Safe Celebration

Try this streamlined four-step plan to prepare a holiday meal without gluten and genetically modified ingredients. Avoiding both gluten and GMOs is never easy, but it's even more difficult during the holidays.

Avoiding both gluten and GMOs is never easy, but it's even more difficult during the holidays. For a truly safe Thanksgiving, try this step-by-step plan.

Butternut Squash Recipe


Several weeks before the holiday, order an organic turkey or turkey breast. That will ensure that the centerpiece of your meal wasn't raised on GMO feed.


Once your turkey is ordered, plan your holiday meal preparation. See "Make the Switch" (below) for non-GMO, gluten-free substitutes to many common ingredients, and gather non-perishable, USDA Organic or Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free products that you need. Dried herbs and spices, chicken broth, non-GMO gluten-free flour, and rice are common ingredients that can be purchased weeks ahead of time.


Half a week before the holiday, buy hardier vegetables that will last, and fresh ingredients that you need for side dishes-such as chestnut and vegetable stuffing or a wild rice pilaf-that you can make a day or two ahead of time, refrigerate, and reheat on the holiday. Condiments, such as homemade cranberry sauce, and many desserts, such as apple or pumpkin pie, that are often served cold, also can be made in advance.


A day or two before Thanksgiving, pick up your turkey and perishable items. Currently, the only vegetables that can be GMO that you need to beware of are zucchini, yellow squash, and sweet corn. Instead, focus on naturally non-GMO green beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and acorn squash. Even mashed cauliflower, a low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes, is naturally non-GMO.

Finally, enjoy the holiday knowing that you, your family, and your guests are avoiding not just problematic gluten, but also GMOs. This is a great feeling when you realize that GMOs were never a hidden part of a Thanksgiving feast until a little less than two decades ago.

What Is GMO Free USA?

It's an organization of more than 350,000 followers that collectively speaks to, boycotts, and forces large food manufacturers to remove GMO ingredients from their products. To learn more, visit

View Butternut Squash Sage Recipe

Make the Switch*

Banish GMOs and gluten from your holiday meals with these simple substitutions.

Instead of …

Try …

Conventional turkey

Organic turkey

Commercial chicken or turkey broth

Organic, gluten-free chicken broth; or homemade turkey broth from organic turkey bones

White wine

Organic or Non-GMO Project Verified white wine; or organic, gluten-free chicken broth


Arrowroot; coconut flour; or organic and/or Non-GMO Project Verified cornstarch

Soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil

Unrefined extra virgin olive oil; coconut oil; avocado oil; organic butter; or macadamia nut oil


Organic (preferably pasture-raised) butter; organic coconut oil; or organic olive oil


Organic milk; organic coconut milk; or Non-GMO Project Verified organic unsweetened almond milk

Gluten-free flour blends

Unblanched almond flour; coconut flour; or organic and/or Non-GMO Project Verified gluten-free flours

Sugar, brown sugar, and corn syrup

Coconut palm sugar; coconut nectar; 100% pure maple syrup (not blended with corn syrup); Non-GMO Project Verified honey; organic unrefined cane sugar; applesauce or mashed fruit; or mesquite meal

Canned cranberry sauce

Store-bought USDA Organic, gluten-free cranberry sauce; or homemade cranberry sauce made with non-GMO sweeteners



Gluten-free Giving

Don't feel like holiday shopping in the malls? Head over to your local natural foods store where great gluten-free gifts abound