I really appreciate having leftovers. It’s already made and doesn’t take long to heat back up. Especially with a toddler running around, I need my meals to be quick and easy. And leftovers, particularly from dinner, are already complete and nutritious.
I used to throw leftovers into whatever covered containers I had laying about. This included plastic tupperware, plastic take-out containers, and saved plastic containers from the store. That’s a lot of plastic. And when I was working, I would take these containers with me and often microwaved the ones that claimed to be microwave safe.
There are some perks to these plastic containers. They are easy to store leftovers in, cheap, replaceable, and won’t break. But plastic is just about the worst “food safe” material that you can use for storing and reheating food.
Plastic is not an inert material. It breaks down over time and reacts to heat and acid. Like with the plastic water bottle, the chemicals from the plastic get absorbed into the contents. Storing things like tomato sauce or heating up food speeds up this process and gets more plastic into the food. And if the containers are old, scratched, or frequently washed, it also gets the plastic to leach faster. These are chemicals like BPA, phthalates, and PBDEs, which are linked to cancer and cause a long list of reproductive and hormonal issues. These plastics also possibly cause birth defects, DNA destruction, and even neurological anomalies. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, as there needs to be many more studies done, particularly on the long term effects. But these chemicals, these plastics, are found in nearly everybody’s blood as well as umbilical cords, breastmilk.
So what are safer alternatives to storing food?
This is my favorite type of food storage because it’s so versatile. I can pop these glass containers in the microwave or the oven, and then wash them in the dishwasher. There is no transferring of harmful chemicals, even when I store tomato sauce. I often just store leftovers in the glass casserole dishes that I made them in. The downside to this material is that it is breakable and heavy. But when properly cared for, these last for a lifetime. Here are a few that I like:
This is a very common and durable food storage material. Poor quality stainless steel does hav the potential to leach a bit of nickel into the food, so it’s important to buy high quality from reputable sources. The downside is that these are not microwavable and difficult to reheat. But they are durable and make a good choice for kids’ lunch boxes.
Here are some that I like:
This is a nice, frugal choice for food storage and lunch boxes. Obviously, it’s not a good choice for liquid or wet food. But for things like sandwiches, crackers, fruit, and fresh vegetables, they are fantastic. They can be homemade with fabric pretty easily and are great for kids because they are not breakable and easy to replace. They can also be washed and reused.
Here are some nice ones:
Ditch those plastic containers and make a better choice for the health of you and your family with one of these better choices.