Although we are easily enticed with comfort foods on these cold days, a big challenge in choosing recipes or creating meals for your family is keeping them healthy. Unfortunately, many of those comfort foods contain unhealthy GMOS, toxins, and other processed ingredients that can cause health concerns, inflammation and illness.
Scientists and consumer and environmental groups have cited many health and environmental risks with foods containing GMOs. So for my family, one of the biggest challenges with eating in the colder months is to make each meal as whole and healthy as possible. By using ingredients that are in season over February and March, I am able to create delicious, GMO-free, and healthier alternatives to most recipes. You may be surprised at how simple it is to make non-GMO recipes with all the fresh produce earth provides over the next few months.
Here are three recipes I’ve added to my repertoire that have become some of my family’s favorites.
Coconut Sugared Corn Muffins:
When you are cooking up a recipe that requires using sugar, coconut sugar is a great substitute, since it doesn’t have that heart-racing effect like cane sugar. This powdered coconut sugar recipe can be used to make icing for cookies and cakes, or used pretty much wherever sugar is called for in a recipe. In the colder months, my family loves when I make whole corn muffins. They go wonderfully with a vegetable soup. Here is the recipe:
What you’ll need:
1 ½ cups of organic/GMO-free yellow cornmeal
1 cup of sorghum flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ cup tapioca powder
1 tspn sea salt
½ cup ground flax seeds
½ hot water
⅓ cup coconut sugar
⅓ cup heated coconut oil
⅓ cup organic apple sauce
1 ½ cups milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil muffin pan / cover with liners
- Place yellow cornmeal, sorghum flour, baking powder, tapioca powder and sea salt all in one large bowl and whisk.
- Next, whisk in ground flax seeds hot water. Let sit until thickened.
- Add coconut sugar, coconut oil, and apple sauce and mix until well blended. Add the milk.
- Whisk together for two minutes.
- Spoon batter into muffin pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Tomato Based Sauce Dishes
Many store-bought tomato sauces look harmless but can include high fructose syrup, processed ingredients, and more unnecessary ingredients for your favorite pizza recipe, pasta, or chicken dish. Actually, delicious tomato sauce is quite easy to make, requiring very few ingredients, and high fructose corn syrup isn’t one of them! In fact, the simpler the better! Here’s my family’s favorite marinara. Plus, it’s my easiest go-to for a quick sauce for dinner.
What you’ll need:
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 onion (diced)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
4 lbs fresh, ripe and peeled tomatoes
1 small jar of tomato paste
sea salt (for seasoning)
- In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté gently until softened. Add garlic cloves and cook an additional minute.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste and 2 generous pinches of sea salt. Bring to a simmer. Cover the sauce and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Puree about half the sauce with an immersion blender or pass through a food mill. Place the sauce back into the saucepan.
- Add fresh basil leaves and simmer for 5 minutes or longer, if you have the time. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Serve with your typical dishes that call for a tomato based sauce!
This one is an easy one. Take your usual go-to recipe for cheesecake and use yogurt cheese instead of cream cheese. The yogurt adds a creamy and tangy flavor and is rich in calcium, low in fat, and boosts the immune system. In this recipe, also replace some of the butter in the crust with olive oil to reduce saturated fat and include the healthy fats that are good for our bodies. Lastly, you can puree berries, create lemon zest and juice, or use other fruits in season to change up the flavors.
Being a busy parent can make its hard to control every item we whip into our recipes. One easy trick when you can’t make the item from scratch yourself is to, when possible, try to buy non-GMO products for your recipes and aim to eat a simple, unprocessed whole foods diet. For your reference, corn, soy, white sugar, canola oil, papaya, and zucchini are the most commonly genetically modified foods right now. Knowing this, is half the battle!
Gabriella Wilday is a mother that is making a difference. When her eldest daughter entered grade school, she was troubled by the poor food choices on the school menu. She founded No Fuss Lunch, a company that provides school lunches made with natural, high quality ‘real’ food in 2012, and now serves thousands of students, campers, and families per day.