Elena Zelenskaya answered questions about the new school menu by Yevgeny Klopotenko

said the first lady Concentratebecause there are problems with baby food in schools, it is necessary for school canteens to give up sugar and salt and also how schools and parents can “adapt” the new menu, which was written by chef Yevgeny Klopotenko.

The food goes to the trash – many comments on this content are written by the parents of Ukrainian students, who eat according to the new menus in educational institutions from the new year. There has been a furious discussion on social media about the reform of school meals, which includes, in particular, the reduction of salt and sugar in meals, the ban on canned food and cold cuts, as well as snacks and carbonated beverages.

The developers of the reform, led by First Lady Olena Zelenska, are announcing a transition to a healthier diet, but many Ukrainian students and their parents are unhappy with the changes. Children complain that school food is inappropriate because it is without salt and sugar. Parents have many questions about the new menu developed by chef Yevgeny Klopotenko and a team of experts from the Ministry of Health and other institutions. In particular, parents from Kremenchug in the Poltava region are debating whether It is possible to call “borsch Poltava” a dish without cabbage and with plum sauceand they are sure that their children will not eat this.

At the same time, there are conflicting views and impressions – that the child has finally started eating in the school cafeteria, because it is delicious there and new dietary standards have been adopted, where more seasonal vegetables and fruits have been added and flour products have been reduced to whole grains. bread with reduced salt content.


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The changes in the school menu, both negative and positive, are linked to the reform and the Klopotenko menu. However, the situation in the country is heterogeneous and more complex than it seems. Evgeniy Klopotenko developed recipes for 160 dishes from both Ukrainian and foreign cuisine, in order to diversify the school menu and so that the dishes are not repeated too often. The main thing in introducing the menu is that it is of a recommended nature: schools can take it in full, in part or not at all take Klopotenko’s dishes, but develop their own. It is not the dishes themselves that are required here, but the fact that they comply with the updated catering standards set out in Ministerial Resolution No. 305.

In fact, this happened in Ukrainian schools, which implemented the reform in their canteens in different ways. Some have completely changed the new menu, others partially and others generally serve dishes without salt and sugar – and this is a violation of the rules, because the decree stipulates a gradual reduction in their number until 2023. At the same time, it is difficult to distinguish regional trends or their dependence on the size of a settlement. There are examples of successful implementation of the reform in the villages, as well as examples of bad menus in Kyiv, Kharkov or the Dnieper.

Some experts use the term “pot riot” when referring to sabotage and misunderstanding of reform on the ground. The developers of the reform note that they have given time to local authorities and schools by introducing an adjustment period and a moratorium on fines from 1 September 2021 to 1 January 2022. As practice shows, this time is not enough, because in recent years Many problems have accumulated in schools, first of all, outdated canteen equipment and staff who need new skills and abilities.

Before the start of the school year, the State Food Service inspected 1,700 schools and found violations in 65% of them. The most common are the lack of dishes, refrigeration and technological equipment, sometimes there are not even conditions to wash your hands, they need major repairs. Upgrading catering units is not a matter of one year. The implementation of the project started in 2020, during which only 2.6 thousand out of a total of 15 thousand schools were repaired. At the same time, they plan to retrain chefs: training will begin in April.

New school menu. Less sugar, more health

Elena Zelenskaya, First Lady of Ukraine, in a blitz interview Concentrate advises to approach school lunch reform constructively, develop healthy eating habits and if there are violations at school, do not be silent

Olena Zelenska: “We are in a doubly difficult ground: first, reform is about the most valuable thing – children. Second, there has been no change here since the USSR.”

Were you prepared for so many negative reviews?

– Of course, we were ready for criticism when, together with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Economy and the State Consumer Service, we started the school lunch reform and the team of Yevgeny Klopotenko, with the participation of technologists, nutritionists and representatives of the Ministry of Health, developed a new menu. If you are afraid of criticism, you better not start anything. And here we have entered a doubly difficult ground: first, reform is about the most valuable thing – children. Second, there have been no changes here since the USSR era. At the beginning of the reform, we explored this, today’s students ate like their parents when they were students: sticky pasta, sausages, bakery products and sweet compote. That is, we swayed into a long, still Soviet “tradition.” I put this word in quotation marks, because this tradition has a negative sign. In any case, the transition from the old to the new is psychologically difficult for society.


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The hottest “wars” are raging on social networks, because the new dishes have reduced (not canceled, but limited!) The quantities of salt, sugar, fat, white bread, by-products such as sausages and canned goods, confectionery products have been canceled. For those who are accustomed to exaggerating all of the above, eating may seem unusual – this is called a eating habit. We all have these habits. But you have to distinguish between harmful and harmless.

The rules for reducing salt and sugar were approved by the Ministry of Health to improve the health of Ukrainians. Just think of the numbers: 13.3% of our children under 17 are obese! Already in adolescence they suffer from cardiovascular diseases! Therefore, such eating habits must be combated.

So the reason for the negative perception of the new menu is the unpreparedness for new food?

– Unpreparedness – the first reason. We are just now experiencing a struggle between the old and the new, of course, this is painful. But there are also family traditions. In many families, a sausage, a white bun and a glass of sugary drink are considered normal food for a child. In general, in the children’s “rating” the burger and the french fries almost always prevail over the soup and the salad. If families are accustomed to high-calorie foods, fried, mayonnaise, then the news may at first be unusual and critical.

However, the new school menu is not just about “less salt and sugar”, it is about a healthy nation. Children who are addicted to sweets are people in the future with a lot of health problems, starting with hypertension. We, the parents, like no one else should not be interested in the balance between “tasty” and “healthy” and to form the eating habits of the children. You can get angry with the new “sweet” tea in the school cafeteria or you can start making changes in your family today: reduce the amount of sweets, increase the amount of vegetable dishes. And most importantly, explain to the child why this is important to him.

Maybe the reason for the criticism is the non-observance of the new rules on the spot?

– It is possible and such, especially in the beginning. We have been preparing the reform for over a year. The Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Health specifically introduced a transitional period and postponed the introduction of new standards until January 1, 2022. In the meantime, during the fall we held a series of regional forums for communities, teachers, local officials not only did we explain, but we also prepared optical dishes according to new technological maps. But how well prepared they are on the ground is the question. The country is big and to find out the real state of reform in every school, we need the cooperation of everyone: community leaders, heads of departments, school principals, cooks and especially parents – as the most interested party.

You are yourself a full participant in the reform, you have leverage! You can always check the correctness of the preparation of the dishes: on the website of the Ministry of Health, available for free all technological maps for meals.

If your school uses a menu, discuss it with the school management and ask for food quality assurance. Consult with the management about the tasting of the menu by the parent team, let them talk to the chef, meet with food suppliers to see their quality.


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If you do not find understanding, if you see or suspect violations, do not be silent! If there is no result, contact the State Temporary Service. There is even a special chatbot for this. If you do not know where to start building healthy eating habits or if you have no other information about healthy eating reform or culture, visit the Znaimo portal. This is a site about healthy and conscious food for all participants in the reform – both adults and children. Everything is gathered there: both for the new standards of the school menu and for how to teach healthy eating at home. That is, how to continue what started at school.

Most importantly, talk about the reform of school meals not only on social networks, but also with those on whom it depends. Discuss the reform with the children. It is important to explain to them that the changes in their dish are for their health and a healthy future.

Good appetite! Try dishes from the new school menu

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