Fitness Instructor Roman Engel will be keeping a particularly close...

Chinese takeaway on the menu for BMW Juniors.

Shanghai, China - As Formula BMW Asia arrives in China for the closing rounds to the 2006 season, Education & Coaching Programme Fitness Instructor Roman Engel will be keeping a particularly close eye on the BMW Juniors' diets. In a country well known for its culinary diversity, as well as for being generous hosts, many of the dishes on offer will fit perfectly into the ideal meal plan, while others will be strictly off the menu.

Having traveled to Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand already this year, the Juniors have sampled several different regional cuisines, and Engel says many Chinese dishes are a good option for a racing driver: "If you look at the ideal food pyramid for a driver, fats and sugars will be right at the top, with carbohydrate - or driver "fuel" - at the base making up the largest percentage. Rice, a staple of the Chinese diet, is a good form of carbohydrate."

The upcoming two rounds are to be held in Shanghai as part of the Formula 1T Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix later this month, and the city is famous for its noodles, a dish given the green light by Engel: "Braised noodles are also a good form of ingesting carbohydrate and, with flash-fried vegetables cooked quickly to retain all the vitamins, would make a good pre-race meal."

Shanghai is also famous for its steamed pork dumplings, or "Siu Long Bao", but Engel recommends a vegetable version as being preferable: "Meat is high in protein which has body-building properties. While drivers must have enough protein to be strong and fit, they must carefully watch the quantities they consume. It should form a maximum of 20% of their daily food intake."

Bean curd, or "tofu", is served throughout China in a multitude of different ways, and can be a good alternative to meat, particularly on race days when protein intake should be very light, as it contains less fat. However, as is the case with noodles and dumplings, it should be steamed or braised and not fried.

Many Chinese teas will be off the menu as they often contain caffeine, a definite "no no" as it generally increases the heart rate and can increase anxiety, something which the Juniors, racing in front of the Formula One fraternity in Shanghai, will certainly not need. Says Engel: "In addition to water, diluted apple juice is the ideal drink as it contains a lot of minerals and salt, and the body absorbs it quickly."

A popular Chinese seasonal dish the drivers are likely to find on the menu at the moment are freshwater crabs, a delicacy famous throughout China and found in one particular lake in Jiangsu Province. The crabs are steamed and eaten on their own, washed down with sweetened stem ginger tea. Crab meat is very low in fat compared to most fish and, of course, meat, but as it contains no carbohydrate, does not make a suitable pre-race meal. Ginger however, without added sugar, is good for stamina and attentiveness.

With Engel keeping a watchful eye, the BMW Juniors are all set for a healthy and interesting Chinese culinary experience.

-credit: bmw

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