• Foodshaala

Impact Story: Our First Food Funda Summer Camp

Updated: Jun 20, 2021

The results from our first ever Food Funda Summer Camp are out! And we are proud to share that the program led to both knowledge gain and behavior change among children. All parents reported adoption of positive eating habits by their kids. The program even impacted household-level decisions on shopping and cooking. And the best part is that the children loved the Summer Camp! But no time to rest, since we are back again with an improved version of the program based on the lessons learnt.


Introduction

We organized the Food Funda Summer Camp in May 2021. This was a 3-week online program for children, to empower them with the right knowledge and practices on food and nutrition. This program was designed and delivered by our team with support from Dt. Sonam, a nutritionist with more than 14 years of experience and a mother of an 8-year old, and organized in partnership with XFitKids, fitness coaching for kids by Coach Aditya.


The main objectives of the program were:

  1. To improve knowledge on the basics of food and nutrition.

  2. To enable children to plan balanced meals, covering various macronutrients and micronutrients.

  3. To empower children to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy foods.

  4. To induce behaviour change among children to start choosing healthy foods.

  5. To enable children to prepare simple healthy food at home.

The program comprised of 6 workshops, consisting of knowledge sessions on nutrition, cooking classes, activities and quizzes. Along with these sessions, the program included weekly challenges, tools to monitor daily and weekly behaviour change, and constant interaction and support in-between the sessions. To keep the interaction levels high, the program involved a small batch of 11 children with age ranging from 7 to 14 years, out of which 10 successfully completed the program. The children were located in Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai and Melbourne.


Impact

Here are some insights into the program outcomes:


Knowledge

Objective: Improving children's knowledge on the basics of food and nutrition was one of the key objectives of the program. The program also aimed to impart practical knowledge, by enabling children to plan balanced meals, covering various macro and micro nutrients; and to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy foods.


Program components: In order to achieve this objective, the program included knowledge sessions, activities and challenges. The cooking sessions were also designed to enable theoretical learning and practical application of healthy tips.


Impact measurement tools: In order to evaluate the achievement of this objective, we carried out a pre- and post-assessment for the program, quiz questions during each workshop session, and quizzes after every week. Further, there was formative assessment throughout the 3-week period, where children interacted with us by completing challenges or otherwise demonstrating the application of knowledge through photos and videos.

There was an improvement of 20% in the average test scores from pre-assessment to post-assessment. There was also improvement in the understanding of nutrition and practical implementation of the knowledge gained.

Results: The program showed positive change in the knowledge scores of children. There was an improvement of 20% in the average test score in the post-assessment (conducted after the end of the 3-week program) compared to that in pre-assessment (conducted before the program). The participation in the quizzes and formative assessment further showed knowledge gain and the ability to apply it practically.

In particular, children were able to identify the sources of different nutrients, and plan meals covering various macro- and micro-nutrients. They were also able to demonstrate inclusion of different colours on their plates and include diversity of food groups.




Further, they were able to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy foods, and demonstrate how they could include more healthy options in their meals.




Behaviour change

Objective: Apart from knowledge gain, one of the key objectives of the program was to induce behaviour change among children to start choosing healthy foods.


Program components: In order to achieve this objective, the program covered simple practical healthy tips throughout the workshops, cooking sessions, activities and challenges that incentivized and enabled shifts towards healthier eating habits. The program also introduced children to a tracking tool to enable them to monitor their behaviour change on their own.


Impact measurement tools: We assessed our progress on this objective through qualitative interactions with children and parents throughout the 3-week program, and by evaluating the progress of children on their tracking tool. In addition, the pre- and post-questionnaires for children and parents also gave us useful insights.

90% of the students and 100% of the parents reported positive change in food habits.

Results: Around 90% of the children themselves reported that they made changes to their food habits after the program. These changes related to improvement in meal times, inclusion of healthier food items, adding more colours to their plate, and reduction in junk food consumption.


Here are some responses from the children:



Further, the tracking tool designed to enable children to monitor their behaviour also showed progress. In particular, the water intake of children improved. Children also improved their dinner time and ensured to complete it before 9 PM.








100% of the parents agreed that the program has caused positive changes in

their children's food habits. These changes again related to including more healthy foods in their diet, becoming more conscious eaters, and being more interested in food preparation.


Below are some observations from parents on their children's eating habits before and after the program:


Cooking

Objective: The program also aimed to enable children to prepare simple healthy food at home. By enabling children to cook, the program aimed to establish a deeper connection of the children with food, enable a better understanding of food and nutrients, and break the myth that healthy cannot be tasty. Cooking would also help children become more conscious of what they eat.


Program components: There were a total of 5 recipes that were demonstrated live, with simultaneous cooking with the children. These included a drink, salad, snack and two desserts. In addition, ideas and instructions for other recipes were shared throughout the program.


Impact measurement tools: We examined the participation of children in the cooking sessions. But at the same time, we also examined whether the children tried these or similar recipes at home on their own.

Cooking was children's favourite part of the program.

Results: There was an active participation in cooking from all children. In fact, cooking sessions came out as the most favourite part of the program for children. Further, around 90% of the children tried at least one recipe at home on their own. Parents also reported that children have become more involved in food preparation.


Here are some food photos shared by the children:




Satisfaction

Lastly, we checked the satisfaction level of children and parents from the program.


We examined how satisfied the children were, both in terms of the utility of the program and how interesting they found it. The average rating on whether the children enjoyed the program was 4.9 out of 5. The average rating on how useful the children found the program was also the same, i.e. 4.9 out of 5. Further, more than 3/4th of the children want to learn even more about food, nutrition and cooking. The children were most interested in learning more about healthy cooking.

The average rating from children both on how useful they found the program was and how interesting they found the program was 4.9 out of 5.

All parents reported that the program either met or exceeded expectations. The average rating on how likely the parents were to recommend the program was 4.7 out of 5, with an excellent Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 71.


Impact at the Family Level

The program benefitted not only the children, but also the family as a whole. Of course, the parents benefitted from the children themselves choosing healthier food and adopting healthier eating habits. But the program led to changes at the family level.


For example, children became the changemakers at home, advising parents on what to eat and what to avoid:

The children also taught healthy recipes at home, bringing a change in the family menu:

There has been an overall increase in nutritional awareness within homes, followed by changes in regular food-related practices:



Challenges and Lessons Learnt

There were some challenges and we learnt some lessons along the way:

  1. Session days and times: The sessions were conducted on Saturdays and Sundays in the evenings. Some people preferred weekends for the classes, but it did not work for others. There were some children based in other countries for whom the timings did not work. Some children also had other classes immediately after the Summer Camp session, due to which they had to leave a few minutes early. Going forward, we may offer different time slots for the Food Funda program to accommodate people with various challenge and preferences.

  2. Age group: The age group of the children who enrolled for the program ranged from 7 to 14 years. Such a wide disparity makes it a bit challenging to pitch the sessions at the right level, and we risk making some children feel excluded. Therefore, for our next batch, we announced that the program is most suitable for children from 8 to 12 years of age.

  3. Interaction among children: We wanted the Summer Camp to also provide an opportunity for children to interact among themselves. We used a 'buddy' concept to facilitate interaction among children, and continued group interactions via phone. However, interactions become difficult in an online setting. For the next program, we will further strengthen group work during the sessions to allow children to interact with each other.

  4. Addressing specific problem areas: Based on feedback from parents, we are further strengthening the program to address specific problem areas that parents face, along with the ones that are already part of the program. This includes topics like healthy snacking, choosing healthier options in a restaurant or fast food joints, and introducing other recipes like healthy burgers, pizzas and sandwiches.

  5. Teaching methodology: The overall teaching methodology worked quite successfully. Since the children's feedback showed that they enjoyed cooking the most, followed by various activities, we will strengthen these further as methods of teaching and learning.

  6. Logistics: To make parents more involved in the program and make logistical arrangements more convenient for them, we will also try to share topic areas and recipe ingredients with them more in advance.

  7. Maintaining the behavior change: There is a likelihood that knowledge and positive behavior would peak during and just after the program, but may follow a downward slope later. We do not want the Food Funda Summer Camp to be a one-off event, and want to provide a lifelong support to all children on this journey of better health and nutrition. Therefore, we are building an online community of our participants. We will continue to organize exclusive events, share tips and recipes, and learn from and motivate each other. We have shared the details of this exclusive community with all our participants.


Concluding Remarks

We thank the children and their parents for giving us an opportunity to impact their lives. We would not have been able to achieve these results without the active and enthusiastic participation of the children and the constant support of the parents. We hope to keep the Food Funda community alive and active, and provide whatever support we can towards the better health and nourishment of our children.


You can enroll your child for the next Summer Camp to be held in June 2021 here.

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