By now you are probably cooking more and eating less from a box (we hope). With cooking and food preparation comes the need for food storage. What is the safest way to store leftovers, freeze extra portions and even reheat the food you have prepared? These are really great questions because choosing the right food storage options is almost as important as the foods you put in them. Why does plastic have a bad reputation? There is no question; studies have shown that plastic breaks down over time and this process is accelerated through heating like in microwave cooking. When plastic breaks down, chemicals like BPA can leach out. When we store food in plastic or even worse, heat food in plastic, we risk these chemicals permeating our food. Committed to using plastic? You can decrease the risks associated with plastic by following these tips.
- Choose BPA free plastics.
- Do not cook food in or heat plastic containers.
- Follow instructions: If you buy a single use container, use it once and throw it away. Cheaper plastics will break down faster.
- Do not wash plastic in the dishwasher: Again, high heat equals accelerated breakdown.
What are your other options? Why we love glass: Glass containers, though a bit more expensive, are worth their price tag. Glass can be used for storage, cooking and freezing and re-heating of food. Glass (not the lid) is dishwasher safe. It is more environmentally friendly and the look a heck of a lot nicer.
- Many glass containers have plastic lids. Don’t worry…just be conscious not to heat the lid or wash it in the dishwasher.
- Save $$: Re-use mason jars , salad dressing and condiment jars for inexpensive glass storage options.
What’s the deal with stainless steel? Unlike glass containers which often have plastic lids, stainless steel containers are plastic free. The bonus? They won’t break making stainless steel containers more kid (and adult) friendly. You can put them right on the stove (like a pot) so they are good for storage, freezer/fridge, re-heating and they are dishwasher safe. Check out Life Without Plastic for lots of options! Let’s not forget baggies: We used to go through a slew of snack/sandwich bags at our house which if nothing more, felt wasteful and environmentally unfriendly. There are really cool options available for adults and kids alike. You can even make them yourself. Check out etsy for handmade fabric snack bags. Or,ItzyRitzy for a fun selection. The lining of most reusable snack packs are BPA free but wash by hand to be safe. Sip Smarter: ditch your plastic water bottle (even the reusable one!) and make the switch to glass or stainless steel. There are even glass and stainless steel straws available (yup, straws are plastic too!). I love Lifefactory and Klean Kanteen Bottles! By: Katie Cavuto, MS, RD original content on www.uniteforher.org