Healthy School Lunch & Yoga at Life Project Education
We have just finished 2 weeks at Life Project Education and the students are thrilled (and their parents). Since understanding nutrition and what it means to be healthy is something we believe is imperative for students to learn, it is part of our curriculum here at Life Project Education. And of course, it means a healthy school lunch. Anna, our health & wellness teacher, has been working closely with the students and here is a quick recap of just the things we’ve done in the last 2 weeks.
On Thursday, we had our first visit from Farmer John, who is a local entrepreneur seeking to bring the community healthy, organic food from all over nearby regions of Costa Rica. The students made a big sign welcoming him and were thrilled to see the colorful produce he brought. In other words, they were excited to eat healthy.
Because students have grown used to eating certain types of food during their school lunch (usually, not very healthy), we thought it might be challenging implementing organic, healthy food into the lunch. But we were confident in Anna since she has the power to make every kind of healthy food taste delicious. Even broccoli.
EVERYONE has been eating broccoli this week and asking for seconds. We make it by chopping it small, and then cooking it in coconut oil with a little bit of sea salt. Every time we served it this week, we ran out of it as EVERYONE asked for seconds. Even some students who said they didn’t like it, tried it and asked for more!
During our daily nutrition courses, we talked often about trying foods even if we don’t think we like them. We are giving stickers out for brave students who try new foods. This has been very motivational and many parents are carrying this over at home. Exploring new foods, tasting it and THEN deciding if you like it has been our approach and it seems to be working great. Of course, we never force them to eat all of it if they don’t like it, as this could develop a negative experience to certain types of food.
We did many activities about how to best love our bodies and selves by eating healthy food from the earth. We talked about “strong” and “weak” foods and how strong foods make us stronger and healthier (veggies, fruits, foods from the earth, etc.), while weak foods give us low energy, can make us sleepy, and can even make us sick if we eat too much of them (junk food, processed food, etc.).
The students have been helping Anna in the kitchen, learning about kitchen safety, manners, and preparing plant based foods. In the future, we will post some of our Life Project Education recipes once we have a better idea of the most popular dishes we use. Of course, everyone loves Banana Ice Cream (except a few who don’t like sweets) which is just frozen bananas in the blender with some water. We have this as a treat every Friday.
In yoga, we have been discussing our breathing, bodies, and hearts. How the breath and movements can influence our heart rate, as well as different yoga poses and techniques to control our heart rates. A popular one is, Balloon Breath, where we blow up an imaginary balloon with our hands on our breath in, and then take a deep exhale to pop-it. We talked about giving thanks to our bodies and all the things we do for them. The students came up with some pretty great reasons why they love their bodies (play, movement, laughing, allowing us to live on earth, lets us love each other). We love hearing their spontaneous answers to such questions.
On Friday, we sent them home with an orange piece of paper on which they drew what was “in their hearts.” Their answers were precious and we are so grateful to have our hearts filled with the opportunity to teach them. Or rather, to be taught by them.
Stay tuned for more of our activities at Life Project Education and feel free to share this with anyone you feel would be interested.