Vrtec Vrhnika, Slovenia



    Health care is at the forefront of diet planning in our kindergarten. Children's health is affected by many factors, of which nutrition is one of the most important. Since most children spend two-thirds of their active time in kindergarten, a nutrition program is created and implemented for each age group according to professional guidelines. While in kindergarten, the child receives about 70% of nutritional energy and biological values. Eating habits acquired during the preschool period are usually maintained throughout life. It should be noted that food is not only a basic necessity of life, but also a foundation for future health and an investment in the future. A healthy, safe and balanced diet for children is one of the most important protective factors for health, growth and development.


    Organisation of school kitchen

    There is 14 people in charge of school nutrition: 1 head of school nutrition and health&saftey regulations, and 13 members of kitchen staff, who prepare meals for children. There is 1 head cook, 1 dietary cook, 4 cooks and and 7 assistant cooks, of whom 3 work in dislocated unites where they only distribute meals and wash the dishes.

    Central kitchen, where food for children in all 5 units is prepared, is located in unit Žabica. In other units it is transported in stainless steel transport containers. Our 2 janitors drive the food between units by van. There it is transferred into serving containers in the distribution kitchens and distributed to the children in the playrooms. Children eat their meals in their playrooms. 2 years ago we switched from stainless stell dishes to ceramic plates, but we still use stainless steel cups. Children are encouraged to use forks from age 2 and knives from ages 3 and up.


    Laws and guidelines

    When planning the menu, we are guided by the Guidelines for the Preparation of Menus, which set the minimum standards and norms for the implementation of the nutrition program in kindergartens.

    In the kitchens we carry out constant internal controls according to the HACCP system to ensure the quality and safety of the food.

    Public procurement of food - as a public institution we are connected with the Public Procurement Act. We need to choose the public procurement provider because the value of purchased food exceeds the value of 40,000 euros in one year, which is the limit value for the procurement of goods. Our providers also need to meet our criteria.


    Percentage of local and organic foods

    In Slovenian public institution that offer food, the minimal percentage of organic foods is rising in recent years. It was 10 percent by the end of 2020, 12% from 2021-23 and it should be 15% by 2024. There is no law regarding locally produced food but it is stated as preferred in guidelines for public procurement.

    In Vrtec Vrhnika, preference is given to foods from quality schemes with the quality certificate - selected quality, which means that the food is grown and processed in Slovenia and a protected geographical location, which includes products related to the geographical area from which the original product, e.g. Carniolan sausage, Karst prosciutto, Slovenian honey.

    We are also inclined to order food from local suppliers and organically grown food. In addition to organic food from the public procurement, we also order organically produced food outside the public procurement. Organically grown food accounts for 14% and locally grown food for 8%. We mostly order organic bread and organic bakery products, organic milk and organic dairy products, organic fruit and organic vegetables and organic beef.


    Menus are designed by the head of nutrition and by head cook. The menus are compiled on the basis of the Guidelines for Healthy Eating in educational institutions, and employees are also actively cooperating with the proposals, and they also convey the wishes of children. When compiling the menu, we give preference to fruits and vegetables, quality carbohydrate foods (eg whole grains and cereal products), quality protein foods (eg. milk and dairy products, fish, lean meats and legumes) and quality fats. At meals, and especially during meals, we offer children thirsty water or unsweetened tea. We also occasionally offer children 100% fruit juice.

    The food in the kindergarten is not fried in oil, fish and fritters are baked in a steam convection oven. The use of sugar and sweets is moderate and we do prepare a meatless diet at least once a week.

    The menus are available for parents to view on all bulletin boards and on our website so that parents can monitor their child's diet on a daily basis.


    Children with a medical indication receive a diet based on a medical certificate from a paediatrician or specialist. The diet meals are carefully planned and derived from the daily menu depending on the type of allergy. Parents are required to inform the kindergarten of any change in their child's diet.

    There is also option of vegetarian diet or various diets based on religious beliefs.


    Type of meals

    During their stay in the kindergarten, children usually have 5 meals. Breakfast is served at 8 or 8.30 am (depends on the group) and usually includes bread with various spreads or cheese, ham, fish, eggs…, vegetables and tea/milk/cocoa. Twice a week porridge or cereal is served insted of bread. Snacktime is around 10-11am and is usually mixed fruit/vegetable platter, lunch is served at 12am. There is a main dish (for ex. pasta with sauce, potato with meat sauce etc) and a salad, 1-2 a week there is a soup dish (minestrone type of strong soup), bread and a dessert. In the afternoon around 2-2.30pm there is another snack, usually bread or pastry (or bread sticks, crackers, biscuits) with fruit, milk or yoghurt. Meals for 1–2-year-old children are adapted to their needs (shredded meat, different type of pasta, porridge for breakfast etc.).


    Monitoring of food waste and eating habits of the children

    We have a team of teachers (from all the units) and kitchen staff that meets every 2 months on average and discusses the menus, what food items children liked and what didn’t, how to implement new foods and reduce food waste.

    School garden

    In our school garden we produce some vegetables and fruits which children consume raw or we use it for cooking projects with children. They are usually not prepared in kitchen as the quantities are not big enough. We also get eggs from our chickens that are labelled, stored and used for making pancakes or waffles on special occasions.