Chemical Free Product Guides:
No Poison At The Dinner Table: Our Favorite Non-Toxic Dinnerware for Kids
As adults, we’re able to enjoy a rainbow of gorgeous plate and cutlery options made of super safe materials like ceramic and glass. And in a perfect world, our kids could enjoy the same. If anyone lives in that world, please let us know how to get there! There are a couple issues when it comes to dinnerware for kids: durability during the super-enjoyable-and-feels-eternal “throw it on the ground to see what happens” phase and usability in terms of being able to heat it and clean it easily. Since the overall solution to these problems is not one we’re willing to get on board with (read: plastic), here are our favorite options to solve both these dilemmas. These non-toxic dinnerware options will be (relatively) safe around your plate-pitching toddler & be super cute on your table.
The problem with plastic
You’ve heard it before (many times!), but it bears repeating: plastic is nasty stuff. And, while it’s great to avoid plastic that includes melamine, PVC, BPA, BPS, and phthalates, even plastics that don’t include these compounds may still be problematic. One of the biggest issues is that plastic can release toxins when heated, which is particularly scary when you think about heating food and serving it to kids on plastic plates or cups or even running it through a dishwasher cycle where it’s washed hot and dried with a heater.
The bottom line: if you must use plastic, don’t heat it and wash it by hand in warm water with mild (non-toxic!) soap and dry with a cloth.
Or do one better and check out some of these great alternatives.
Our Top 3 Choices for Non-Toxic Dinnerware for Kids
Pros: Wood is a sustainable, environmentally-friendly alternative that’s not easily broken by rambunctious kiddos.
Cons: Because the water content in wood will swell when heated, you can’t toss these in the microwave or the dishwasher. Quick tip: keep a glass or ceramic bowl on hand for safe microwave heating and then transfer to the wooden plates for eating.
Our favorites: Bambu makes adorable plates, utensils and teethers and are committed to safe-working environments and labor laws. Avanchy combines gorgeous wood designs with silicone accents to make them as functional as they are beautiful. And how cute is this Robot from Petit Et Maman?
Pros: High quality, 304 grade stainless steel is a safe and durable choice for non-toxic dinnerware. Unless you have an allergy or a sensitivity to nickel or chromium, the trace amounts of metals leached from stainless steel are not an issue.
Cons: You can’t microwave it and (it has to be said) when it does get dropped, it’s really loud.
Our favorites: Untangled Living has sleek, stylish plates, bowls and cups made out of food grade stainless steel. This adorable divided plate in the shape of a bus from Innobaby is sure to delight any toddler – also available as a mealtime set with utensils, cups and a snack bowl. To replace those ubiquitous plastic snack cups, try this stainless steel snack cup with slotted silicone lid and handles.
Pros: Comprised of a non-toxic polymer called “silica,” which is largely comprised of sand, silicone is part of the rubber family and can withstand even the most energetic toddler handling. Even better, heating silicone materials won’t cause them to off-gas or leach harmful chemicals, so they can be microwaved and washed in the dishwasher. It’s easy to wipe down and our nontoxic cleaner, Force of Nature, works like a charm to remove oily residue from soaps and food.
Cons: You have to make sure your product is made of 100% food grade silicone. Some products use plastic fillers, so do your research. In a pinch, give it a pinch! If you twist or pinch the silicone, it should not turn white – if it does, it has plastic fillers. While silicone is certainly preferable to plastic, it is still being studied and there is some concern about leaching especially when used in high heat and with highly fatty foods like oils. For now, we recommend it as a back up to stainless steel & wood, especially when used for serving rather than baking.
Our favorites: Bumkins Silicone Grip Dish boasts dividers and a super-strong suction base to help it stay put. Ooga offers a wide selection of silicone plates, bowls and utensils, some of which can go everywhere from the oven to the freezer, and they set the bar for safety higher than what is required here in the US. Ezpz Mat is a classic and now have an adorable play mat for art in their collection as well.
While plastic options abound, there are so many great choices for non-toxic dinnerware to choose from, and while the initial investment may be more than its plastic counterpart, these quality items are long-lasting, durable and easy on our environment. And for whichever safe dinnerware option you choose, don’t forget to check out our non toxic chemical free cleaning system, Force of Nature. As effective as bleach and gentle enough for a high chair, it’ll keep your dinnerware spic and span, as well as pretty much everything else in your home.