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Good and healthy habits from an early age

Pre-schoolers surprised the Esplanade’s Chef Ana Grgić Tomić

The Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, Čigra Kindergarten, gastronomic association Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, and publishing house Profil Klett joined forces at the beginning of the year and launched the ‘Being Green is IN’ project which strives to use positive examples from practice to encourage children, their parents, and educational institutions to think about healthy eating habits, as well as about caring for the environment and reducing food waste.

After the little ones from the ‘Zvjezdice’ (or Little Stars) group of Čigra Kindergarten visited the Esplanade Zagreb Hotel in March this year and, in the sumptuous atmosphere of the Zinfandel’s Restaurant, enjoyed a healthy breakfast and meals prepared for them by the Esplanade’s chefs, headed by Executive Chef Ana Grgić Tomić, this time the roles were reversed, and Ana became their guest. The pre-schoolers and their teachers happily welcomed Ana and the guests at the kindergarten to the song “I Like Green” (“Volim zeleno ja”), by the children’s band Green Apple (Zelena jabuka), and rounded off the tour with a healthy snack prepared according to Ana’s recipe.

I’m absolutely delighted. The kids are fantastic, they have truly surprised me and cheered me up. I am glad that we are actively continuing with this positive story and partnership project, and that we are encouraging the idea we started at the Esplanade through simple activities. The children accepted the healthy snacks surprisingly easily and quickly. They are happy to be involved in activities, and this is actually the best way to adopt healthy habits – through conversation, joint procurement, preparation, and play. They did an excellent job preparing my recipe for a simple and healthy green spread, and we all enjoyed delicious and healthy snacks together”, emphasised the Esplanade’s Chef Ana Grgić Tomić.

Besides Ana, the partners of the project also enjoyed a healthy snack in the little ones’ company. They included Director of the Profil Klett company Dalibor Greganić, Executive Director of the Preschool Department at Profil Klett Vedrana Škrabo, together with the team of Čigra Kindergarten and PR & Marketing Manager of the Hotel Sanda Sokol, and General Manager of the Esplanade Hotel Ivica Max Krizmanić, who said on the occasion: “This project makes me especially happy because we can contribute to the community as a hotel and institution. With our example, we can show parents and children how to approach nutrition, and that healthy preparation can be really fun and simple. It is amazing how with a little will and imagination you can get children interested in trying something new, and get them to like it. Children are first and foremost educated by their parents, as well as educational institutions, but also restaurants and hotels – all of them need to change the perception that ‘healthy’ means tasteless and complicated to prepare, and stop taking the path of least resistance by offering nutritionally poor food, which can ultimately harm health and development. It was interesting to see the little ones tasting carrot sticks with green spread and truly enjoying each bite.”

The children were especially happy about Ana’s arrival, and Vito said: “Ana, green really is tasty sometimes!” Luka said: “I like to eat this spread mostly with celery! I didn’t even know it was delicious!” After socialising and having tasted a new snack, the little ones were presented with acknowledgments for their active participation in the ‘Being Green is IN’ project, as well as the recipe for the healthy spread created by the Esplanade’s Executive Chef Ana Grgić Tomić, which you can find at this link.

Martina Petrović, Manager of Creative Projects at Čigra Kindergarten, pointed out: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Ana and the Esplanade Zagreb Hotel team to our kindergarten! Their visit holds a special meaning for us, and we are happy to note that our joint project is progressing. We had a wonderful morning at one of our locations, and we have already included Ana’s recipe for the healthy green spread in the kindergarten menu, along with healthy crackers with reduced salt content, as well as vegetable sticks. We all enjoyed the tasting, and the little ones were especially happy. Our goal is to change children’s perception of green food, which they often reject because of its colour. Ana managed to win the hearts of both the young and old! Parents’ reactions to the activities so far in the ‘Being Green is IN’ project are extremely positive, and we have received a lot of support, with some even getting actively involved! We look forward to all the future activities that await us.”

Profil Klett company, which is part of the KLETT Group, a leading European publishing house for educational material, actively took part in this initiative, as well as the gastronomic association Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, and on this occasion, both Director and President Dalibor Greganić emphasised: “Education from the earliest days has a key role in shaping the habits that children will retain throughout their lives. Recognising the key role of early education, with the ‘Being Green is IN’ project, our kindergarten is trying to instil in children positive healthy habits and values, which will help them develop a responsible and positive attitude towards food, but also to adopt a culture of dining. Privileged by the fact that we have an influence on the early development and formation of children, we are approaching this with great responsibility. We are carefully shaping the space and creating situations that encourage children to learn experientially, and by connecting children, parents, educators, and the local community, we are creating an environment whose ultimate goal is a happy and healthy child. The mission of the Profil Klett company is the development of quality and modern education through educational contents, their contemporary application, and their own educational institutions. ‘Being Green is IN’ is an example of a unique project through which, through an individual approach to each child in our kindergarten, we are providing an exclusive experience as a solid foundation for development and success in further education and life.”

The organisers of the ‘Being Green is IN’ project have announced the continuation of activities, all out of a great desire to encourage parents, educational institutions, and above all – children, to think about healthy habits from an early age.

About the ‘Being Green is IN’ project

The Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, Čigra Kindergarten, the gastronomic association Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and publishing house Profil Klett joined forces at the beginning of 2024 and launched their joint project ‘Being Green is IN’, which aims to direct the attention of parents, kids, and educational institutions to the importance of healthy nutrition habits, familiarise them with ingredients and flavours that can be tasty and fun, while emphasising seasonal and local foodstuffs and preparation which preserves nutrients. In addition, the project will, through various activities, deal long-term with topics such as the elimination of processed foods, harmful fats, sugar, and food additives, while topics such as the impact of nutrition on the health of the body, our relationship with the environment, and the reduction of food waste and a responsible attitude towards resources will be discussed with children and professional associates.


 Download of event photos (photo by Marko Šolić): Biti Green je IN 2



 Sanda Sokol, PR & Marketing Manager, Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, Mihanovićeva 1, 10 000 Zagreb, T. 01 45 66 036, [email protected]

Martina Petrović, Head of Creative Projects, Čigra Kindergarten, Josipa Marohnića 3, HOB centar, Zagreb, M. 099 694 6562, [email protected], www.cigravrtic.hr

Addresses of facilities: Radnička 50, Green Gold; Vrtni put 1, A1 Campus

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