Don’t be a mad scientist this Halloween! A guide to avoiding “Frankenfoods”
Halloween is right around the corner and while many of us are excited for sweet treats, candy corn, and pumpkin spice anything, I’m here to provide you with 5 simple strategies to avoid the ghoulish “Frankenfoods” this Halloween. Frankenfoods are chemical science projects made with artificial colorings, flavors, sweeteners, trans-fat, GMO’s, and frightening preservatives. These laboratory made foods are more likely a “trick” to our bodies, mimicking real food and flavors, and are certainly not a worthy “treat. But don’t fret! You can still have your treat, while avoiding the common food industry tricks.
As you’re filling your Halloween basket this year here are 5 healthy tips to avoid scary ingredients.
BEWARE: High Fructose corn syrup (HFCS), artificial Sweeteners, and refined sugars are hauntingly everywhere. Look for candy that is naturally sweetened with fruit-juice, maple syrup, honey, or organic cane sugar. Although still sugar, these are less processed and certainly less genetically modified (GMO) for the most part than HFCS. Additionally, try to seek out candies that do not have sugar as the main ingredient- remember that the first ingredient on the label means that there is the most of that ingredient in the product.
Don’t be fooled by the advertising jargon.The terms “all-natural” and “fresh” carry very little weight. In addition, just because a product is labeled “gluten-free” or “fat-free” does not mean it’s any healthier than its counterpart. Be very careful to avoid the marketing ploys of the food industry, which wants to trick us into eating more junk food by putting it in friendlier packaging. Make no mistake. These foods are still wolves in sheep’s clothing. Flip over the package and read the ingredient list, this will give you a much better picture of what you are actually eating.
Double, Double toil and trouble….Less is more. Check the number of ingredients. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the amount of ingredients, the better. Healthier, minimally processed foods tend to contain the fewest ingredients. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient or don’t know what it is, don’t eat it. Look for brands that are certified organic or non-GMO when possible.
Hydrogenated oils are the devil in disguise. You might be shocked, but this basically translates to trans-fat and unfortunately trans-fat is not always be labeled. Partially hydrogenated oils appear in more foods than you might realize, including processed nut butters and certainly lots of candies. During the hydrogenation process, the chemical makeup of the substance is changed, which makes it much more difficult, or even impossible for your body to break down and get rid. Note that on the candy label you might find partially hydrogenated vegetable, soybean, palm or other oils, they all mean the same thing. Steer clear!
Focus on the season’s fang-tastic fresh fruit and vegetables. Focus on the season’s fruit and vegetables since these foods tend to taste better when they are in season. For fall, focus on in-season items like apples, acorn squash, pumpkin, pomegranate, pears, cranberries, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and persimmons. Try baking your own treats with the season’s best or try apple slices dipped in a tablespoon of Justin’s Hazelnut Butter!