The Slovenia Times

Healthy diet campaign becoming increasingly popular


The campaign was initiated by the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association eleven years ago, when they started a project promoting Slovenian honey for breakfast at schools.

Over the years, the project has evolved into the Day of Slovenian Food, which is now joined by 260,000 children at schools and kindergartens across the country as well as outside Slovenia's borders.

"We're proud that the honey breakfast and campaigns promoting local food are being copied around Europe," the association's head, Boštjan Noč, has told the press.

The traditional Slovenian breakfast was served to children around the country yesterday, offering bread with butter and honey, and locally grown apples.

The idea is to revive the habit of eating breakfast and place emphasis on local food, said Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Dejan Židan.

Židan, who attended the event at the Danica Vogrinec elderly home in Maribor, said today he would like to see Slovenian breakfast served every day.

"Almost 50% of children do not start their day by eating breakfast. It is also right to remind ourselves that it is useful to look for local, Slovenian food, because it is fresher and of better quality. Because there is less transport, it causes less harm to the environment. After all by buying domestic food we pay respect to the Slovenian farmer, the foundation of our nation," the minister said.

He said he was happy to see the mindset changing in that the main criteria for buying food served at public institutions is no longer the lowest price.

Prime Minister Miro Cerar had his breakfast in Gothenburg, Sweden yesterday, where he attended a social summit. But he tweeted that he had nevertheless had the traditional Slovenian breakfast consisting of milk, apples and Slovenian honey.

He said that the government had had beehives on a balcony of the Government Building since last September to promote the importance of bees for humans and the environment.

Mojca Gobec of the ministry's public health directorate sees the traditional Slovenian breakfast and the Day of Slovenian Food as an important part of the national programme on healthy lifestyle.

According to her, the campaign is already showing results. "Increasingly many children as well as adults eat breakfast and the consumption of sugary fizzy drinks is decreasing. We eat more fruit and also vegetables."

This was echoed by Ivan Eržen from the National Public Health Institute, who said that the negative trend in consumption of vegetable had finally stopped and that obesity among teenagers was decreasing.

Irena Simčič of the Education Institute said Slovenia should be proud of its unique system of school meals. Schools make more than 680,000 meals a day but children often bring their eating habits from home, she said.

Slovenia has also been promoting honey and honeybees on the international level. Since 2014, it has been striving to have the UN declare 20 May World Honey Bee Day to honour the birthday of Slovenia's pioneer beekeper Anton Janša (1734-1773).

According to Židan, a UN committee will vote on the initiative today. "More than 100 countries have co-signed our initiative, including Russia, the US and China," he said.

The final decision on the initiative will be taken in the second week of December by the UN General Assembly. "The world sees this project as a small contribution to the fight against global hunger. World Honey Bee Day is seen as an act of courage by a small country," Židan said.


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