A Children’s Taste of African Heritage is a 7-week cooking and nutrition curriculum for kids ages 8-12 based on healthy, plant-based foods from across the African Diaspora. The program is aligned with Common Core State Standards for grades 3-6 and SHAPE America ﬁtness standards for grades 3-4.
“The program is awesome! We are having so much fun. The kids are the envy of the school. The word and the aroma are getting around. Today the kids were trying to invite friends from other classes to taste their porridge. We set the scene by reading ‘The 3 Little Bears’ this morning. They were spot on and ready when I got there. They can’t keep still Monday–Thursday in anticipation of [A Children’s Taste of African Heritage] on Fridays. They are retaining and repeating things from the lesson.”
—Teacher Dallas, TX
What Are A Children’s Taste of African Heritage Classes Like?
A Children’s Taste of African Heritage (ACTOAH) is a seven-lesson nutrition and cooking program. Most programs run over the course of seven weeks, oﬀering one class per week. Each lesson is 1 hour and 45 minutes long, and covers a speciﬁc food group from the African Heritage Diet Pyramid. The ﬁrst lesson is a cultural introduction to the African Heritage Diet Pyramid.
Lesson 1: African Heritage
Lesson 2: Traditional Herbs and Spices
Lesson 3: Greens
Lesson 4: Whole Grains
Lesson 5: Beans and Rice
Lesson 6: Tubers and Mashes
Lesson 7: Fruits, Vegetables and a Healthy Lifestyle
- Class schedule: 1 class per week, for 7 weeks
- Number of recipes per class: 0–2
- Class components: Each class is divided up into 1) an introduction, 2) an historical and nutritional discussion, 3) a cooking lesson and/or sensory activity, and 4) a time to eat together and reﬂect.
- Tracking success: Using conﬁdential lifestyle evaluations, instructors and students track their success.
The latest version of the curriculum includes:
-Common Core State Standards, so that the program can be taught in schools (grades 3-6)
-SHAPE America Fitness standards for school physical education (grade 3-4)
Who Are The Classes For?
A Children’s Taste of African Heritage is targeted to children ages 8 to 12. Parents, guardians, and siblings are also encouraged to participate.
How Can I Attend A Class?
Check out our class site directory to locate a class near you. And if you can’t ﬁnd one happening now, don’t despair! New classes are added all the time, so check back with us regularly. Or, become a teacher and bring the class to your community.
Who Can Teach the Classes?
A Children’s Taste of African Heritage are excellent programs to teach for anyone working in nutrition, education, food service, faith-based initiatives, community outreach work, or public health and wellness. You don’t have to be a chef or nutrition professional. Our on-demand (1-hour) teaching training webinar will give you the background information you need to know to conﬁdently teach this course. Lesson plans have easily-followed, step-by-step guides for preparing and teaching.
How Do I Start Teaching?
After you’ve viewed the (1-hour) teacher training webinar, ﬁll out our “Become a Teacher Form” or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get started. To access the curriculum, you can either: buy a license for 1 year of digital access, or buy hard copies of the curriculum books. More details on these two options below:
Organizations interested in teaching A Taste of African Heritage, A Children’s Taste of African Heritage, or A Taste of Latin American Heritage can license the curriculum on an annual basis, which will allow the licensee to download a PDF version of the curriculum and related resources.
- Standard Single-Site License: For community health centers, SNAP-Ed providers, and other local organizations/small businesses. $300 per year per program
- Multi-Site License: For larger national organizations, or organizations with multiple sites.
Contact email@example.com to learn more.
Purchasing the Curriculum
Alternatively, organizations can purchase the printed student handbooks ($199.99 for 15) and teacher’s manual ($29.99) in our webstore with or without a license. Please note that photocopying the printed curriculum is a violation of the copyright. The minimum order of student handbooks is 15. Classes are also encouraged to purchase the African Heritage Pyramid poster ($19.99) to display in the class, and purchase the trifold brochures ($39.99 for 100).
How was A Children’s Taste of African Heritage Developed?
Before we created our cooking and nutrition curricula, we ﬁrst assembled an advisory committee of nutrition scientists, culinary historians, and experts in African diasporic health and history to develop the African Heritage Diet Pyramid in 2011.
We then used the Pyramid as the framework to create A Taste of African Heritage (for adults) in 2012, and also had the curriculum reviewed by African American dietitians from our advisory committee. The adult version of the program has been taught hundreds of times across the country and is beloved for its strengths-based approach that celebrates African American food and culture.
After many partners requested a curriculum for children, we adapted it for younger audiences creating A Children’s Taste of African Heritage. A Children’s Taste of African Heritage was reviewed by an education professional at Prairie View A&M University who specializes in nutrition, wellness, and childhood obesity education outreach programs and was piloted with 100 children throughout Washington, DC, Dallas, TX, and Houston, TX before being launched nationwide in 2018. In 2020, the curriculum was updated to align with Common Core State Standards for grades 3-6 and SHAPE America ﬁtness standards for grades 3-4. We continually collect feedback to optimize the program.
Is A Children’s Taste of African Heritage Evidence-Based?
SNAP-Ed recognizes three levels of evidence-based approaches: research-tested, practice-tested, and emerging. As one of our newer programs, A Children’s Taste of African Heritage is considered an “emerging” approach. The program was piloted with 100 children throughout Washington, DC, Dallas, TX, and Houston, TX before being launched nationwide in 2018. Participants of A Children’s Taste of African Heritage show improvements in healthy eating behaviors, such as increased intake of whole grains and beans.
A Children’s Taste of African Heritage is modeled oﬀ of A Taste of African Heritage, a research-tested approach with results published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Oldways’ African Heritage Diet Pyramid was also referenced in a 2019 article in Nutrients, which found that providing culturally-appropriate interventions, providing ﬂavorful, low-cost plant-based options, and focusing on healthy foods that are already regularly enjoyed in Black cuisine (such as leafy greens, tubers, and okra) are all strategies to promote good nutrition in Black communities. You can ﬁnd more research related to African Heritage diets here.
Can I Teach a Class Online?
Yes! Please visit our Virtual Teaching Tips page for more information.