If you’re like me, or most of the people I know, you grew up with a kitchen full of plastic food storage, plastic spatulas, and flaky non-stick pans. Thankfully, people began questioning the safety of these products, especially as non-stick coatings started chipping away. Today we know much more about the dangers of Teflon and “cousin” chemical coatings, but many of us know less about how to effortlessly cook meals without the “convenience” of non-stick. Likewise, we now know to avoid BPA, but we still know very little about the long-term safety of it’s replacements. Here are a few of my favorite replacements and tips on how and why to choose them
One of the side effects of non-stick coatings was the rise of plastic cooking utensils. They were gentler on the coatings, making them less likely to chip them into your food. While wood and bamboo utensils are also options, plastics are cheaper and more widely available.
We now know about the dangers of plastics leaching chemicals, and I’m betting most of you can recall at least one melted utensil in an oven or sitting on the side of a pot. Making the switch from coated non-stick pans opens you up to better (toxin free), more sturdy utensils (that will look better in your kitchen anyhow!)
Personally, I have a healthy mix of bamboo, wood, and stainless steel utensils. Stainless offers better options (IMO) for things like spatulas, soup ladles, pasta forks, etc.
Both stainless steel and cast iron are great choices when looking for alternatives to coated non-stick pots and pans. Once you get use to it cast iron can be very much like non-stick when primed properly, and with a little practice you won’t need to worry about sticking in stainless either. To get you started, check out this tutorial for perfect eggs without Teflon!
Both stainless cookware and cast iron can be purchased affordably on big box websites, like Amazon, but my favorite method is to bargain shop for the perfect pieces at discount stores like Home Goods. You can get exactly what you’re looking for in great quality for far less than MSRP.
While not exactly cooking, if you’d like to remove the plastics from your coffee routine, either a french press or pour over coffee maker is a great option. Both come in glass and can be found affordably on Amazon or at discount department stores.
Finally, once you’ve taken the care to prepare a healthy meal in a healthy way you won’t want to place it in plastic storage that can leach toxins into your food. My favorite storage is glass. You can get it in a variety of sizes and at all price points. Some of my favorites are Pyrex or Anchor for large storage (like when I make enough chili for three families) and Wean Green storage cubes for when I have just enough left over for a person or two (these are great for lunches too!)