The ancestors of African Americans brought many wonderful food traditions to parts of the Caribbean, South America, and the southern states of the U.S. Over the generations, many of these food traditions have been lost. But whether we look to Virginia, Jamaica, Nigeria or Brazil, we ﬁnd this overall healthy eating pattern shared by all of their culinary histories:
Foods to enjoy every day: colorful fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens; tubers like yams and sweet potatoes; beans of all kinds; nuts and peanuts; rice, ﬂatbreads and other grain foods, especially whole grains.
Foods to eat a few times each week, or in moderation: homemade sauces and marinades of herbs and spices; ﬁsh, eggs, poultry and yogurt.
Foods to save for special occasions: meats and sweets.
Getting started with the African Heritage Diet couldn’t be simpler:
Boost Flavor With Spice. Curries, peppers, coconut, fresh herbs, garlic, onions, fresh lemon, and all spices are low-sodium ways to add incredible ﬂavors to grains, beans, vegetables, and seafood.
Make Vegetables the Star of Your Plate. Steamed, sautéed, roasted, grilled or raw, enjoy veggies like okra, cabbage, green beans, or eggplant in larger portions than the other parts of your meal. If you’re grabbing seconds, go for the veggies!
Change the Way You Think About Meat. Use lean, healthy meats in smaller amounts for ﬂavor. Replace ham-hocks with smoked turkey or ﬁsh, or pile on the herbs and spices instead!
Make Rice & Beans Your New Staple. Fiber-ﬁlled Rice-and-Beans is a favorite meal all over the world. Add African heritage whole grains like millet, sorghum, and teﬀ to your soups, or partner them with peas.
Find Real Foods Everywhere. At a corner store, buy peanuts or fruit; at a lunch buﬀet, load up your plate with salad, veggies, fruit, and beans. Look to African heritage whole foods, in their natural state, to crowd out processed and packaged “convenience foods.”
Jazz Up Fruits for Dessert. Fresh or frozen fruits like melons, peaches, berries, and mangos—plain or sprinkled with chopped nuts or coconut—add a sweet taste of satisfaction at the end of a meal.
Drink to Your Health. A splash of ﬂavor can make water your go-to drink. Add crushed fruits or small amounts of 100% fruit juice to water or sparkling water to make refreshing “ades” (like lemonade!). Iced tea with a little honey is another refreshing alternative to soda and other highly sugared drinks.
New Jersey African Heritage/Health Restaurants
|Newark||Mimi African Restaurant||African|
|Orange||Odabro African Restaurant & Lounge||Nigerian|
|Plainﬁeld||The Family Soul Spot||Southern/Soul|