As the saying goes, "you are what you eat." But did you know you're also what your food is cooked and packaged in? Here are 11 healthy non-toxic cookware and kitchen item swaps that you can make right now to keep your meals healthy.
With the dangerous effects of certain commonly used chemicals in packaging, kitchen items, and even your cookware, it's now more important than ever to monitor the items you cook with just as closely as the ingredients themselves. In fact, CDC and EWG biomonitoring studies have shown that 9 in 10 Americans regularly have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies.
Here's the thing:
BPA has health risks. According to this study, "BPA has been shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of several endocrine disorders including female and male infertility, precocious puberty, hormone-dependent tumors such as breast and prostate cancer and several metabolic disorders including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)."
And what's worse is that many of the replacement chemicals for BPA may be just as dangerous to our long-term health.
Luckily, it's not all doom and gloom. With consumer awareness on the rise, there are more options available than ever before to choose healthy non-toxic alternatives that keep our kitchens (and our family) safe! It's really as easy as knowing which materials are best. For example, switching your plastic containers to glass.
Here are 11 healthy non-toxic cookware and kitchen item swap ideas for your not-so-safe everyday kitchen staples. You can easily start making these changes now! Some are quick and easy swaps you can make today and others can be upgraded as you replace or add new kitchen items.
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Choosing Healthy Non-toxic Cookware
Unfortunately, not all cookware materials are created equally. Non-stick materials (such as Teflon) are a dangerous choice for your kitchen because C8/PFOA chemicals have been linked to various cancers and birth defects.
Thankfully, there are some easy swaps for your clean kitchen. Choosing healthy non-toxic cookware is the first step in creating a safer kitchen and healthier meals for your family.
1. Ditch Your Non-Stick Cookware for Cast Iron, Uncoated Stainless Steel or Non-Toxic Ceramic Pans
One safe swap for your non-stick pans is cast iron. Not only is cast iron incredibly durable, but it actually gets better the more it's used! This cast iron 5 piece cookware set has all your bases covered – skillets, griddles, and even a dutch oven. I particularly like cast iron because they can go from the stove top to oven baking without any need to swap dishes. Very handy (it cuts down on the number of dishes needing to be washed)!
Uncoated stainless steel pans are a great choice if you're looking for chef-quality and an even heat spread across your cooking surface. This Cuisinart stainless steel cookware set includes all the pots and pans you could need in your kitchen. I particularly like the measurement markings – this makes cooking so easy!
This non-toxic ceramic cookware brand Xtrema also comes highly recommended. While most ceramics are not as health-friendly as you may think, Xtrema guarantees that their products are 100% ceramic. This means that there's no need to worry about cadmium, lead, PFOA, PTFE, glues, polymers, coatings or dyes. (I'm planning on ordering this one when I replace my anodized aluminum skillet.)
2. Trade In Your Non-Stick Baking Pans for Stainless Steel Sheet Pans or Glass Dishes
These stainless steel baking sheets are free of any toxic chemical coating. I like that they're rust resistant and very durable. Perfect for everyday use! And this set of two stainless steel cookie sheets can certainly be used beyond your favorite cookie recipes – they're great for roasting veggies and baking kale chips!
Simple glass baking dishes are a great swap for their non-stick baking dish counterparts. This Pyrex pack of dishes is all you really need to tackle the casseroles and baked dishes you're whipping up in your kitchen. They're even safe for the fridge, freezer, and dishwasher!
The Best Food Storage Containers for Your Kitchen
Simply put, you should avoid any food storage containers that run the risk of containing BPA or similar replacement chemicals. Particularly containers that you plan on moving from a fridge to the microwave.
Heating certain containers can even cause chemical leaching in your food. I'm sure you didn't order a side-serving of chemicals with your soup, right?
My solution? Replacing any plastics with durable BPA-free glass food storage containers. Here's how I'm using my glass containers to store my dry and fresh ingredients, as well as leftovers for lunch.
3. Use Glass Containers for Pantry & Fridge Food Storage
These nesting round glass containers are a great set to choose if your plan is to gradually replace your storage containers over time. The varying sizes are great for everything from single-serving lunches to storing a variety of other ingredients or leftovers. The large one even fits in your Instant Pot for pot-in-pot (PIP) recipes!
These mason jars are a staple of any healthy kitchen. They're BPA-free and dishwasher safe – perfect for storing a variety of ingredients. While these mason jar sets are particularly great for dry ingredients, I also like to use them to store liquids. They're a great choice for keeping bone broth on hand in the fridge and equally handy for packing a healthy smoothie to take with you as you fly out the door in the morning.
While these locking glass jars are great for canning, I like to use them for storing coconut and almond flour, nuts or even some of my spice mixes. Not only does this set of reusable glass jars look great in my pantry, but they make it easy to see your ingredients and the seal on them is quite tight. There are no worries of moisture creeping into my flours!
4. Pack Glass Containers In Your Lunch (Perfect for Meal Prepping Like a Pro!)
These 2-cup containers are the perfect size to take to work for lunch. Made out of pyrex glass with BPA-free lids, these base dishes are safe to use in the oven, microwave, fridge or freezer. I have eight of these round pyrex containers and use them to freeze single servings of soup, chili, as well as any other leftovers for quick and easy on-the-go meals.
If you're short on fridge space, these square containers take up less room in the fridge or freezer. And the colored lids make them really easy to sort if you happen to be one of those people that loves a meticulously organized kitchen (organizers unite!). With a base made out of durable borosilicate and leakproof BPA-free lids, these square glass lunch containers are a great addition to your healthy kitchen cookware.
Likewise, these divided containers are a perfect choice for meal prepping lunches in advance. These glass food storage containers are also made from borosilicate glass. This makes them shatter-resistant in extreme temperature changes. These divided glass containers are perfect for portion control and I love that the silicone seal keeps foods separate (even liquids like soup!).
Healthy Alternatives to Plastic Straws, Bottles, Bags, Wrap & More
Finding alternatives to your plastic products isn't just for your health, it's also about the health of our planet. Close to 40% of plastic produced is used for packaging (think items like plastic bags and plastic wrap). Worse still, if we continue on this path without changes to our consumption and waste management practices, there could be as much as 12 billion tonnes of plastic litter floating around our landfills by 2050. Not to mention our parks, oceans, and streets.
It's time to end that throwaway life and choose healthy non-toxic cookware made from sustainable materials. Here are some BPA-free swaps that will help you limit your single-use plastic consumption.
5. Use Glass or Stainless Steel Straws Instead of Plastic
Making this kitchen item swap not only limits your contact with harmful chemicals, but it also makes a positive impact on the consumption of this common single-use plastic. It might seem like just one small item, but National Geographic states that "in just the U.S. alone, one estimate suggests 500 million straws are used every single day."
Whether you choose glass straws or stainless steel straws, this swap can follow you on the go too! Both of these sets give you enough straws to keep one at home and one at the office. And these reusable straw sets include at least one cleaning brush (the glass straw set includes two!).
6. Swap Your Plastic Water Bottle for Glass or Stainless Steel
You've probably also seen the staggering statistics when it comes to single-use plastic water bottles. Switching to a glass or insulated stainless steel water bottle is not only a safer choice for your health, but it's also a more eco-friendly choice for our planet.
While the insulated stainless steel bottle is dishwasher safe, this glass Contigo water bottle is top rack friendly for your dishwasher. And this product swap will have you feeling great about staying hydrated. I never leave home without my reusable water bottle!
7. Use Bamboo Utensils, Take-Along Cutlery and Cutting Boards Instead of Plastic
These items are easily replaced with healthier sustainable alternatives. I like bamboo for these products because it's a naturally renewable material that requires relatively little resources during the manufacturing process.
I particularly like these simple bamboo cooking utensils because they're gentle on my cookware. I don't need to worry about damaging my cookware surfaces. I also like using these stainless steel spoons for serving up soups and sauces.
This take-along cutlery set (with a carrying case made of recycled plastic bottles!) is perfect for packed lunches and camping trips. What an easy and convenient plastic cutlery alternative!
Finally, try using bamboo cutting boards instead of regular plastic cutting boards. Not only is this a safer option for preparing your ingredients, but it also looks beautiful on your countertop!
8. Replace Zip-Top Plastic Bags With Silicone Storage Bags
These silicone food storage bags give you all of the versatility and convenience of a zip-top bag, without the worries of chemical leaching and the environmental impact of single-use plastics. The Stasher food bags are completely free of BPA, PVC, and latex!
These self-sealing food baggies are actually so much more versatile than zip-top bags. They're a no-brainer for snacks and sandwiches, but they're also dishwasher and boiling-water safe. Perfect for marinading or sous vide!
9. Start Using Beeswax Wraps Instead of Plastic Wrap
Not only are these beeswax wraps safer than traditional kitchen plastic wrap, they actually work better for storing food too! It's perfect for safely storing your fruits and veggies.
And made with 100% eco-friendly materials, these Bee's Wrap food wraps are washable, reusable and even compostable. Safer for you (and the environment) throughout its entire product lifecycle!
Other Healthy Eco-Friendly Kitchen Products
Here are a few more little kitchen products (beyond the rest of your healthy non-toxic cookware) that can make a big impact on your health.
10. Choose Non-Toxic Dishwashing Products
Dish soap and dishwasher soap is an often-overlooked product that touches all of the surfaces we eat off of, so it's critical that the soaps we use are free of fragrances and harmful chemicals. I love that these biodegradable dishwashing products are as gentle on you as they are on the environment. They're non-toxic, chlorine-free, and cruelty-free. But they both work hard on tough cooked-on foods.
11. Skip Disposable Coffee Cups (BYO Travel Coffee Cup Instead!)
Stainless steel travel coffee cups aren't just a great choice for your health, they're also an excellent choice for the environment and your budget! I like this particular YETI model because it fits most cup holders, is BPA-free, dishwasher safe and the double-wall design ensures that your hands always stay comfortable and dry.
Of course, keeping a clean and healthy kitchen doesn't end with our cookware and utensils. It also extends to the ingredients in our pantry and fridge! It's just as important to replace most of your pre-packaged foods with fresh, frozen or dried foods stored in safe food containers.
Here are a few resources to help you plan for healthier grocery shopping trips: