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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Just say no...

`Mum, please can I have some chocolate? My exam is today and I really, really do feel nervous!’

`Please Mum, I am not feeling at all well. Just a little chocolate will help.’

Why is it that so many people have similar chocolate eating habits? We all know of people who have eaten three or four thick bars of chocolate – or a whole box at one sitting. Some of us have actually done that our selves! It seems that a taste of chocolate triggers off a desire for more.

We know that chocolate contains fat, sugar and cocoa. But there is also the stimulant caffeine. We are lucky that there isn’t enough caffeine in chocolate to severely affect an adult’s nervous system. Scientists have told us that dark chocolate is better for us than milk chocolate. We have also been told that it is not bad to eat some chocolate – in moderation. But chocolate before an examination?

Just before the eleven plus examinations try to make sure that there is simply no chocolate in the house. Make sure too that you do not allow your child to walk into any shop that has chocolate of any kind what so ever. The emotional pressure that children can bring to bear on parents at certain times has to be experienced to be believed. On the way to the examination don’t stop the car for anything at all.

We have a copy of Jamie Oliver’s 1999 `Naked Chef’. He lists four recipes with chocolate. In the recipe for a simple chocolate tart he mentions `chocofreaks’ – but he does say that the better the chocolate you buy the better the taste. Jamie was not writing about children and examinations – but he still makes a lot of sense!

We naturally also have a copy of Amanda Grant’s `Kids Kitchen’. She writes on baby and toddler nutrition. She suggests a wide range of menus for children learn to cook. Her ideas for melted chocolate include:

Dipping balls of ice cream into melted chocolate.
Half dipping flapjacks into melted chocolate.
Half dipping a mango into melted chocolate.

Chocolate makes us feel good. If your child has some chocolate just before the examination then your child may become distracted during the examination and have to try to deal with cravings as well as tricky questions.

Naturally you, as a parent, can buy and eat chocolate while your child is being tested. You need to be distracted. You need to eliminate your cravings. Jamie and Amanda won’t know. It is simply between you and your conscience. Just don’t leave any wrappings on the car seat for the kids to find.

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