ASK THE NU­TRI­TION­IST

Try these tips to help avoid ge­net­i­cally mod­ifi ed foods from Hal­loween through the New Year

Better Nutrition - - CONTENTS - BY MELISSA DIANE SMITH

Have a Happy, GMO- Free Hol­i­day Tips for avoid­ing ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied foods through­out the fall and win­ter.

Q : I do my best to stay away from ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied foods ( GMOs), but they seem much harder to avoid dur­ing the hol­i­days. Can you pro­vide some names of non- GMO Hal­loween and hol­i­day candy and other tips for fes­tive non- GMO food choices? — Con­nie M., Ok­la­homa City

a: Con­sumer de­mand for non- GMO foods may be at an all- time high, but it still isn’t easy to com­pletely avoid them— es­pe­cially dur­ing the food- cen­tric hol­i­day sea­son. Here’s a quick guide to help you steer clear of GMOs all fall and win­ter long.

Hal­loween

Most par­ents want their chil­dren to ex­pe­ri­ence the fun of Hal­loween with­out risky, hid­den in­gre­di­ents that can turn sweet treats into health tricks. To avoid this spooky sit­u­a­tion, try Non- GMO Pro­ject Ver­ifi ed candy, such as Yum Earth Or­ganic Lol­lipops, Licorice, Gummy Bears, and Hard Candy; Chimes Ginger Chews; and Sim­ply Gum. But be­ware: like all candy, these treats are made mostly of ( non- GMO or or­ganic) sugar.

From a nu­tri­tion point of view, treats made with cer­tifi ed or­ganic real- food in­gre­di­ents— and a lit­tle healthy fat to pre­vent candy- in­duced blood sugar spikes— are a bet­ter way to go. A few to choose from that come in large bags or boxes: Nu­tiva

Or­ganic O’Co­conut Lightly Sweet­ened Co­conut Treat; Co­comels Or­ganic Co­conut Milk Caramels;

Al­ter Eco Or­ganic Truf­fles; and Heav­enly Or­gan­ics Choco­late Honey Pat­ties. Other health­ier treat op­tions in­clude Stretch Is­land Or­ganic Fruit Strips, which are made only with real fruit in­gre­di­ents, and

Eden Foods Or­ganic Pocket Snacks, fea­tur­ing fruit- juice- sweet­ened dried fruits.

Look­ing for sugar- free Hal­loween ideas? Try mak­ing fes­tive al­ter­na­tives to jack- o- lanterns from fresh man­darins, sat­sumas, or small oranges. Draw faces on the skin of the fruit with a black per­ma­nent marker ( it won’t con­tam­i­nate the fruit). Or give out Glee Sugar- Free Gum, which is Non- GMO Pro­ject Ver­ifi ed and Fair Trade cer­tifi ed. It’s sweet­ened with xyl­i­tol, a sugar al­co­hol made from Amer­i­can birch and beech trees, and is avail­able in fi ve fl avors. You also can go un­con­ven­tional, skip food al­to­gether, and give out glow bracelets— fun gifts that kids love that are also prac­ti­cal be­cause they make kids eas­ier to see in the dark when they’re out trick or treat­ing!

Thanks­giv­ing

The best way to en­joy a healthy nonGMO hol­i­day meal with a min­i­mum of stress is to be or­ga­nized and plan ahead. A few weeks be­fore the hol­i­day, or­der an un­pro­cessed or­ganic or Non- GMO Pro­ject Ver­ifi ed turkey ( or an or­ganic turkey breast, or or­ganic or Non- GMO Pro­ject Ver­ifi ed chicken for smaller din­ner gath­er­ings). Mary’s pro­duces both op­tions.

Grad­u­ally gather non­per­ish­able, USDA Or­ganic or Non- GMO Pro­ject Ver­ifi ed prod­ucts— such as dried herbs and spices, chicken broth, thick­en­ers such as ar­row­root, sweet­en­ers, and canned pump­kin— that you will need for Thanks­giv­ing. Half a week be­fore the hol­i­day, buy in­gre­di­ents such as or­ganic but­ter, as well as hardier veg­eta­bles. Then pre­pare dishes such as mashed root veg­eta­bles, home­made cran­berry sauce, and any pies or desserts that you can make in ad­vance. A day or two be­fore Thanks­giv­ing, pick up your turkey and any per­ish­able fresh veg­eta­bles you’ll be serv­ing, then pre­pare a sim­ple- yet- tasty non- GMO meal that you and your fam­ily and friends will love.

Christ­mas

For the big din­ner, fol­low the same guide­lines as for Thanks­giv­ing. If you pre­fer red meat to poul­try, seek out and pur­chase or­ganic, 100 per­cent grass- fed cuts of beef or lamb.

Keep in mind that corn, po­ta­toes, yel­low squash, zuc­chini, pa­paya, and ap­ples can be ge­net­i­cally mod­ifi ed, so make sure to seek out those la­beled or­ganic. Or make sim­ple side dishes with veg­eta­bles that aren’t ge­net­i­cally mod­ifi ed. Some op­tions in­clude baked sweet po­ta­toes, roasted as­para­gus and mush­rooms, green beans al­mondine, spinach salad, or kale salad with or­ange pieces and or­ganic dried cran­ber­ries. For desserts, use non- GMO fl ours and sweet­en­ers and or­ganic but­ter or co­conut oil to make easy- to- pre­pare ap­ple crisps or short­bread cook­ies.

For sweet stock­ing stuff ers, any of the or­ganic candies men­tioned for Hal­loween will work well. Also look for Justin’s Dark Choco­late Al­mond But­ter Cups, Co­conut Se­cret Co­conut Bars, Eat­ing Evolved Co­conut But­ter Cups, Hail Merry Bites, Boul­der Bake Choco­late Chip or Ba­nana Wal­nut Cook­ies, and That’s It Dark Choco­late Cov­ered Fruit Truf­fles. For sugar- free stock­ing stuff ers, try That’s It Fruit Bars, made only from fruit, Lily’s Sweets ste­via- sweet­ened choco­late bars, or Bul­let­proof Vanilla Short­bread or Mint Choco­late Chip Col­la­gen Pro­tein Bars.

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