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When I started transitioning my daughter from breastfeeding to solid food, I became uncomfortably aware of substances such as BPA in plastics that leach into our food.
While the FDA’s official stance is that BPA is safe, some scientists disagree.
From The Endocrine Society:
As of 2014, nearly 100 epidemiological studies had been published tying BPA to health problems including reproductive, behavioral and metabolic disorders, according to the Society and IPEN’s Introduction to EDCs. BPA disrupts the body’s endocrine system by mimicking the hormone estrogen, and chemical substitutes such as bisphenol S have a similar effect.
Due to public concern and a lack of studies on the long term impact of BPA on humans, many manufacturers have abandoned the use of the chemical in their packaging.
Baby bottles and sippy cups produced in the US are BPA free by law.
Unfortunately, BPA has often been replaced with other chemicals that present similar concerns. Because of this, looking for the “BPA Free” label is of limited use.
With this in mind, I went on a hunt for non-toxic products for our daughter as she moved into independent eating. What I found was stainless steel. High-quality stainless steel poses minimal risk of leaching, as well as being unbreakable, long lasting, and eco-friendly.
Do we ever use plastic products? Yup! We still have some plastic items we use for food service for our daughter. Some, such as cutlery and plates were given as gifts, and others were the best we could get at the time – we don’t always have the luxury of traveling to a specialty store or waiting on an Amazon delivery. We still have plenty of plastic stuff from that we’ve bought over the years too. We just do our best to swap out healthier and safer items over time and try not to stress too much about it in the interim.
Following are some of my favorite stainless steel finds.
Lunch Bots Stainless Steel Lunch Box
Lunch Bots are bento-style stainless steel containers with compartments that allow you to keep foods separate. The boxes come in various sizes, from snack to full meal.
They are made from food-grade stainless steel known as 304 Grade or 18/8. The numbers refer to the amount of chromium and nickel in the steel used; 18/8 means it contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel.
These containers are great for school snacks and lunches, and the medium size fits perfectly in a Medela breast pump cooler bag along with an ice pack (ask me how I know).
At two and a half years old or so, our daughter was able to remove the lids on her own by pressing the box against her chest with one hand and removing the lid with the other. We found that the lids with the colorful covers are more difficult to remove for little hands.
The only drawback to these boxes is that they are not designed to hold liquidy or wet foods. The compartments are not leak-proof, nor is the lid. If you do put wet foods in the compartments, not only do they leak but they can be hard to clean.
This is easily solved with the mini leakproof containers they offer, which fit inside the boxes. Silicone cupcake liners can also be used in the compartments with things like hummus as long as you keep the container upright.
Lifestyle Block Stainless Steel Divided Kids’ Lunch or Dinner Plate
For eating at home, I wanted something similar to the divided plastic plates I saw in stores. I found a few stainless steel options on Amazon.
The Lifestyle Block brand offers a few different sizes and shapes of plates, including an 11″ divided round plate that is close in size to a typical 10″ dinner plate. These plates would work just as well for adults and children, they’re dishwasher safe, and stackable.
One drawback to stainless steel plates is that they seem to hold onto heat more than other materials, which isn’t ideal when serving young children. We often run hot food under cool water to bring the temperature down before serving.
The other issue with stainless steel plates is they can’t be microwaved, so we have to reheat food in a separate container.
Despite these minor quibbles, these plates have been great and are in good shape after a year of use.
Stainless Steel Toddlers’ and Kids’ Cutlery Set
I love the idea of giving kids tools that are simply miniaturized versions of their adult counterparts.
Our daughter, like most kids, finds everything the grownups are using so much more attractive than the “kid’s” version. This definitely extended to our utensils, and she loved trying to scoop up her food with our gigantic forks and spoons.
It was funny to watch and she got really good at it, but she was even more excited to receive her own set of cutlery that looked just as legit as ours while being more comfortable for her to use.
This set from Montessori Services comes in both toddler and children’s sizes and are made from 18/10 stainless steel. It includes a spoon, fork, and knife and comes in a nice box. Our daughter’s utensils have held up really well over the past year, through normal everyday use and plenty of trips through the dishwasher.
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