Mealtime Essentials for Toddlers: Where to Start
It’s about that time: You’re realizing that you’re frequently taking food on the go for your kiddo. Whether it’s for a simple car ride, daycare, a beach day, or to Grandma’s house, you better not leave home without some snacks! Children can be picky, which means you want to pack the sure things, and Ziplock bags don’t always cut it. It’s time for some mealtime essentials—but where do you start? We’re here to help! Keep reading for some important things to understand about mealtime essentials, as well as some of our award-winning picks
Plastic, vinyl, silicone, stainless steel—There are endless types of materials being used for food on the go, and it can be hard to decide which one might be right for you. Here is what to avoid, and what to reach for:
- Avoid plastics. There is a laundry list of chemicals that are used to make plastics, such as BPA, phthalates, PVC, and lead. And, these can be especially dangerous when used for handling food. The toxins can seep into the food and, when ingested, can cause certain health problems. In an article by the New York Times, the Centers for Disease Control has detected BPA in the urine of a majority of the thousands of people it has tested in the United States. In addition, scientists can detect toxic chemicals in remarkably small concentrations in the environment and in foods, and even in umbilical cord blood.
- Silicone is naturally toxin-free and safe. Silicone is lab-made with only four natural ingredients: Silicon, Oxygen, Carbon, and Hydrogen—none of which are toxic. In its final form, it is considered “chemically stable”, which means it does not corrode, crack, shrink, or absorb. It won’t break and colors and smells won’t absorb into it—all of which happen to plastic lunchboxes.
- Stainless Steel is one of the safest kitchen materials. Food-grade stainless steel is one of the safest things you can have in your kitchen. It does not emit toxins and does not absorb, similar to silicone. In addition, stainless steel is extremely durable and does not corrode, which means you’ll have shining dining tools for years to come.
Must-Haves: Ease of Use and Spillproof
Aside from your mealtime essentials being made of safe materials for your children, you’ll also want to make sure it's easy to use (for both you and your toddler), as well as completely spillproof. There is nothing worse than opening up your diaper bag and getting hit with a spaghetti sauce surprise!
- Ease of use: You will want to make sure your lunch boxes are easy to open and close, your cups and bowls are easy to hold, the utensils are made for little hands, and everything is super easy to clean. Plastics can absorb colors and smells, but silicone and stainless steel are famously easy to clean and sterilize. You can even use silicone in the oven or freezer, and stainless steel can keep food warmer (or cooler) for longer.
- Spillproof: You’ll want to make sure that your mealtime essentials have a tightly-sealed lid that keeps everything in its place—including utensils. Plastic lunch boxes tend to have a rubber gasket to do this job, however, they easily become moldy and tough to clean. Silicone and stainless steel can get a good, tightly-sealed fit without the need for that gross rubber gasket.
Finding mealtime essentials that are made of safe materials, are easy to use, and are completely spillproof might seem like finding a needle in a haystack, but we have rounded up our top three favorites:
Everything you need for a fun and safe mealtime is right here with the Innobaby Din Din SMART Mealtime Value Set! Your little one will love that they have their very own dinnerware set, complete with a bus platter, bowl with handles, cup, and silverware, all in matching colors!
The bus platter will ensure that your pickiest eater is introduced to new foods without fuss and that the transition to big kids' dishes will be easier. The cups and bowls were thoughtfully designed with handles and plastic shells to ensure their little hands are protected from extreme temperatures. The spoon and fork set even comes with its own case so that once mealtime is done, your bag is safe from their mess.
A plate that suctions, is cute, AND safe? Meet the Din Din Smart™ Silicone Suction Divided Plate! Our delightful Silicone Chicken Plate is great for messy eaters thanks to the suction base that holds tight to your table or high chair tray. No more flying plates and dishes!
With five separate compartments, it’s a great way to introduce the different food groups to your child and encourage healthy eating. Made with 100% Silicone that is BPA-free, long-lasting, and easy to clean, it's also microwave, freezer, and oven safe!
Create kid-friendly foods in fun shapes with the Din Din Smart Silicone Chicken Steamer! Quickly and easily steam vegetables or eggs in the microwave, create fun-shaped jello treats, or even use it in the oven to bake mini cupcakes. That’s right —Our silicone Chicken Steamers can withstand temperatures up to 450 degrees. Bake adorable muffins or steam veggies with ease, either in the microwave or oven!
The chicken-shaped sectioned steamer helps create variety and encourages healthy eating from a young age. You can even use the two separate snack compartments are perfect for picky toddlers and ideal for veggies and dip! There is even a ventilated silicone lid included so you can take everything on the go without having to re-wrap, freeze for later, or keep in the fridge. These steamers are also easy to clean, BPA-free, and microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe.
For even more safe, non-toxic, family-friendly products, visit us at innobaby.com!