It is back-to-school time! As the summer comes to an end, it is time to start thinking about what you are going to fill your kid’s lunch box with. Some of the most popular lunchtime snacks and foods have GMOs hidden in them. Other brands like Lunchables and Doritos may have organic options but these products are still far from healthy. With so many great alternatives out there, make sure to educate yourself on what to steer clear of and what to stock up on. Check out our list of concerning items and great alternatives below:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are an old standby when it comes to easy-to-make school lunches. But the most common varieties of jelly are likely to contain GMOs. Smuckers Jam, in particular, contains high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, and citric acid - all ingredients that are most often produced from GE varieties of corn and sugar beets (and these sugars come with their own set of health impacts). Smuckers also contributed to anti-labeling campaigns, infringing on consumers’ right to know what is in their food. Smuckers recently purchased Jif, now owning both the PB & J. A good alternative to traditional preserve brands is Crofter’s, a great company that produces organic fruit spreads and maintains a high level of integrity around the quality of fruit and regularly checking for pesticide residue.
Tuna salad is another common sandwich filling, but it might surprise you that Bumble Bee Tuna contains soybean oil, which is most often produced from GE soybeans. Maybe we can say something like the issues with the fishing industry such as overfishing, unnecessarily killing of other animals, and impact on marine eco-systems. To avoid these hidden GMOs and environmental concerns, switch to another form of protein for sandwiches. This might be a great opportunity to embrace Meatless Monday and explore some alternative protein sources for your family. If you are looking for animal protein that makes for a good salad, try whipping up some egg salad with organic pasture-raised eggs, even better if they are from a local farm.
While you are addressing hidden GMOs in your tuna salad, don’t forget to re-examine your choice of mayonnaise. Kraft Miracle Whip* is one of the most commonly used mayo brands and is filled with GMOs. Also, most mayo brands (even organic) do not address the poor living conditions of egg-laying hens. To ensure that hens are being treated in the best way possible, skip the eggs altogether and try a great alternative to traditional mayo - Follow Your Heart vegan mayo. Check out our mayo scorecard to compare other top brands!
Honey Nut Cheerios* are an easy snack to throw in a bag, giving kids something slightly sweet and crunchy to munch on. But they also happen to be filled with GMOs. Either opt for plain Cheerios which went non-GMO or consider switching to other non-GMO Project Verified snacks like Royal Hawaiian Orchards Macadamia fruit & nut clusters, which are full of nut protein and lightly sweet thanks to pieces of fruit and without any GMOs.
Hummus and carrots can be a perfectly balanced snack if you avoid brands that use soybean oil and citric acid, both ingredients most often derived from GE corn and soy. There are lots of other wonderful hummus brands that avoid these icky ingredients; we’re big fans of Hope Hummus. Check out our hummus scorecard to find out how other top brands match up!
Hopefully, this post will help you think creatively about many more non-GMO and healthy lunchbox items. Happy Lunch Packing!!!
*Follow the brand links above to take action and tell these brands that it is time to change their ways and provide better products for families and kids, free of GMOs and toxic chemicals.