One of the most common concerns about the prevalence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in North America is whether they are safe for our children and families to eat. GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. There is a growing body of evidence that connects GMOs with potential health problems, environmental damage, and violations of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

The sad truth is many foods popular with children, like cereal, snack bars, cookies, processed lunchmeats, and crackers often contain GMOs. Ingredients derived from GMO corn, soy, and canola are the most common GMO risk ingredients found in processed foods. GMO sugar beets are often the source of sugar in many processed candies and sweet foods. Be sure to read your labels to find other GMOs that may be hidden in processed foods.

GMOs may be hidden in common processed food ingredients: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.

Despite the prevalence of GMOs in the typical breakfast, ensuring the most important meal of your day is non-GMO is made easy by the abundance of Non-GMO Project Verified breakfast options, the availability of organic produce, and…blenders! Many of us at the Non-GMO Project start our day with a fresh juice or smoothie, followed by a whole grain or protein-based breakfast. It’s not uncommon to walk through the office in the morning and see mason jars on desks, filled with vibrant fruit and vegetable concoctions.

Smoothies are also generally “kiddo-approved” not only because they are colorful, but also because they are fun to make and feel like a treat. Since the only GMO-risk fruit at this time is Hawaiian papaya, smoothies and fresh juice make a delicious and nutritious non-GMO breakfast. For more ideas, check out the list of Non-GMO Project Verified cereals and browse our growing recipe collection.

We’d love to see what your non-GMO breakfast looks like—please share your photos and recipes in the comments below! #nongmobreakfast

Happy Green Smoothie, Photo Credit: Modern Parents Messy Kids


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