What comes to your mind when I say JUNK!

The blog focusses on how we are applying Exploratory Data Analysis(EDA) to establish insights with various initiatives at RecipeDabba . We use python libraries like pandas-profiling , DTale to generate some of these analysis. One will find the read interesting and how things have gotten shifted during COVID times !

OK…as per dictionary the literal meaning is something which is discarded and has no or extremely low value.

Aha! Surprisingly while this definition fits well when it comes to Junkyard but not so much when it comes to junk food.

Junk food on the contrary is much loved and a go-to food for many. Makes me wonder why? Why despite a food shouting loud and clear that, Hey dude! I am not good for you we still will go head over heels for it.

Anyways, I will not roast it more, since now you get the drift already.

Our work at Recipe Dabba is majorly focused around promoting cooking as life skill and healthy eating as lifestyle for kids. And as part of this endeavor, we have been successfully running this specially curated program called 21 Days No Junk Food Challenge since 2019 April. In here we work around few nudges and simultaneously educate kids (aged between 5 to 12 years) around food choices and with help of parents monitor their eating pattern for 3 weeks. The idea is to motivate children towards better food choices and lots of things around this. So, while we did some 6 seasons of this fun based, habit formation challenge, here are few findings purely around the kind of temptations participants had during these 21 days period.

  1. Majority of Junk food temptations were under Readymade Snacks and Desserts. These could be things like Chocolates, Cookies, Oreos, Ketchup, Chips, Candies, French Fries etc.
  2. COVID-19 time seasons (Post Feb 2020) saw a major drop in outside junk food like Pizza, Burgers, Vada Pavs, Samosas etc. , however the packaged foods like Chocolate, Cookies etc. were still present in the list.
  1. Again, when comparing the Pandemic and Pre-Pandemic times, the drop was there in consumptions of chocolates as a major chunk of these were also coming from birthday parties, schools, day cares, activity classes or other social gatherings which stopped during COVID-19 seasons.
  2. The temptations for carbonated drinks, creamy cakes and pastries also were much controlled during COVID-19 run season.

These findings though are only from a sample of 100 urban kids but are powerful enough to infer that it is not impossible for kids to stick to a homemade and healthy food unless they are pushed into temptations. These temptations are mad-made and mostly around because of our social structure. Also, many times food like ketchup, cookies and likes are always present at are home and sometimes they are our food of convenience over anything else. 21 Days No Junk Food Challenge surely works in a controlled environment, but it does help us make parents aware of how small changes can make larger impacts in long run. Controlling temptations is not easy for even adults and these are not even teenagers we are referring here.

Some of the ways how these worked towards controlling these temptations are.

  1. Working and agreeing upon healthy alternatives which parents provided them with.
  2. Asking more questions about how to manage these temptations.
  3. Taking one day at a time with a promise to practice control.
  4. Working on small portions, if at all the temptations were stronger.

To sum up, changes aren’t easy and when it to comes something we have been calling out our comfort food for long, it becomes all the more complicated. Young kids who came into the world only looking for mother’s milk for sure are not to be blamed for the choices we got them into.

Junk or processed food can’t be removed 100% from our systems, courtesy to the lifestyle we have chosen. However, it certainly can be reduced to a great extend in order to increase the proportion of the healthy food. After all, while everyone eats healthy, all what makes the difference is how much unhealthy are we eating too?

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