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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Food and the Eleven Plus

We know about how body builders have to go onto strict diets just before championships to make sure all their muscles are perfectly defined. What a body builder is trying to do is to lose fat while gaining some muscle. So what body builders do is watch calories very carefully – if they want to gain muscle or lose fat they simply adjust their number of daily calories.

So if calorie control works for body builders then surely we can take some of these attitudes to food into the preparations for the eleven plus examination. We know we need carbohydrates for energy, we certainly need protein for building up the body and we need fats because fats are good for oiling the body’s joints and lubricating the brain.

Naturally every good eleven plus mother will want to start a special eleven plus garden to make sure that the eleven plus child has the best possible diet. You want your child to have access to crisp food, which is fresh and full of flavour. So you want to be able to feed strawberries, apples, grapes, peaches, lettuces, potatoes, peas and courgettes.

Naturally it will be a little bit easier to supply fresh food from your own locality if the eleven plus examination is in October. It will be much harder for the parents of children who are taking their examination in January. The ground will be that little bit colder. There could even be a little snow around.

So it looks as if many parents are going to have to be a little bit realistic about growing their own food and will need to rely on supermarkets and greengrocers. If you want to be able to supply two or three fresh strawberries for breakfast on the day of the examination then you will need a little careful planning. Of course you can preserve or freeze strawberries for that most important day. If, however, you are a parent determined to give your child the best possible chance you will need some careful preparation:

Buy your strawberry plants from a reputable source – you do want your strawberry to be disease free.

Strawberries need sun – preferable in a garden sloping towards the south.

Give your strawberries a rich loam – with a high humus content.

Plant early – the earlier the plants are planted out the stronger the plants will be.

Where then is the parallel with eleven plus preparation?

You can not have perfection all the time. You can do your best but you can not manipulate the seasons or the dates and times of the examinations.

Gather as much information about the examination as possible – from as many sources as possible. Sift through all the information and use what you want for yourself.

Start early in your eleven plus preparations. You do want your child to land up with a strong finish.

If you feel you can not do everything yourself – then shop around.

Good luck and healthy eating – but don’t forget to count the calories.

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