Creating a healthier and more sustainable home is something that takes time, and I very much subscribe to the “one step at a time” approach. After all, it can be overwhelming — not to mention a financial investment, in some cases — to make those changes.
At our house, the most recent change for us has been moving away from using paper napkins in favor of cloth napkins. This was something I’d wanted to do for a while, and we even had several cloth napkins already, so the financial piece wasn’t even at play. That switch was more of a habit change for the whole family than anything else, but we committed to making the adjustment and now we’re there! (We are also using far more dish towels instead of paper towels around the kitchen and while cleaning.) I’m proud of our progress!
Another update I want to make in our home is to Maggie’s dinnerware: her bowls, plates, and cups. Many of the standard toddler plates, bowls, and cups are made of either plastic or melamine, neither of which are all that safe. Both can leech out of the dinnerware and into the food or drink (especially when heated, like in the microwave or cleaned in the dishwasher). Melamine can cause kidney and bladder issues, and plastics contain substances like phthalates, Biphenyl A, and dioxin which can cause hormone disruption, low sperm count, cancer, and more. (I found this recent New York Times article about how plastic exposure can lead to premature births an interesting read. This Time article about how plastic and microwaves do NOT play nice is worth a skim, too.)
So anyway…I like the idea of avoiding plastic and melamine as much as we can. (If we have a second child, I’ll definitely want to get glass bottles. We used plastic last time.)
If you do have plastic and melamine dinnerware, the best thing to do to keep it as safe as possible is to avoid putting them in the microwave and to wash them by hand. For us, though, it’s SO much easier if we have dinnerware that’s flexible enough to be used in the microwave and dishwasher. Let’s just be real.
With that in mind, popular safer dinnerware options like stainless steel or wood, aren’t the best fit for us since they don’t meet the above criteria. (Wood can’t be put in the microwave or dishwasher, and stainless steel can’t be microwaved.) We have a few small silicone bowls (that’s a good, safe options as well), but often silicone is so jiggly, and I’d like something more stable for her (or something that has a silicone component but is more firm overall).
Maggie’s doing really well with her “real” plates, bowls, and cups — the Peter Rabbit Wedgewood china sets (similar to this one) I had when I was little — and so I think we could go the route of getting her a few more pieces of kid-sized china (although those are surprisingly hard to find, in my experience!). I like the idea of her having her own dinnerware because she has her own drawer in the kitchen for all her things and it’s helping her develop independence to be able to set the table for herself and help unload the dishwasher, so I want to keep that system intact.
Based on what I’m looking for and options I found, here are my top choices for us to consider when it comes to safer dinnerware for our Maggie-girl:
- Duralex Picardie Kids’ Glassware: This tempered glass set is a great price ($30 for four plates, four bowls, and four glasses), and I love its simple look. For Maggie, who’s good about being careful with her plates, bowls, and cups (she never went through a throwing plates on the floor phase, thank goodness, or even a throwing food on the floor phase), these would be a good fit. Bonus: Adult-looking things sized down to kid-appropriate sizes are always adorable. It’s a fact. 🙂
- Brinware Tempered Glass Plates: I think these are so adorable! They’re tempered glass, but then placed into silicone shells to make them more kid friendly AND to make the cute designs on the plates really pop. For me, the biggest downside for this brand is that the only option for their bowls is to include a suction cup at the bottom of the bowl. We don’t need that element, and I wish they had a bowl version that didn’t include it.
- bobo&boo Bamboo Dinnerware: This might be my favorite option of all. These bamboo plates are both safe and dishwasher/microwave safe, and to me they’re the perfect combination of being fun and kid-like (bright colors) but still not too busy, as SO many kids’ products can be from a design standpoint. I ALSO love that they have options for matching plates, bowls, and cups. (The type A in me is so grateful for this!)
If you’re hunting for safer toddler dinnerware options, too, I hope these are helpful for you! (I’d also love to hear favorite safer options you’ve found if you have any to share.)