Tuesday, February 28, 2012

canteen, daily allowance & our failed plans

What's selling at the canteen
On top of daily packed food, we gave HQ a daily pocket money of RM 2 per day. On his first day of school, since we have 30 minutes to kill before his 15 minutes Di Zi Gui briefing at 12.45pm, we went to the canteen to explore. I wanted to see how's the pricing like and to point out to HQ the food that's good to buy for break.

Horror of all horrors!

The school canteen sells all kinds of junk! It's like a junk heaven for kids! All kinds of gassy drinks, sweets, and packet junk food available! Fried burger meat, fried sausages, fried nuggets, instant noodles in plain watery soup, fried instant noodles.

I nearly fainted.

I couldn't believe a school canteen is allowed to sell these kind of food :-(.

So before school even started on his first day of school, HQ spent all his pocket money, on a bottle of Solivite and 3 pieces of nuggets.

Of course there are good food as well like fried rice, porridge, mixed rice, vegetarian mixed rice, and fried chicken rice, but HQ said he will not buy those because he's afraid he may not be able to finish up within the given time. Sigh...

Daily allowance
At first, I did doubt that his daily allowance of RM 2 might not be enough. Food is expensive.

A small packet of french fries is sold at RM 1. Solivite/ Vitagen/ Nutrtigen is sold at RM 1 per bottle. Plain porridge/ plain noodles in soup (including instant noodles)/ fried plain noodles/ fried rice with egg are priced at RM 1 per bowl. Added with 4 pieces of fried fu chok costs RM 1.60 per bowl. Bigger portion at RM 2 each. Chicken rice with 1/2 piece of fried chicken at RM 2 per plate. RM 3 for chicken rice with whole piece of fried chicken. (I really feel very "housewifey" now :-S).

On the first day, he finished his food super fast. This, I believe was purely due to hunger.

However, on the second day of school, I made sure he left for school in a full stomach. During reccess, he ate super quick too. This time however, I noticed is because he wanted to have a chance to buy canteen food to eat o.O". On top of his packed cream bread, he bought a packet of french fries and a bottle of Solivite.

First Plan
To encourage HQ to eat more of my packed food and less bought food (canteen food), I packed more food into his tupperware. I tried to put in more variety of his favourite food, and instead of unpacking food from their original packing, I included the packaging. I'm sure he will take more time fumbling with the packaging, but I made sure to let him know that I've already cut one end of the packaging so that he can access to the food.

Some pictures of his packed food for school:
1st: chicken floss bread, rice biscuits, seaweed sachets, mini tangerine. 2nd: peanut butter & grape jelly shaped sandwiches, mini tangerine, seaweed sachets, multi-grain snack.3rd: peanut butter sandwiched biscuits, seaweed crackers 4th: "ma lai kou", caramelized walnuts, haw flakes as snack5th: waffle, rice and barley crackers, multi-grain snack, seaweed sachet (he only ate the seaweed and multi-grain snack :-( )6th: Gardenia waffle, sunflower and sesame seeds snack, haw flakesSure enough, he told me he could not finish up the packed food in time. Therefore, no more time to buy food from the canteen :-D.

However, my plan only worked for 2 days :-(. On the 3rd day, he started to eat his packed food in Popo's house before he left for school. Thus eating less lunch that Popo prepared, and getting the chance to buy canteen food during break :-(

Second Plan
Hubby started a system to encourage him to save money. If HQ does not use his RM 2 allowance for a day, he'll receive another RM 2. He can put this RM 4 into his piggy bank. If he manages to bring home RM 1 for that day, he will get another RM 0.50.

Once his piggy bank is full, he can keep half of the saved money in the bank. He is allowed to buy anything with the other half. Everyday he gets a new RM 2 disregarding how much he save the previous day.

He told us he thinks that saving RM 2 per day is more worth it :-).

How did he flare?
At first he was very excited to save the extra money in his piggie bank. We were all smiles :-D

Later he started bringing the money that he saved to school and spent it on redundant stationaries at the school bookshop *shake head*

Now, the novelty wore off, and he has started to request not to bring packed food to school, but to be given the chance to buy food from the canteen to eat :-(

Ah well...

Do you find the food sold in your child's school canteen acceptable?
Do you mind your kids eating food from the school canteen?
How do you encourage your kids to eat your packed food and not buy junks from the canteen?

(C) Lee Pei Yi. All rights reserved. Originally published for http://boeyjoey.blogspot.com/. All images and text can only be republished with permission and links back to the article/ blog.


Yee Ling said...

keeping my fingers cross for next year. I can understand the situation.

mNhL said...

I;m a worried mum just like u too. I'm gonna worry for YX next year.

But when I was a kid, I prefer to buy canteen food too. Haha.... mum did packed food for me and I will left it untouched.

Mommy to Chumsy said...

wow, that's a lot of food you pack for HQ daily. can he finish them? mine can't even finish her bread sometimes. i think there isn't a lot of time to eat as her recess is only 20 mins and she's a slow eater. i have seen the food they serve..and not so much junk and the food is expensive. i won't let her buy anything though..hehehehe. she has to eat what i pack, that's all :P

LittleLamb said...

As long he has a proper meal (let say lunch) , he can have anything he wants in canteen during break time. fair? and of course continue to encourage him to save.

Small Kucing said...

keep up the good work.

Ann said...

You really take alot of trouble to prepare his snacks. Good for you.

I guess if you cannot control his spending and buying food, then lunch and dinner give him better food.

BoeyJoey said...

Yee Ling: Elise is sucha good girl she'll do well. Relax ya :-)

My Family's Memoir said...

I am as disappointed as you when I found out that there were so much junk sold in my daughter's school. Isn't there a regulation imposed by the ministry last year where they wanted to get rid of junk food from school canteen, as usual tahi tahi ayam only..
Due to this, I do not give money to my daughter to bring to school since std 1. She will always bring bread or sometimes biscuits.
Once in a blue moon, I will give her RM1 so that she can buy anything she wants but I always told her the danger of eating those junk food, cancer causing agent :).
But I have also faced problems where she started to lie or borrow money from her friend. Some parents told me to avoid the lying, better give her money to spend in school. But the thought of her eating junk food everyday really worries me.
Few days ago, I gave her RM2 as a reward for her good behavior, I told her she can buy anything she wants but caution her abt those junk food again :). I am surprise that she has yet to spend the money till now, she told me she is saving it till the right moment. Hopefully she is more mature now and knows what is good and bad.

Annie Q said...

My boys's school, they have mee hoon soup, roti canai, nasi lemak, keow teow, mee hoon, fried noodles and some cakes, so far i have not seen any sweets or junk. Mostly are cookies and cakes.

At first, i thought i want to have food cater for them at the canteen, but so far the canteen guy didn't get back to me. Now, every morning i will pack bread or biscuit or noodles for them to bring to school. Sometime they will told me they can't finish the food on time, i know they want to play instead of having their food. Daily i still give them RM2 but after that i found out, they actually bought some ice cream after school or some toy or some junk after school. Now i stop, i only give them RM1. hahahhahah Sometime they will tell me, they want to buy 100 plus but not enough money. I have to agree, now canteen food and drink are so expensive!! Vitagen - RM1, Revival - RM2!!!! tsk tsk tsk.

MommyAngel said...

You are such a good mother!! but can the school sell gassy drinks? That day I went to visit one of the school in KK, I was surprised to see they are selling herbal tea instead of gassy drink! I asked and they told me they are not suppose to sell gassy drinks in school anymore! I wonder why you still finds it in your kid school? or was the law only imposed in KK?

Kit said...

Have you tried asking him what he likes? I found that useful when I prepare breakfast or pack food for my fussy boy.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear.... Now u remind me to check out school canteen when my first boy enter primary. Can't u launch a complain on the food they sell in canteen????
Oh well, my boys will give me 100% correct answer on wyhat food they should choose of which is healthier.. but i guess with all those "temptation" its gonna be hard...

A Mom's Diary said...

YY's canteen sells decent food like soup noodles, fried noodles, chee cheong fun, laksa, roti canai, nasi lemak, buns, cakes, biscuits and some snacks like seaweed, etc. I don't see any junk food though they also sell yoghurt drink and 100 Plus.

We initially catered food from the canteen but the portion is too huge so she ate just a little bit, and sometimes not at all so we stopped after the first payment cycle.

Nowadays I pack food for her (French toast, homemade nuggets, fishballs, occasionally sausages with some fruits) and she actually prefers it to buying food from the canteen. I still give her RM1 and she'll sometimes spend it on ice-cream and other snacks, but mostly on cutesy stuff from the bookstore. Sometimes she would accumulate the money and buy more expensive items from the bookstore. Sigh! I've still not managed to inculcate the habit of savings in her.


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