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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Eleven Plus Food

As the Eleven Plus examinations grow nearer thoughts of parents must naturally turn towards food and immunity from any last minute problems. An attempt to change a child’s diet a few days before an examination will probably erupt into a mini battle of wills.

Very occasionally a mother or father may wake up feeling tired and irritable. If their child wakes up the same way the concerned parent would possibly first of all look at food. We know that an eleven plus child needs good food to provide energy. Parents, however, have the privilege of being able to add alcohol, sugary drinks and chocolate to the diet. It would, however, be a very sad day if parents had to give up late nights, snacks and all junk food for the duration of the Eleven Plus run in to the examination.

If a child is looking run down, a concerned parent will immediately deliver a lecture on ‘blood sugar management’. They will tell their child to eat a good blend of food – with carbohydrates being the key as they are most easily converted into glucose. A parent will then go on to confirm the need for their child to eat a balanced diet that includes proteins and fats - as these have the necessary vital nutrients. If a child is feeling stressed then he or she will need extra energy – but sweets, chocolates and canned goods will only give a temporary sugar surge. In theory nibbling on raw vegetables and fruit is an equally quick method of boosting energy – but try telling that to your stressed and hungry child.

Children attending lessons straight after school often bring food to their lessons with us. It is fascinating to see the range of foods that some children prefer. Some children will arrive with a plastic bag or bowl full of healthy `nibbles’. Other children arrive munching on chocolate bars, crisps and fizzy drinks.

When we run holiday courses that last from nine to one, we do ban chocolates and fizzy drinks. Some children appear to have problems coping with the dreaded sugar surge.

Some children may become conditioned to studying and doing Eleven Plus papers with the aid of the dreaded `junk’ food. I wonder if they do as well in the examination?

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