Abetka Kharchuvannya – healthy nutrition and wellness program for primary school children

Research of the World Health Organization shows that today children have a low level of food culture, lack of physical activity and sleeping, and nutritional imbalance. All these factors create a risk for the children’s health, lead to obesity or weight loss, developmental difficulties and non-communicable diseases.

Nutrition plays an important role not only in children’s physical development, but also in their mental activity. The disbalanced diet affects children’s performance and success. At the same time, a sufficient amount of nutrients and food culture protect children not only from many diseases, but also make them healthy, active and attentive.

In Nestle, we understand that proper nutrition is the key to good health and successful studying. The physical and mental development of children needs energy, which is impossible to get without a balanced diet.

Teaching children healthy eating at an early age can have a significant positive impact on their future health. In childhood, eating habits, like everything else, are in the process of building. Elementary school children are at the beginning of their acquaintance with variety of products and dishes. So, the most important thing for adults is to help children to form nutrition knowledge and healthy eating habits. That is why we initiated the program Abetka Kharchuvannya. Our goal to give children the proper knowledge of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Our program is called to give children the most important – knowledge and understanding of the importance of healthy nutrition.

Today with Abetka Kharchuvannya we cover 22 regions of Ukraine. Nearly 2,000,000 elementary school children and 13,000 teachers have joined the healthy nutrition program. Every year more than 330,000 kids of 1-4 grades join the initiative.

Educational materials for primary school children have been developed in collaboration with leading health professionals, methodologists and child psychologists. The program was approved by the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. 

Abetka Kharchuvannya became a part of the variative primary school program. The age characteristics and kids’ interests were taken into account for each grade. Lessons and tasks were developed in the gamified form with the participation of two fairy-tale heroes Pytaylyk and Smachnyulya.

Until 2020 Abetka Kharchuvannya was implemented in the format of printed exercise books for children and methodological materials for teachers. 2020 and 2021 became a period of program transformation. Considering modern needs of the educational process Abetka Kharchuvannya has moved to the online format. We adapted educational materials and developed 28 video lessons.

More than 400 teachers and parents have registered on the new platform since the beginning of 2021-2022 school year. 

Transformation of the program into online format allows teachers to organize healthy nutrition lessons during distance learning. Video lessons make educational material even more understandable, interesting and interactive. Children are not alone with the exercise books but travel in real-time through the country of Healthy Nutrition with their favorite heroes Pitaylyk and Smachnyulya.

Currently, Abetka Kharchuvannya is an effective interactive program not only among children and teachers, but also within the family with parents. From now on parents have the opportunity to monitor the progress of their children’s education and to study together with them. They can also find recipes for cooking together at home, articles and life hacks on how to organize a healthy diet for their family.

Abetka Kharchuvannya includes not only the educational program but also many activities that aim to increase the motivation among children to join healthy nutrition. One of the children’s favorite events is a cooking master class dedicated to International Chef’s Day. Children together with a professional chef cook delicious and healthy meals. In the conditions of distance learning and quarantine restrictions, we transformed the event into the online culinary master class. Now chef together with several assistants cooks meals live in the studio. Children together with teachers and parents join the broadcasting and cook at schools or at home. This format allowed to engage more kids into healthy cooking. This year more than 80 schools cook live with us. That’s more than 2000 children from all over Ukraine! In addition, about 60 children joined the master class with their parents.

Abetka Kharchuvannya program is a part of Nestlé Creating shared value initiative, which aims to inspire people to lead healthier lives.

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