Have you ever seen those cheap plastic plates for children at the dollar store or a party store and thought your children might like them? Maybe you’ve even been tempted to actually purchase them because your child’s favorite cartoon character is on them. Don’t do it. The only thing good about those plates is the way they look. They will leach harmful chemicals into your child’s food. Plus, over time, the surface of the plates starts to peel—I can’t imagine the plastics peeling from those dishes is good for your children, especially if it gets mixed in with their food. Understandably, many parents choose to serve their children food and drinks in plastic, because they fear breakage. There are other options, though.
Use What Everyone Else in the Family Uses—What dishes does the rest of your family eat off of? My cupboards are fully stocked with Corelle dishes. Normally I would be hesitant to let my children use glass to eat off of because of the (high) potential for breakage. Corelle dishes are relatively break-resistant—I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve dropped mine on my tile floors to find them free of chips. The process involved in making Corelle dinnerware basically combines two layers of glass making them stronger. It gives you the safety benefits of glass without the drawbacks. They come in a variety of patterns (or plain) which are resistant to fading and chipping, so you won’t have any mystery patterns showing up in your child’s food. For me, one of the biggest benefits of Corelle is that you are not buying special dishes for your children, so they don’t have a shelf-life.
Bamboo Dishes—bambu KIDS offers a full line of products for children. As the name suggests, the dishes and utensils are made from bamboo. The products from this company are also free from dyes and chemicals. bambu’s product line is not limited to children’s dishes and utensils, but includes an array of items for the whole family, as well as tools for mom (or dad) while preparing meals in the kitchen.
Stainless Steel Dishes—Untangled Living’s ANYWare collection is a great stainless steel dinner set for children. Since they are made from stainless steel, the set does not contain the harmful chemicals like phthalates, PVC, BPA, lead or other harmful toxins. While somewhat pricey at $44 for a set (which includes a bowl, plate, cup, fork and spoon), it does come with a lifetime guarantee. You will be able to use it with more than one child and when you’re done using it, you can always pass it along to a friend or relative.
Not Your Everyday Plastic— Since many plastics are known to be less than ideal due to safety concerns, I wanted to find a plastic plate that meets all of a mom’s needs. Smiling Planet offers a line of plates and bowls that are made from 100% recycled, 100% recyclable, medical-grade, high purity, #5 polypropylene. The products are CPSIA-compliant, use non-toxic inks, and are free of BPA, phthalates, PVC, and lead. In addition, Smiling Planet plates and bowls are dishwasher safe.
Whichever dishes you choose to use for your children, remember to pass them along once your children have outgrown them. Maybe you have a friend with young children who could benefit from your eco-savvy. You could also donate them when you no longer need them, but whatever you do, try not to let your children’s dishes find their way to the trash. These dishes can last a very long time and can benefit a number of children.