Healthier Cooking Equipment

When making healthier diet and lifestyle choices, you may find yourself questioning your current cooking equipment. Are you still using an old set of scratched, potentially toxic, non-stick pans? Plastic utensils or storage containers?

If you’re ready to make some upgrades, you’ll find few of my favorite healthier kitchen options below.

1. Enameled Cast Iron

cast iron pot[source]

This definitely falls into the “investment” category, since these pieces aren’t cheap. However, they will last FOREVER. You could probably pass this cookware down to your future grandchildren!

Le Creuset cookware features enameled cast iron, a non-toxic and non-stick option which distributes heat evenly. It’s safe for cooking both on the stove top and in the oven, making it perfect for nearly any recipe you want to tackle! I personally own this 5 1/2 quart dutch oven, and I use it for everything from making soups on the stove, to baking large vegetable dishes and casseroles. It retains heat for a long time, too, which makes for easy serving directly at the table.

2. Traditional Cast Iron Skillet

cast iron skillet[source]

This is a much more affordable option, for those of us who can’t stock our kitchens with the pricier enameled cast iron that I mentioned above. Other than the lack of pretty color options, the main difference between enameled and traditional cast iron cookware is the latter’s need for special handling and care.

Traditional cast irons skillets should not be used to cook acidic foods, like tomato sauce, and must be properly seasoned to maintain their non-stick quality. They also can’t be washed in a dishwasher. In fact, just water and a stiff brush should do the trick. Not only do cast iron skillets last forever, youโ€™ll also get an extra dose of iron in everything you cook with it!

I personally use this Lodge 10-inch skillet, because it’s affordable and about as heavy as I can stand to lift on a regular basis. However, I look forward to upgrading to a Le Creuset skillet one day, to avoid the need to re-season and for easier clean-up. (Warning: Seasoning your cast iron pan can make your house smell terrible!)

3. Non-Aluminum Bakeware

pie dish

Aluminum exposure is pretty impossible to avoid all together, so it’s best to reduce any additional or unnecessary exposure whenever we can. Traditional bakeware can contain aluminum, as it conducts heat very well, but there are plenty of other non-toxic options available.

For example, this Emile Henry Pie Dish has become one of my very favorite pieces to use in the kitchen. Made of stoneware, with an exceptionally scratch-resistant glaze, I feel confident that no chemicals are leaching into my food with each use. It’s also impressively non-stick, without the need for a toxic Teflon coating. I’ve made everything from Crustless Pumpkin Pie to Egg Casseroles in this dish, without any sticking! (And you know how sticky eggs can be.) I plan on adding this rectangle baker to my collection in the near future, which would be perfect for lasagna and family-sized casseroles!

There are also plenty of affordable glass baking dishes available, which are perfect for non-toxic baking. Glass dishware is not as quite as non-stick when compared to the glazed stoneware above, but it does get the job done!

4. Wooden Cooking Utensils

wooden cooking utensils

[source]

If you’re upgrading your cookware, it makes sense to upgrade the utensils that will be interacting with that cookware, too. Plastic utensils can melt or flake into your hot pans, potentially adding a toxic addition to your meal.

Instead, try cooking with wooden utensils! They won’t scratch your cookware or leach chemicals into your food, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit your needs. Plus, you can get an entire set of organic bamboo utensils for a pretty affordable price, when compared to traditional kitchen utensils.

5. Glass Storage Containers

glass storage container

[source]

After you’ve cooked all of that healthy, non-toxic food, the last thing you want to do is store it in a plastic container! While many companies are now scrambling to produce BPA-free storage containers, we can’t possibly know which substance they might be replacing it with. The safest option is glass, which doesn’t leach any chemicals or flavors into your food. (Since most glass storage does come with rubber or plastic lids, avoid filling them all the way to the top, to avoid contact.)

Try using glass mason jars to store your homemade salad dressings and nut butters, and larger glass storage containers for cooked casseroles and soups!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite kitchen equipment? Please share your recommendations below!

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Comments

patrick

Hi, thank you for your work. I have terrible health and try to eat healthy .

Can you recommend from Amazon site:
1. healthy bambbo ccoking utensils ?
2. healthy cookware ?

Btw, I dont have much money and want to get some of those Bamboo Utensils you mentioned but Amazon is out. Thanks!

Penny

Is there any reason why you prefer Le Creuset and Lodge cookware over other brands of enameled cast iron and cast iron cookware? The prices on what appears to be the same item vary so much, and Le Creuset appears to be one of the most expensive brands of enameled cookware.

Thanks!

Tracy

Pampered Chef has a stone muffin pan.

Leanne

Great info, thank you! Any insights for healthy muffin tins? I’ve searched high and low for glass muffin tins and they don’t exist to my knowledge!

Megan

Glad to hear that the stoneware pans work so well! The wooden utensils above are made of bamboo– they’re my favorite!

Dani Shaw

I love my stoneware cookie sheets, muffin pans, casserole dishes etc. I may be biased as i am a Pampered Chef Counsultant, but when you have a good quality stoneware item it will build a natural non stick coating the more you use it/season it. I never have to scrub! Make sure the stoneware you find does not contain heavy metals ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, check out Bamboo spoons and utensils (rather than wood) as Bamboo is a “renewable resource”!

Lori

What about muffin tins? I have always owned metal ones. Is there a better option?

Kristen

I’ve been wanting to get new cookware that is non-toxic. I use glass for baking and storage. I am having a hard time finding a stove-top pan that heats evenly and is non-stick especially for cooking eggs? I tried the Mercola ceramic pan but eggs still got stuck even when loaded with ghee. Would the Le Crueset pans be good to try? Any ideas?

Nat

To answer your question- I use wooden chopping boards over plastic or glass- plastic can store bacteria in tiny micro cuts and the glass ones are loud! and can be slippery for knife use. Also, handy hint for wooden utensils- pop them in a saucepan of boiling water every few months to clean them and voila! they’re cleaned. my other fave kitchen utensil would have to be my slow cooker for a myriad of meals that can be cooked in it- not only casseroles. Love your blog, thanks:)

gail metcalfe

I have a glass top cookstove… am worried about damaging the surface with cast iron becoming too hot… should I be?

    Megan

    I haven’t heard about concerns with cast iron becoming too hot– wouldn’t it be the same temperature as the heat source on the glass stove top? The main concerns I’m aware of come from manufacturers who don’t want to receive complaints about scratched or damaged glass, from using heavier cast iron. You can read some tips about cooking with cast iron on flat stove tops here: http://www.cookingincastiron.com/files/20090811_glasstop_stoves.html

April

Have you heard anything about the “new” ceramic nonstick pans? I have been hearing that they are safe as long as you don’t scratch them up. They are lightweight due to being aluminum inside. This is also the reason they are not deemed as safe if they have been scratched if I remember right. I bought one 10″ skillet to try out for only $10 at Wal-Mart and it works fantastic, nothing sticks so far. I LOVE making my vegan onion and kale Pudlas in it. I only use wooden utensils when using this pan because Iโ€™m phasing out all of my plastic utensils. We have been looking to buy a new set of pots and pans because all mine are the Teflon non-stick with the exception of my stainless steel pressure cooker that I have been using as a stock pot as well lately to avoid the Teflon pots, and an OLD non-stick handled pot that looks like it is also ceramic over aluminum. Most have seen better days :/ so I hate using them.

Lauren @ Fun, Fit and Fabulous!

I really want a cast iron skillet! I need to make a trip to Home Goods and see what goodies I can round up for a discount. I couldn’t live without my blender!

Laurie

I recently bought a set of Pyrex glass containers for reheating leftovers. So glad I did! All we had before was plastic!

In terms of the wooden cooking utensils, I got rid of all of ours because my husband has Celiac Disease so we have to be careful about food cross contamination in our kitchen since I am not on a full-on gluten-free diet like he is. If you have food allergies and are going to use wooden cookware, buy all new stuff and designate it ONLY for the food allergy. Wooden cookware, because it can’t go in the dishwasher, is hard to fully clean, so all the stuff we owned had the potential for cross contamination. Not good!

    Megan

    That’s definitely a good point, regarding wooden cookware. (Though, I have to admit, mine goes into the dishwasher every night!)

Faith

Can the cast iron and enameled cast iron be used on a flat top stove? I didn’t think so (thought it might crack the surface), so I gave my daughter my cast iron skillet. I loved cooking in my cast iron.

Laura

When you re-season your cast iron pan, what kind of oil do you use??

    Megan

    I used to use olive oil, and it smelled HORRIBLE while it was in the oven! I knew it couldn’t be good for my lungs, so I’ve switched to using coconut oil, which seems better. Luckily, I’ve finally figured out how to clean my pan correctly, so I rarely have to re-season it anymore.

Suzanne E.

Not sure if you knew or not but Lodge also has enameled cast iron – http://www.lodgemfg.com/enameled-cast-iron. And it is about half the price of Le Creuset.

    Megan

    Good to know, thanks for sharing!

Laura

Is silicone safe? I have a bread pan and a muffin pan that I use pretty frequently. thanks!

    Megan

    As far as I know, food-grade silicone (the type used to make Silpat) is considered non-toxic. I also like the environmental aspect of it– since it’s reusable, I don’t have to keep throwing away parchment paper for all of my non-stick needs. However, I still don’t feel 100% sure that it won’t be deemed unsafe in the future, so I use it with a bit of hesitation.

Meagan

Wow! I cannot believe how similar we are ๐Ÿ™‚
I don’t have a Le Cruset yet, but I do have several OLD cast iron pans which I found at antique stores. I cleaned them up and they’re amazing! And no vegetable (read soy oil) which comes on pre-seasoned pans! They’re very good quality pans from around the 1930s, back when they made them very very well.

    Megan

    Old cast iron pans are the best! What a lucky find. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Meagan

      I was just in TjMaxx today and saw and originally 80 dollar huge, red, Emile Henry oval baking dish. It was on clearance for 29 dollars. I totally thought of you ๐Ÿ™‚

        Megan

        That’s awesome! I’m going there today! ๐Ÿ™‚

Robbin

Hi, thank you very much for this information. I do use wooden utensils, except when using saffron in my meals, as I read that you should not use wooden utensils with saffron. I believe it is because it will melt or dissolve on the wooden spoon. Do you have an alternative suggestion for a wooden spoon in this instance. Thank you again!

    Megan

    That’s interesting to know! I’ve used my stainless steel utensils when cooking (careful not to scratch my pans), so I assume something like that would work, too.

Cara

Quick question, what do you use for baking sheets? Thanks! My family loves your recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

    Megan

    I still have an old baking sheet that I use with my Silpat on top, so that my food doesn’t come into direct contact with the metal. It’s not ideal, but I think it’s better than cooking directly on an aluminum pan. I’ve been considering replacing it with a stone cookie sheet, though! I’ve heard good things about this brand, which is made in the USA: http://amzn.to/14Cncbs (I’ve also seen some stoneware options at West Elm and Crate & Barrel, if you have one of those stores nearby.)

      Sarah

      Pampered Chef has stoneware. I’ve had mine for years.

      Tarra Parks

      Hi! I was intrigued by your post because I am a rep with Demarle at Home, and we carry a patented line of 110% COMPLETELY SAFE bakeware!
      We are the makers of the world-renowned Silpat and our Flexipans are the gold-standard in the professional culinary industry!
      See my website: http://www.mydemarleathome.com/tparks

      What we call the “perfect baking system” is the Silpat on a perforated baking sheet. Not only does the sheet provide a solid foundation for transfer, but it also allows for what we deem “perfect” baking. The perforations in the sheet are important because they allow air to flow as evenly to the bottom, as it does on the top. No need to flip meat or veggies, and no more crusty edge soggy middle cookies ๐Ÿ™‚
      Our Flexipans are “the perfect marriage” of silicone & woven glass which allows for even heat conduction, flexibility, light-weight, a non-stick surface, and amazingly easy clean up! So you get the benefits of glass, the light weight, flexible, non-stick benefits of the silicone, and a conduction like baking thanks to the perforated sheet. Our certifications assure the consumer they are using a safe product. We’ve gone to great lengths to provide the proper documentation to show nothing leeches from, or absorbs into our products. We are certified Kosher in the oven, microwave and freezer… and yes, we are dishwasher safe! The Kosher cert adds another option for versatility, when considering you can use the same Flexipan for soap, crayons, concrete etc… that you bake in= craft AND cooking versatility!

      I would love to talk more with anyone interested! I am looking to grow my team (you can join as a rep for $149), can also do Online/Catalog/Facebook parties, and take orders on my website!

      Thank you!

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