Why I Stopped Using All Plastic Food Storage In My Home, Especially With My Son
So many things have changed since I was growing up, and while it's a lot to keep up with, I am glad that awareness is being frequently being readily made available to allow us to make more educated and conscious choices in our way of living. With that said, recently one of the biggest projects I've taken on in my home is riding it of all plastic food storage, serveware, and other items that involve any foods and plastic as a whole. A tedious task to say the least but one that became priority on my to-do list! How come you ask? Well, the honest answer is pretty gross and mind-boggling at the same time.
It's been discovered by way of recent studies that there is a nasty link between plastic and the disruption and manipulation of hormones in bodies, especially female. Even all of those plastic bottles, sippy-cups, bowls, etc that all wear their "BPA-Free" stickers proudly, which appear to be going in the right direction; are being called into question since they all pretty much use BPA substitutes which are no better and indeed still contain hormone disruptors. As research continues to surface, it continues to show the dangers of pretty much ALL plastic food and drink containers and the push to avoid them whenever possible. With links to affected brain development, cancer, altered development, and more; there are just way too many reasons not to make the switch. And, we did.
As an alternate to the common plastic Tupperware, we've transformed our storage solutions at home to include silicone, glass and stainless steel. All of this is being done with the goal in mind for a safer way for us to all store and consume our foods.
Below is a list of my favorite alternatives for food storage and feeding-time for @LittleMrGray that voids nearly all interaction with plastic. These are all great and safe alternatives for you, your family, and most importantly, baby.
My Pick for the Best Baby Bottle: Pura Stainless Steel Bottle
Pura Stainless Steel Bottles, $15-30 @ Amazon - These are literally the absolute best and safest investment bottles on the entire market for your baby. While I'm a natural fan of glass bottles, you will still find that most companies in production of glass bottles will often still include some sort of plastic component - whether it is in the lid, the neck, or other parts; there always seems to be a way to sneak it in. Additionally, glass bottles present a threat once babies become mobile and can walk around with items in hand. Pura however, creates amazing stainless steel bottles that are 100% free of ALL plastic, in 5-ounces, 9-ounces and 11-ounces that are designed to be your child's lifetime bottle throughout their different drinking stages. I obsess with these bottles and their investment because you can begin with something small such as the the 5-ounce bottle and their standard bottle nipple, and transition later on to a larger insulated 9-ounce or non-insulated 11-ounce. Once you are ready to begin sippy-cup training which we are doing now at 6-months, you can easily swap from nipple to sippy-spout and back if need be. To continue the transition of drinking maturity, Pura has now introduced their straw insert, and also has an awesome snack cap, and sports lid for older kids, and yes - even adults! All caps and nipples, covers and accessories are made from 100% medical grade silicone, and Pura stands behind their product so proudly that it offers a lifetime warranty. To add to their merit Pura bottles are the only plastic-free cup that is Notoxic Certified by MadeSafe.org. Read more about Pura's innovative technology here.
Picks For Glass & Silicone
Now that @LittleMrGray consumes solids, we prep and store his food either glass or silicone, only. Same applies for our very own food items as well.
For pureed foods, we love using the BabyBliss Eco Friendly Silicone Baby Food Storage Trays, $9.99 @ Amazon, which come with nine 2.5-ounce compartments for storing. These are so easy to use and so easy to clean. We'll usually prep Gray's food, and fill the molds. Once we are ready for a portion, we simply 'pop' out a mold, and set it aside to thaw.
To have another option and safely be able to store something that I may need to take on the go, I prefer to use Glass Baby Food Storage Containers by Jervis & George, $17.99-$36.99 @ Amazon. The lids are plastic but are 100% BPA, lead, phthalate and PVC free; the best feature however is that they are lined at the seal with 100% silicone. What's great about this is that they come in four and eight ounce options and are freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe.
Silicone works great for transport as well and Stasher makes these awesome silicone bags - $11-23 @ Amazon, which are perfect to transport foods and are completely reusable.. They are self-sealing, air tight and keep food amazingly fresh. I also love that they are safe for the freezer, microwave, dishwasher and boiling water and they contain no petroleum, PVC or latex unlike plastic zip bags.
For other glass and silicone storage at home, I love to use Frego BPA-Free Glass Food Storage Containers - $20 @ Amazon, which are glass bowls nestled in a food-grade silicone sleeve or the Lifefactory Glass Food Storage Containers - $15-20 @ Amazon, which are also amazing and are oven, microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe.
We also keep Kuuk Collapsible Silicone Food Containers - $11 @ Amazon, which are awesome because they are space saving allowing for pantry room when not in use! For snacking on the go, these Silicone Toddler Bowls with Lids from mini-twist - $12.99 @ Amazon, are also a staple for us.
In keeping up with Grayson's new expanding palette, the need to cater to his ever-changing menu safely, including looking into safe dining options. Currently, since he's still a baby I only use silicone items to feed his solids. For plating, we are big fans of Ezpz Happy Mats - $24.99 @ Amazon, which are amazing silicone dining mats, that come with built-in children's divider plates, and some even with bowls! These are great because not only do they come in an array of fun colors, shapes and characters, but they have an amazing suction whether placing on a table surface or a high chair. The best part is that they are soooo easy to clean, lightweight and super portable too!
For utensil use, it was really important to me to find a safe training spoon that was free of toxins. Unfortunately, there are so many crappy plastic baby utensils on the market that it's honestly depressing. When you think of it, all of those "cutesy" training spoons filled with graphics, cartoon characters, and vibrant colors; are often bad plastics loaded with toxic paints that your baby is literally eating. Stainless steel is always best but Grayson is still too young to use them. Bamboo utensils have become a popular option amongst many, but they require fine motor skills to be able to grab for self-feeding babies (a skill usually mastered closer to toddler age). This is why I shifted my search efforts towards silicone spoons. Currently, there are many popular silicone spoons on the market that parents seem to like such as those from Beaba, but like with the glass bottle problem discussed above, the majority of these silicone spoons either include some form of plastic or toxic dyes. So, when I finally found my newest baby-friendly utensil obsession, the OlaSprout Bendable Baby Training Spoon - $14.95 for 2-pack @ Amazon, it became a thrilling relief! The spoon is made entirely of medical grade silicone and has an amazing ergonomic handle that makes it easy for Grayson to grab and promotes self-feeding, making it an all-around WIN for our baby led weaning initiatives! The spoon also dubs as a teether which is perfect for when we are on the go and Grayson needs something safe and non-toxic to chomp on. Not only does it create comfort for Grayson to have this as a teether but it also has made his self-feeding skills much more confident and comfortable making the entire mealtime experience pleasing for both of us!
Picks For Stainless Steel
When done right - stainless steel is amazing. Aside from it being practically indestructible, it is probably one of the safest materials to offer to your family. Steel provides insulating properties - allowing foods and fluids to retain their cold or hot temperatures longer, and many options are designed to provide extra thermos-style insulation; it is a metal that is extremely easy to clean and maintain sanitary.
There had been some concern at some point regarding insulated stainless steel bottles in specific and the threatening presence of lead. It was brought up that these bottles, which often contain a soldering point at the bottom welding together the steel and insulation components, contained amounts of lead that were transferring lead into the bottles and hands of children using them. After these concerns were issued, manufactures began correcting the dangerous design flaw with a simple fix that includes covering and sealing the concerning area with materials such as steel and silicone. Since then companies have addressed the issue with redesigns of their bottles to prevent any contamination into the bottles or onto anyone's hands. Again, this is a concern that affects insulated stainless steel bottles only, so to ensure that your bottle is safe simply look at the bottom of the bottle on the inside and outside and ensure that this infamous dot is not visible or accessible in any way. If it is visible, then toss the bottle and contact the manufacturer right away. Pura bottles have completely redesigned their bottles to eliminate this concern by completely sealing off the dot with stainless steel. Should you come across a Pura stainless steel bottle that reveals otherwise then it is a much older model (pre-2015).
Bottles aside however, there are some great stainless steel storage options that I love to use at home now, and plan to incorporate with @LittleMrGray as he gets older. See the rundown below:
ECOLunchbox is one of my favorite anti-plastic-initiative companies which produce amazing stainless steel products for a more sustainable home. Their Three-In-One Stainless Steel Food Container Set - $36 @ Amazon, is an amazing bento-box type of all stainless lunchbox that is awesome for transporting; they also have a larger size one for $45. I love their Blue Water Bento Nesting Food Storage Containers - $29.99 @ Amazon, which are stainless steel with a silicone lid; and their Divided Stainless Steel kid's trays - $ 18.95 @ Amazon, are also a great option to consider for your tot. Checkout all of their different items on Amazon!
Innobaby makes a fun stainless steel divider plate - $17.95 @ Amazon, however, I would only get the option without the lid, as the lid on the version that includes it is made of plastic.
For another great leak-free stainless steel and silicone storage solution that I love are the Leak Proof Bento Box Sets from Easy Togo - $16.61 for a set of three @ Amazon. The containers that come in the set are nesting and the seals are super secure making it great to have around baby without the worry of them accidentally opening!
Finally, these all Stainless Steel Bowls with Lids from Happy Tiffin that come in a set of 5 - $89.95 @ Amazon, are well worth the investment! I use them to store so many different things and they are leak proof and both refrigerator and freezer safe! They are seriously amazing, and some of my favorite bowls!
Storage options aside, I love and plan to incorporate the use of all stainless steel plates, utensils, cups, and straws with @LittleMrGray. In addition to the two divider plates noted above; I love plates ($39.99 for 4-pack @ Amazon), bowls ($36.99 for 4-pack @ Amazon) and cups ($32.99 for 4-pack @ Amazon) from Caveman Cups. The irony about this is that I grew up in a household where we only used stainless steel cups, long before all of these hazards were brought to light! It's actually a very common thing to use stainless steel cups and bamboo dinnerwear in my family's country of the Dominican Republic, and it's often a habitual tradition that carries through generations!
To wrap this up, I'd like to close out by saying that yes - making the switch to rid your house of harmful plastic is a costly one; and no - I'm not suggesting that you immediately shell out $1000 to buy everything in this post, but these are the items, that after careful research I have found work for me and my home. I set out to ease my concerns of harmful interaction with plastics and therefor this all became an investment. Some may not see the big deal with plastic but the research and evidence is there, so why ignore it? I feel that if the objective at hand is the safety of our children, and yes - the safety of ourselves too; then it's vital that we address the culprits that are damaging to us - one by one. Something such as interaction with plastic is one that we deal with every day, so why not take the steps necessary towards eliminating the contact as much as possible, if not completely all together? Prior to being a parent while I had awareness of certain issues, I wasn't as tapped into them as I am now. Not only am I trying to do m family a favour, but I am most definitely striving to present my son with only the best wherever and however. Eliminating our contact with dangerous toxins as much as possible while I have the power to, is no different.
If you have a question on these items or any other alternatives, feel free to leave a comment!