If you’re looking to make healthier changes in the kitchen this year, these easy swaps will help you maintain a toxic free kitchen with safer cookware and bakeware options.
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Aside from trying to make more of our food from scratch, another one of my 2024 goals is to make our kitchen as toxic free as possible. Depending on cookware materials and cooking temperature, chemicals can leak into the foods we eat. So I’ve been going through our pots, pans, utensils, bakeware, and the like and swapping things out for better, safer choices.
After doing some research, I learned that the best materials to cook with are cast iron and stainless steel. Thankfully, we already had quite a collection of stainless steel and cast iron pots and pans. I just never took advantage of them because nonstick cookware was so convenient. Turns out, the good stuff wasn’t so scary to cook with after all!
Easy Swaps for a Toxic Free Kitchen
Now, nonstick cookware is now a thing of the past in our kitchen. And little-by-little, I’m swapping out all of our plastic utensils and storage containers, as well. If you’re looking to make healthier changes in the kitchen this year, here are a few easy places to start!
Pots and Pans
The safest types of pots and pans to cook with are stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and cast iron. Cast iron is affordable and will last you for years to come when taken care of properly. Cast iron will hold heat and doesn’t need to be cooked at a high temperature. It’s also oven-safe (think Dutch ovens).
For cooking things like eggs, fish, and other foods I’d generally cook in non-stick cookware, I use stainless steel. The secret to getting that nonstick type of surface is preheating your pan and using enough oil or butter.
Stainless steel cookware is a bit of an investment, but worth the cost, in my opinion.
Plastic cutting boards are super convenient and easy to wash, but oh-so-bad for us (not to mention the environment). So I did a bunch of research on cutting boards. We have a few wood ones, but I don’t like to use them for anything other than bread.
I discovered rice fiber cutting boards. From what I’ve read, they’re reasonably new on the market. But they are a solid and sturdy alternative to plastic. Rice fiber is eco-friendly, durable, and safe.
You can also find wheat straw cutting boards, another eco-friendly alternative.
Do yourself a favor and chuck those plastic utensils. They can’t tolerate high heat. You might even notice warping on plastic spatulas and wear on plastic spoons.
This is an area of our kitchen that I still need to go through and make swaps. I’ve started, but I have so many baking pans. Instead of using nonstick loaf pans, cake pans, and baking sheets, use stainless steel, ceramic, and cast iron baking pans (just do research on the glazes companies use).
By now, you probably know that heating plastic containers in the microwave isn’t the healthiest. Instead, invest in glass storage container sets.
Believe it or not, a good place to find glass storage container sets is the grocery store! Check the weekly flyer and in store sales for savings. I found a $10 set of glass storage containers not too long ago on sale at my grocery store.
How to Dispose of Old Cookware
Once you’ve invested in better cookware, bakeware, cutting boards, and cooking utensils, decide how to dispose of the old stuff. If it’s chipped and scratched, it’s probably better in the trash. Check your local recycling department for options.
But old cookware that’s still in good condition can be donated. Find a local organization (I use GreenDrop) that will pick up or bring it to a thrift store. You could also list it on Facebook Marketplace.
It might not be the safest option to cook with, but it might be the most affordable option at the moment for someone else.