Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Slovenia

Official name

12 steps to healthy eating (Slovene: 12 korakov do zdravega prehranjevanja).

Publication year

Slovenia’s dietary guidelines ‘12 steps to healthy eating’ were published in 2000 and revised in 2011. The ‘Food guide pyramid’ (Slovene: Z zdravo prehrano in gibanjem do zdravja) was published in 2000 and revised in 2015. ‘The healthy plate’ (Slovene: Zdrav krožnik) was published in 2007.

Process and stakeholders

Slovenia’s dietary guidelines, food guide and related materials have been developed by the National Institute of Public Health as part of the World Health Organization CINDI (Country-wide Integrated Noncommunicable Diseases Intervention) programme in Slovenia, using the WHO CINDI guidelines as a base. Experts from many different fields--health, food, nutrition, agriculture, education, communication and psychology—have participated in the development and revision processes. Slovenia’s guidelines and food guide are endorsed by the Ministry of Health.

Intended audience

Slovenia’s dietary guidelines apply to the healthy general population over 2 years of age.

Food guide

Slovenia’s uses a food pyramid to illustrate graphically the messages of its guidelines. The “Food guide pyramid” is divided into four levels. Vegetables and fruits are placed at the bottom of the pyramid; cereals, tubers and legumes take the second level; animal source foods can be found on the third level. At the top there are fats and oils, and highly processed foods rich in sugar and fat, whose consumption should be minimized. Water, beverages and physical activity are also included in the pyramid.

‘The healthy plate’ publication provides recommendations on how to apply the dietary guidelines to single meals and on how to create healthy menus.


  • Enjoy eating food.
  • Eat a variety of foods originating mainly from plants, rather than animals.
  • Maintain body weight within the recommended limits by taking moderate to vigorous levels of physical activity.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits, preferably fresh and local, several times per day.
  • Eat bread, pasta, rice or potatoes several times per day. Prefer wholegrain products.
  • Control fat intake and replace most saturated fats with unsaturated fats. Use lean meat. Limit consumption of meat products. Eat fish once or twice a week.
  • Use milk and dairy products that are low in fat.
  • Limit salt intake and limit processed and preserved foods.
  • Consume enough fluids, preferably drinking water, mineral water, unsweetened fruit or herbal teas or diluted fruit and vegetable juices.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink little of it and not every day.
  • Prepare food in a safe and hygienic way. Do not add a lot of fats, sugar and salt.
  • Promote exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months.