Food Matters

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.