When we recently moved to our new home, I realized that I hated the plastic dishes because they seemed to create more work for me. I never wanted to put them in the dishwasher, so they all had to hand-washed, and the plastic cups had a lip that would always remain full of water even in the drying rack, so they would never dry properly. So I decided to take the plunge and get rid of all the plastic dishes.
Reasons Why Glass is Better
- Health: Glass dishes are superior to plastic from a health standpoint. Plasticizers such as BPA are suspected to have damaging effects on brain, behavior, and prostate for fetuses, infants, and children. BPA is also a prime suspect in the rise of early puberty in girls, as BPA mimics estrogen in the body. Additionally, BPA has been linked to obesity. It is well-known that plasticizers such as BPA in plastic wrap and dishes can leach into foods, especially in the presence of heat. Studies have shown that most plastics labelled as BPA-free still leach plasticizers into food.
- Smell: One of the things that always bothered me about plastic dishes was their propensity to grab onto the smell of foods. I could wash a plastic dish over and over in hot soapy water, yet there would still be a residual smell. Glass dishes never have this problem.
- Cleaning Ease: Glass is so much easier to clean than plastic. If something is stuck on glass, I can use a scrubby pad, whereas with plastic I would worry about scratching up the surface. And I love that glass can be washed in the dishwasher with no issues.
Won't Glass Break Too Easily?glass baby bottles. Frequently, people would express concern that the glass bottles would break too easily. This was something I was concerned about too when we first started using bottles, but my fears were quickly alleviated by one experience: one of the glass baby bottles was accidentally knocked out of the dish drainer and fell down onto our ceramic tile floor; the bottle did not break or even crack. So I realized early on that some glass dishes are very strong and somewhat break-resistant.
Besides baby bottles, there are plenty of other break-resistant glass dishes as well. At the dinner table, I don't worry too much about using our typical glass plates and cups. Early on, we taught both of our kids to be gentle with glass dishes. But I do also have other break-resistant glass dishes that the kids use whenever they will be eating away from the table, such as when they want to take snacks out into the back yard.
What About Non-Spillable Drinks?For road trips or lengthy park days, my kids use stainless steel Thermos Funtainers, which have an integrated straw. These work great because they keep milk cold even in the summer heat.
Around the house, though, I don't let my kids use the Thermoses because I find them cumbersome to clean. The one type of plastic dish I was tempted to keep around was a plastic cup with tight-fitting lid. My kids used these cups frequently when they wanted to take a drink outside, and I liked not having to worry about them spilling their drinks. However, I have come up with a solution that works really well (although not perfectly spill-proof): glass mason jars with screw-on plastic lids. A 1/4-inch drill bit works perfectly for making a straw hole in the plastic lids.
Glass Dishes for KidsThe glass dishes I have found to be the best and most durable for kid-use are:
- Porcelain ramekins - My kids use porcelain ramekins every day for most meals, along with kid-sized Oneida silverware. Ramekins are perfectly sized for kid-size portions of food and, since they are intended for oven use, they are very durable and chip-resistant. My kids also use these bowls when they want to take a snack outside.
- Mason jars with drilled plastic lids and metal straws - When a cup with a lid is desired (such as for drinking smoothies or when my kids will be taking a drink outside), I like to use 8-ounce mason jars. Since they are intended for canning, mason jars are rather durable. For lids, I drill 1/4-inch holes in plastic lids (and the drinks won't really be touching the lids anyway unless the cup gets tipped over). Since my kids like to use straws, we have a set of reuseable dishwasher-safe metal straws that fit into the drilled holes in the lids. If you prefer to buy a lid instead of drilling your own, there is also a Cuppow lid that can be used with Mason jars.
- Pampered Chef or Corelle dishes - Having some break-resistant dishes on-hand can really help ease the worries over whether the kids will break the dishes. We have some Pampered Chef Simple Additions plates and bowls that are very durable and chip-resistant. Corelle also makes lightweight, chip- and break-resistant glass dishes that are great for kids.
- Glass baby bottles - For babies, glass baby bottles work wonderfully. I pumped milk directly into these bottles and stored them in the freezer as well. We used glass baby bottles for 15 months, and none of the bottles were ever broken or cracked.
- Glass sippy cups - Once they were toddlers, my kids used this glass sippy cup which includes a silicone sleeve to prevent breakage. Most often, we just used the lid from this which would fit onto any standard mason jar. A newer, more affordable solution is the Cuppow lid, although I haven't tried it myself.