What we feed our kids impacts their health. But did you know what we feed our kids in, on and out does too? This is your guide for the best Non-Toxic Kids Dinnerware and Drinkware: Cups, Bowls and Plates for babies, toddlers and kids.
Here’s the thing: we can feed our kids the best organic and healthy food options as we can manage but if they’re consuming it from chemical-ridden dinnerware and cups then that organic applesauce isn’t as chemical-free as you may think. Keep reading to find out which materials to avoid heating or all together, and my top mom-tested picks for all categories.
What materials to avoid or not heat in kids dinnerware?
- Plastics: If you plan to serve warm food or heat your child’s food in the microwave, avoid plastics which leach chemicals like BPAs into your child’s food. BPAs absorbed from their dinnerware will end up in their bloodstream. What’s the problem with BPA? It’s linked to reproductive harm, cancer, behavior issues, and obesity in children. You want to avoid heating melamine as well, but it is in small amounts in the bamboo products below and generally considered safe when not heated. Be cautious of “BPA-free” products that may contain other bisphenol compounds not labeled.
- Teflon and non-stick products: Any cookware or dinnerware called “non-stick” almost always has harmful materials like Teflon in them. Teflon is a suspected carcinogen especially when contaminated with PFOA and PTFEs. These chemicals have since been mostly banned or present in only small amounts in new products, but if you have any hand-me-downs from grandma or shop at thrift stores, beware.
- Paints and colorants: Cute painted or printed plates may contain undesirable levels of heavy metals like lead which can leach into your child’s food. Lead can also be absorbed by handling the plates.
- Old ceramics: your grandmother’s dishes may contain toxic levels of heavy metals due to the clay and colorants used. Keep these on display and avoid serving food out of them on a frequent basis.
Should I microwave my kids’ food?
Ideally we are reheating our children’s food in safe cookware such as cast iron, stainless steel or safe non-stick (like Greenpan) using heat-stable fats like butter, coconut oil, tallow and even olive oil at lower heats. If you must microwave your children’s food, do so on a ceramic or glass plate that meets the above safety standards. Once heated and slightly cooled, transfer to a safer dinnerware option below.
It’s so easy to reach for the microwave to reheat leftovers, but I promise you it’s nearly as easy to reheat on the stove. Plus. food always tastes better reheated on the stove than in the microwave!
What are the best non-toxic dinnerware and plates for toddlers?
- Silikong Silicone Suction Divided Plates: we’ve had this one for over a year and it looks brand new. It holds up well in the dishwasher and it’s easy to clean since it’s flexible. Free of BPA, lead, and phthalates.
- Weesprout Silicone Divider Plates: these are quite a bit more affordable than the Silikong brand but not as thick and durable. Still made with food grade silicone though!
- Weesprout Bamboo Toddler Plates: bamboo dinnerware isn’t as durable as silicone. It is prone to cracking/splitting but I find these plates hold up well. These have a sleek Swedish style and don’t look like kids plates.
- Weesprout Bamboo Toddler Bowls: I put bamboo dinnerware in the “better” category. All bamboo has a melamine finish, so I don’t recommend putting bamboo dishware in the microwave ever. These also aren’t as durable as silicone or stainless steel – they will crack/split when dropped.
- Cutelery Stainless Steel Divider Plates: you can’t get more durable than stainless steel. These are similarly priced to the Silikong Suction Divided Plates but more stylish and stackable. They come in a set of two. I will warn you – stainless steel clanging on the ground is ear shattering. But we’ll take the hit for our kids’ safety, right?
What are the best non-toxic cups for kids?
Best Non-Toxic Straw Cup
- Cupkin Kids Cups: stainless steel straw cups with tightly fitted lids and straws. These are nearly spill-proof and come in cute colors! They are weighted with glass beads instead of lead which is such a smart move! They are third-party tested for no leads, no phthalates and no BPA. They come in an 8.5-ounce size perfect for milk, juice, coconut water and smoothies as well as a 12-oz size for water during outings. The straws are made from food-grade silicone. My girls love the pink & purple.
- Elk & Friends Glass & Silicone Cups: We love these glass mason jar style straw cups. They are wrapped in colorful and cute silicone sleeves for little hands. The straws are made from silicone instead of plastic, and they each come with tight-fitted lids to keep liquids in the fridge without spills.
Best Non-Toxic Open Mouth Cups
- Weesprout Bamboo Toddler Cups: use these for cold drinks only since they have a melamine finish
- Greens Steel Stainless Steel Cups: these are super sturdy food grade stainless steel stackable cups. They keep liquids cooler than bamboo cups. My second warning: the acoustics from a toddler throwing a stainless steel cup are something else, but they are a much safer option than using plastic every day. They are electropolished so they do not impart a metallic taste.
- Glass jars with rounded lips: I love my Culina yogurt glass jars. We reuse them as drinking cups for the kids when I can tell they’re regulated enough to not chuck a glass across the room. Am I ratting my kids out right now? Tell me your kids do this too. This is the most eco-friendly cup option! I also use these little glass jars for arts and crafts, paint, storing leftover canned coconut milk or jarred sauces or small amounts of leftover nuts and seeds.
Best Non-Toxic Water Bottles for Kids
- Yeti Rambler Jr 12 oz Kids Bottle with Straw: Both my girls use this as their primary water bottle. They are easy to clean and we haven’t had any mildew or growth issues common with other water bottles. They keep liquids cold and are double-walled (so heavier than most water bottles). The pop-up straw design isn’t the MOST hygienic but I prefer it to a flimsy plastic straw they’ll inevitably bite down. You literally cannot dent these! Maybe if your kid dropped it from a 5th story balcony? MAYBE.
- Contigo Stainless Steel: these are another great option for little hands with an easy pop-open straw lid. These get more banged up than the Yeti’s, fair warning.
What plates can I use with my baby?
Babies do not necessarily NEED to eat off plates if they are eating in a highchair with a tray. If you are practicing more of a Montessori style to introducing solids and not using a high chair, then a plate would be ideal. Children often enjoy divided plates. It helps them make sense of their food to separate out textures and colors. Divider plates make the eating experience less overwhelming for a child.
I love the ezpz brand silicone First Foods Set for ages 6-12 months who are self-feeding. It comes with silicone spoons, a silicone open-mouth cup (best for oral motor development), and a silicone bowl set in a placemat. For toddlers, choose one of the divider plate options above!
Is it okay for babies, toddlers and kids to drink out of plastic?
Because plastic chemicals can build up in our bloodstream over time, I do not recommend for any infant, toddler or child to drink out of plastics that may contain BPA, BPS or other bisphenol compounds. There are several safer options on the market including stainless steel, silicone and bamboo. A study shared by the Environmental Working Group shared that BPA was found in the bloodstream of 93% of people 6 years and older. In 2009, they also found that nine out of ten infants had BPA in their bloodstream already. Safer drinking cups for children come at a variety of price points, are better for the environment and better for our children’s health.