Non-Toxic Dinnerware for Kids – Best Plastic Alternatives

non-toxic dinnerware

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 of 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 and the best non-toxic toddler plates 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 Dinnerware for Kids

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 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. Always look at the food-safe labels, even “BPA-free” can still contain other plastics.

Other Considerations When Choosing Non-Toxic Dinnerware Materials

When choosing the materials that your dinnerware is made of, it’s advisable to steer clear of dinnerware containing heavy metals such as Lead and Cadmium. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) or “Forever Chemicals” and Melamine should be avoided as well.

Or do one better and check out some of these great alternatives.

Our Top 4 Choices for Non-Toxic Dinnerware for Kids

Here at Force of Nature, we’re all about non-toxic options. That’s why we put together a list of our favorite non-toxic dinnerware options for kids.

Example of a Wooden Dinnerware Collection

1. Wooden Dinnerware

Pros: Wood is a sustainable, environmentally-friendly alternative that’s not easily broken by rambunctious kiddos. It’s a great option for non-toxic kids’ plates and comes in many wood types like maple, cherry, ash, and even bamboo plates.

Cons: Because the water content in wood will swell when heated, you can’t toss these in the microwave or the dishwasher. Wood is also not oven-safe. Quick tip: keep a glass or ceramic bowl on hand for safe microwave heating and then transfer your food to the wooden plates for eating.


Our Favorites

  • Bambu makes adorable plates, utensils, and teethers and is 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.

Example of Non-Toxic Plant-Based Dinnerware for Kids

2. Plant-Based Dinnerware

Pros: Who knew you could make non-toxic dinnerware sets from corn, sugar beets, and bamboo? Plant-based products are free of toxic chemicals, such as BPA and Phthalates. In addition to being made from natural materials, they use an environmentally-friendly manufacturing process, requiring 52% less energy to produce vs. traditional PET plastics.

Cons: Because they’re comprised of a combination of renewable plant materials – like corn, beets, and bamboo – it’s hard to guarantee the specific breakdown of elements in each item.

Our Favorites

  • We love Repurpose, a company also founded by a mom to keep kids and our earth healthy. Their kid’s dinnerware is soooooo cute and made entirely from plants. It’s free from BPAs, Phthalates, PVC, or PBDE and is safe to use in your dishwasher and microwave.

Vibrant Example of Stainless Steel Dinnerware
3. Stainless Steel Dinnerware

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

  • Ahimsa has sleek, stylish plates, and utensils made out of food-grade stainless steel.
  • Or check out this adorable divided plate in the shape of a bus from Innobaby – sure to delight any toddler!
  • To replace those ubiquitous plastic straw and sippy cups, try these super cute tumblers from Elk and Friends with silicone sleeves. Perfect for your cup-tossing munchkin!

Example of Non-Toxic Silicone Plates for Kids

4. Food-grade Silicone Dinnerware

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 handling, which makes it one of the best plates for toddlers.

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 clean, sanitize, and disinfect kids’ serveware with our toxin-free (and certified carbon neutral!) cleaner Force of Nature. It 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 backup 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.

Keeping Your Non-Toxic Dinnerware Clean – Without Toxic Cleaners!

No matter which safe dinnerware option you choose, don’t forget that you have a completely toxin-free cleaner and sanitizer to keep it clean – plus your highchair, tub, toys, counters, potties, and just about everything else – with our planet-friendly cleaner and EPA-registered disinfectant Force of Nature.

Force of Nature is a small appliance that uses electricity to convert tap water, plus a capsule of salt, water, and vinegar, into an all-in-1 cleaning, deodorizing, sanitizing, and disinfecting formula that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. We’re proud to be the only carbon-neutral certified EPA-registered disinfectant, and our system completely eliminates single-use plastic bottles. Plus our formula costs up to 80% less per ounce than the top brands.

We designed Force of Nature to be budget-friendly and accessible to everyone who wants to reduce plastic waste and the health risks associated with typical cleaning products. Check out the planet-friendly way to clean here.

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