The importance of linking nutritional themes and the system of organized school meals on the example of whole grain foods (V3-2310)

Project co-financed by
aris logo


Participating research organisations

  • National Institute of Public Health (leading organisation)
  • Nutrition Institute, Ljubljana
  • University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty
  • University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Education


  • Slovenian Research and Innovation Agency (ARIS)
  • Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia

Project leader

  • Assist. prof. dr. Urška Blaznik [SICRIS]

Project operation

1.10.2023 - 30.9.2025


Eating a healthy and balanced diet in childhood and adolescence has a significant impact on the formation of dietary patterns in adulthood. In recent years, when promoting healthy eating habits, we have most often focused on sufficient consumption of vegetables, but also fruits. Recently, however, there is an increasing amount of evidence linking the positive impact on the prevention of many chronic diseases, including obesity, to the consumption of whole grain foods. Foods made from whole grains are not often on the menu of the inhabitants of Slovenia, we notice that they are often rejected by children and adolescents. The research project proposal is aimed at promoting the consumption of whole grain foods among primary school children through innovative active forms of teaching. We will introduce a pedagogical intervention in home economics classes in the 6th grade of elementary school and connect it with organized school meals. Therefore, whole grain foods, which will be the subject of the pedagogical intervention, will also be found on the school menu. We will develop didactic material with the aim of promoting a healthy way of eating for children and developing better and more permanent knowledge of nutritional content. The primary school sample for the implementation of pedagogical content will be divided into two equal parts, 6 experimental elementary schools and 6 control elementary schools. Experimental primary schools will be further divided into two subgroups. We will monitor the pedagogical intervention with intervention study. 6th grade students, school meal organizers and home economics teachers of experimental and control elementary schools will participate in the research. The research will contain several elements. The attitude towards the consumption of whole grain foods among various stakeholders, including the students' parents, will be monitored with a focus group before and after the pedagogical intervention. Nutritional literacy and sensory acceptability of whole grain foods among students will be investigated using questionnaires and a hedonic scale. With suitable dietary tools (picture book, photos of food trays) and with the help of field colleagues, we will estimate the consumed amounts of the offered whole grain foods. Changes in dietary behaviour and more frequent access to whole grain foods are not possible without an adequate supply of whole grain foods on the market in Slovenia. Therefore, in the project proposal, we also address an overview of the range of whole grain foods, including their composition. Anticipated results: Prepared educational materials to promote the consumption of whole grain foods among students will be available to all educational workers, but they can also serve as a basis for the preparation of promotional/communication materials for the general public. Through intervention research, we will be able to show whether innovative pedagogical approaches increase the choice of whole grain foods in the children's population. We do not yet have an overview of the supply and composition of whole grain foods in Slovenia, but it is a key basis for directing the food industry in the design of innovative foods and the reformulation of existing foods. Also, the criteria for the categorization of whole grain foods have not yet been professionally defined, so the result of this project will be an important source of data for the food profession and also the control of whole grain foods.

logo nutris

Nutrition Institute
Koprska ulica 98
1000 Ljubljana

How to find us

+386 5 9068 870

+386 1 300 79 81



Other information:

IBAN: SI56 340001012501108
Bank: Sparkasse d.d.
VAT ID: SI50465856
Reg. No.: 3609081000


Subscribe to newsletter
(in Slovenian language only)


+386 5 9068 870

+386 1 300 79 81


Follow us


Subscribe to newsletter
(in Slovenian language only)


Nutrition institute is engaged in research and education in the field of nutrition and advising the food industry in the formulation and labeling of foods. In the scope of the institute, research group Healthy Nutrition is established, which performs research on food and nutrition.