5 Materials for a Healthy Kitchen (+ a $650 giveaway!)

This contest is now closed and the winner has been selected! Congrats to…

Stacey P.!

The holiday season is upon us, which means many of us will soon be baking and cooking up a storm with our families! And I don’t know about you, but I’ve been working hard these past few years to improve the materials I cook with in my kitchen. For one, non-stick is mostly out and so is plastic. Now I say “mostly” because I like to balance these goals with reality, but I do think the 80/20 rule is a great goal when it comes to these sorts of things.

So today, I’m excited to partner with our sponsor, MightyNest, to share some of the materials that you’ll now find a lot of in my kitchen. They definitely know their stuff when it comes to smart choices – all their products are free from known toxic ingredients such as BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, melamine, formaldehyde, flame retardants, parabens and more. So while many of us are here because we’re concerned about what foods we’re cooking – let’s be sure we don’t overlook what tools we’re using to prepare, serve and store all that wholesome goodness as well!

Plus, not only does MightyNest have all the healthy gear you need to outfit your kitchen, but they also donate a very generous 15% of any order back to the school of your choice. A healthy kitchen and money for your school… sounds like a great combo to me! So, to help you get started with your transition to “5 Materials for a Healthy Kitchen” one lucky 100 Days of Real Food reader has a chance to win a HUGE giveaway package today, which includes both $400 of products and $250 for the school of the your choice – a total value of $650!! Just click the blue button below to enter!

Cast Iron

For years now I’ve read recipes that recommend using a Dutch oven but I never had one to use – until now (thanks to MightyNest)! My husband (who rarely gets excited about kitchen tools) even said, “That new pot is really cool!” And that’s because it’s made of cast iron, a material that can be used on the cooktop and, if necessary, transferred into the oven for continued cooking or braising. Unlike pans that are coated with a layer of that non-stick chemical stuff, cast iron cookware does not release gases or chemical particles into the air or your food when it is heated—so once you get it coated nicely you can get your sear on without worrying about what you’re inhaling or worrying about sticking, either. I can’t wait to use my Dutch oven as an alternative to my slow cooker with recipes like soups, stews, roasts and chili. (As you can see below, my daughter gives it a thumbs up as well.)
5 Materials for a Healthy Kitchen on 100 Days of #RealFood

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is everywhere in kitchens these days, from decorative finishes to cookware and utensils. And that’s because it’s a time-tested, durable, and non-toxic material that can withstand use (and even abuse) on the cooktop, in the oven, on the table, or for storage in the fridge or pantry. Many stainless steel products are also comprised of recycled material, making this a great green option if that’s your thing. Higher grade stainless steel like 18/8 or 18/10 will never rust.
Now I was personally excited to get this stainless steel muffin pan because I had already switched over my baking sheets from non-stick, but not these yet. So now I can make muffins right in the pan without worrying about liners. And we were happy to discover that with a little brush of butter (before putting in the batter) the muffins will come out clean without sticking!
5 Materials for a Healthy Kitchen on 100 Days of #RealFood

Bamboo

When it comes to cutting boards, bamboo is a good choice for many reasons. It absorbs very little moisture compared to other woods, and for this reason it also resists swelling, which can lead to cracking and warping. Cutting boards made from bamboo won’t dull your knives, and they’re also less likely to result in cross-contamination (like raw meat juices!) than plastic boards thanks to the naturally-occurring anti-microbial compounds in bamboo. One important note: you’ll need to hand wash these bad boys!
5 Materials for a Healthy Kitchen on 100 Days of #RealFood

Glass

Baking, serving, and storing your food in glass means your kitchenware is free of lead and chemicals like BPA that are commonly found in plastics. Now I do avoid sending my kids to school with glass containers (for obvious reasons), but when it comes to the home use that’s our storage material of choice. The key is to look for tempered glass, which can withstand temperature changes or even being dropped. We’ve had a set of glass containers (pictured in the front below) for over 3 years now and only ONE has broken. I kind of can’t believe it. I also love that glass containers are pretty enough for both food storage and serving – plus they can go right in the dishwasher when you’re all done. What’s not to like?!
5 Materials for a Healthy Kitchen on 100 Days of #RealFood - 3

Ceramic

My family is a huge fan of homemade pizza, and one of the ways we love to make it is on our grill using our ceramic pizza stone! Ceramic is an earth-friendly material that can withstand extreme temperatures. It creates the crispy crusts on homemade pizza, breads and other foods when cooked on it.
5 Materials for a Healthy Kitchen on 100 Days of #RealFood

Bee’s Wrap (Bonus!)

Well, this creative alternative to plastic wrap was new to me – how neat! Made from organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin, Bee’s Wrap is a totally safe and sustainable food wrap that can be used again and again (for about a year). The antibacterial qualities of beeswax and jojoba oil help keep food fresh and all it takes is the warmth of your hands to soften the wax enough to form it directly around food or open containers. A little forming creates a seal, and as it cools, the material stiffens holding the seal intact. When you’re ready to use Bee’s Wrap again, just wash with a little soap and cool water and allow it to air dry. It’s perfect for covering leftovers like cheese, baked goods, bread, fruit or even half a lemon. Leave it to the bees!
5 Materials for a Healthy Kitchen on 100 Days of #RealFood
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What materials do you love to use in your kitchen?

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188 thoughts on “5 Materials for a Healthy Kitchen (+ a $650 giveaway!)”

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  1. Thanks so much for the response! It looks like Mighty Nest may have removed their enamel coated dutch oven, which then had me wondering if it was as good as the non-coated options. I truly appreciate the response-have a nice weekend!

  2. These are great tips! What brand is the dutch oven pictured in this article? I clicked on the link to the MightyNest, but didn’t see a similar dutch oven pictured. Thanks in advance!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. Yes, this post is a couple years old and the products on Mighty Nest do change. I think it is a Lodge brand enamel coated dutch oven. Its the same one I have. Le Creuset is another very popular brand.

  3. I love so many of your suggestions! Just one thought- I used to run a sustainable living store, and I’m not a big fan of bamboo for anything. It has to be laminated to make anything solid (like a cutting board or flooring)and the glues used for that generally contain really high levels of a type of formaldehyde which continues to offgas. And for those who care, it has a huge environmental footprint – shipping from China, plus they are continuing to cut down forests to replace them with bamboo monoculture to satisfy Western markets! We found that cork cutting boards made more sense and are better for your knives too.

  4. A Dutch oven has been on my short list for quite awhile.I teach Family& Consumer Science and have been replacing baking pans with stainless steel over the years.I cannot use bamboo there because of the necessity of relying on students to wash cutting boards or put them in the dishwasher.I love reading about the new products you introduce!

  5. I’ve used Tupperware for decades and have been a (very casual, mostly for my family’s and my own benefit) consultant for several years and as I understand it all of Tupperware’s microwave-use containers are free from all known-to-be-harmful chemicals. I think plastic in general gets a bad rap, or at least a worse rap than it deserves, and Tupperware is a higher quality plastic than what you will find in department stores. Also, with its lifetime guarantee, combined with special price offers, it is a better investment. Glass is fine, except that it is heavy, takes up more room in my EXTREMELY limited cabinet space as well as my dishwasher, is harder to get a liquid-tight or air-tight seal, and can chip and break. (Even if it doesn’t break, if you drop it on your foot, it hurts a LOT.) I’m not asking you to promote Tupperware; I just had to speak up in its defense. I love the way the products help me on my journey to better eating. (I even got the cookware through a combination of rewards and discounts and use it just as you describe your dutch oven, except I am able to wash it thoroughly between uses, unlike cast iron which is why I could never bring myself to use that.) Thanks. :)

  6. I love my Dutch Oven too. I’ve been using it for over 20 years for everything. And I have a cast iron fry pan with “ripples” in the bottom. Great for adding char marks to meat or sandwiches & keeps any moisture away if you want a crispy coating on a cutlet!!

  7. Many Ceramic cookware had Cadmium and Lead in it from the color it has been painted , or the clay etc.
    Have you checked about this ceramic Pizza stone?

    Never heard about the Bee’s Wrap,. Sounds Awesome..Will have to buy it.

  8. I have a dutch oven that I received from my mom a year ago. I love it and got rid of most of my pots and pans after reading about toxic materials used to make them. I love the idea of a ceramic pizza stone.

  9. A friend gave me Bees Wrap as a gift and it’s fantastic! Your cheese will never sweat again. It’s also easy to clean.

  10. I am getting my husband a dutch oven for Christmas. We were recently on a Cub Scout camping trip and learned how wonderful this is for preparing camp meals. I didn’t think about using it in my kitchen too, but I will after reading this post.

  11. I’ve never won anything before but I figured why not?! I recently stumbled upon your website and have to thank you for your incredible recipes! We are almost 30 days into real food cooking and have removed all processed foods from our kitchen, 100% Your recipes keep me motivated and have allowed me to lose 5lbs so far without even trying (and no suffering or deprivation was involved, lol!!!) Yay for me and a healthier lifestyle!!

  12. I like to Unbleached waxed paper baggies around for when I run out of my reusable containers so that I don’t have to use plastic.

  13. Hi,

    I entered the contest last night but did not have all of the email addresses of those I wanted to share this promotion with. I entered them today but it looks as though I entered twice which is not my intent. I just want someone to know so that I am not disqualified. Thank you~

  14. All of these kitchen items are wonderful! I am just finding out about Bees Wrap for the first time and am particularly fascinated by it. What a clever idea!

  15. Hi! I just tried to enter the contest but am not sure if it worked. After I hit the button to allow mighty nest access to my facebook, it just went blank. No confirmation, nothing on facebook. So how do I know if it worked? Is there a way for you to view contestants? I don’t want to try entering again and disqualify myself by having entered twice.

  16. Rather than throwing out the plastic containers, why not repurpose them to organise non food items. Eg. Organise and store small bits and pieces like toys, craft items, stationery, nick nicks ect. Corral stuff in your junk drawer. Save it from going to landfill

  17. Thank you so much for all of the great info, support and tips you give on your blog. Being new to the real food lifestyle, I really appreciate having a place to go when I need a refresher or even some extra motivation! It looks as though I have a ton of work to do replacing my cooking and baking ware… My approach will be slow and steady to tackle that project:)

  18. I am working on replacing my plastic storage for glass. I know it needs to be done. The dutch oven is on my wish list. I love cooking with my iron skillets (and stainless steel). The beeswax is new to mw. I would love to try it. I rarely ever have plastic wrap; it would be nice to have a replacement for it.

  19. I love glass storage. I went to the Corning Outlet and stocked up on storage bowls then came home and threw out all my old “plastic” ones. I also love glass jars (spaghetti sauce comes in mason jars now so I save these and the are “free”.) I have never heard of the bees wrap – making it a mission to find it now.

  20. Recently my mother gave me a set if her stainless steel. I have been wanting them forever!! I love cooking with them eggs..no problem a little butter in pan and perfect eveytime no matter how you cook them. Also for some reason they tend to boil faster too. Glass. I have all for storage in mason jars (thanks mom and grandma) and do a lot of baking in them too. I would love to get some glass storage sets…Santa?? I do not have Wooden cutting boards…always scared germs..so i use a piece of marble fory cutting. I have one great ceramic bread pan and never tried the bees wrap.

  21. What a great post. I have been trying to make my kitchen healthier. I’d love some of these items. I love my cast iron frying pan but that dutchmen oven looks incredible.

  22. Thanks for the info!!! I have been slowly changing over to glass and I’ve done a few of the other things too. Love the bees wrap. Can’t wait to try it. :)

    Bobbie

  23. Funny enough, my favorite thing in my kitchen right now is your cookbook. It has found a perfect spot on my counter and has stickies all over it. My daughter says, “Mama, let’s see what new we can find in the 100 Days cookbook for dinner.” We have had so much fun. We have used glass, stainless steel, bamboo utensils (but never cutting boards!) and cast iron for the last five years. We have removed all plastic and non-stick cookware. It has been a fun journey!

  24. We use glass for baking in our home and I love my pizza stone! I have run into so many recipes calling for the use of a dutch oven and it is now at the top of my Christmas list! My husband and I work in a family style group home, so I am always looking for new, healthier ways to introduce new and yummy foods into our home!

  25. My top 5 kitchen items are – 6qt Kitchen Aid mixer (fantastic for double batches), Stainless Steel cookware, Pyrex glass sets, blender (for daily morning spinach smoothies), and pizza stone!! Thank you for your blog and latest cookbook.

  26. I have never been a fan of stainless steel. However, I have been using cast iron (helps keep my arms and shoulders strong. :-) ), bamboo, and glass bakeware for years. I have also, recently, switched to using mason jars and other glass containers for food storage.

  27. Thanks for the Bee’s wrap info, I can’t wait to get some. I have also found a recipe for making it but I’m not sure if the cost/mess is worth it. I guess I’ll find out soon!! Personally, I love my bamboo stirring spoons and spatulas but my hubby swears by our few pieces of cast iron-he has asked for a cast iron dutch oven for Christmas. Thanks for all your fabulous posts and inspiring so many to eat truly healthy.

  28. I have everything but the bee’s wrap. I have a cast iron wok and It really bothers me that I can’t use soap to clean up. I have a stainless steel Dutch oven, but I am saving my pennies for a Le Cruset ENAMELED cast iron Dutch oven that I can wash with actual soap, because I large pot is never enough.

    Never heard of the bee’s wrap, when I run out of glass storage containers, I prefer to put leftovers in a bowl and invert a plate over the top. I also second parchment paper, I use it on my cookie sheets, to line brownie/cake pans and muffin cups. Whole foods sells a line of parchment paper and muffin liners called “If You Care” that are unbleached, sustainable, and compostible. The muffin wrappers literally slide off the muffins, making them super easy for my kiddos to eat.

  29. I’ve been “keeping house,” as they used to say, for (gasp!) 45 years with cast iron, stainless steel, and glass. Ive always used ceramic plates and glass drinking glasses. I’ve used plastic for storage, but I am rethinking that. Teflon pans were new and a wedding gift in 1970, and thankfully they scratched up quickly and I threw them away!

  30. Your website totally inspires me! I have a licensed family home daycare called “Care A Lot Daycare”. I enjoy reading your website & learning more ways to cook healthy for my kids ages birth- age 5. I would love to buy the best products out there to use cooking but can afford only a couple at a time. 37 years in the business – i am always learning better and safer ways to cook and buy the healthy foods from our local farmers market.

  31. I love my cast iron pans, they are my go to pans. I also have a great set of stainless steel that I use when cast iron isn’t a good option, like boiling pasta. My non-stick pan started peeling so about a year ago I got rid of it. My husband misses it but can’t say I do. Hadn’t thought about my bakeware, time to upgrade that now. Going to research the bee wax paper stuff. Thanks for the article!!!

  32. Lisa, do you still use/encourage silicon? I really enjoy my silicon muffin holder and stirring spoons, but have been wondering if there are any health worries linked to silicon at this point. Thank you for your encouragements toward better health!

  33. I’m embarrassed to say that this topic really hand’t crossed my mind – especially with the muffin tins, etc. Thank you for posting thing and sharing the wonderful resource of MightyNest. I am so excited to update my kitchen with more natural, safe products.

  34. I use glass and a bamboo cutting board. I have only a couple of stainless steel pieces and an old cast iron frying pan that is a little rusty. I did NOT know about the bee’s wrap! What an absolutely cool product!Thanks for posting this! I’ll have to re-group and ask for some of these things for Christmas! That is, if I don’t win some!! :-) Even still, these are great ideas to keep on the list each year!

  35. I have been thinking about this topic for a while. I would love to replace my cookware with healthier options. I have some glassware and 2 prohealth pans, but that’s about it. I didn’t know they had stainless steel muffin tins. I would love a chance to win some of these great products!

  36. Like another commenter, I have a cast iron dutch oven still in the box as a gift from over two years ago that I have yet to use. Just not confident using cast iron. However, I also have two ceramic items that I use frequently–a frying pan and griddle. I would love more.

  37. About 2 years ago I converted (most) plastic storage containers to glass.I do have a pizza stone as well as a baker that I use often – love them. I’ve got a cast iron dutch oven on my list!

  38. I have stainless cookware and cast iron.No glass containers yet. No bees wax I will look for that on my next shopping trip.

  39. We love our dutch ovens! We have two that are similar to le creuset (but cheaper… We got them second hand at estate sales). We also have two of the usual black cast iron, one is mine and one is my husband’s. I’m so persnickety about how mine is cared for that we can’t share! :)

  40. I love my cast iron and glass containers :-) I’ve seen the waxed cloth before and think that it sounds very interesting!

  41. I hate to admit this but the only item I have is the cast iron dutch oven and that’s only because it was a present. I would LOVE to be able to get some of the others!

  42. Is dark metal bakeware safe like stainless steel? I know not to use non-stick, am curious about the dark metal pans I have. Thanks for another great and informational post!

  43. I have been wanting to change out non stick, but wasn’t sure what was safest. Does this include the Hard-Anodized or just teflon??

    Never heard of the Bees wax! Looks great!

  44. Awesome post! We use most of that already, but I’d never heard of the Bee’s Wrap! That’s exciting!!!

    Odd question though, what is the carrot that is in the pictures with your daughter? It’s really neat looking! :D

  45. I use everything except the bees wrap… Never heard of it actually! My Dutch oven is my favorite tho… I use it at least three times a week!

  46. I have a couple of items on the list! I switched from nonstick pots and pans to stainless steel and I love them! My favorite is my s

  47. Is the cast iron dutch oven coated on the inside and if so, with what? I’m definitely putting one on my Christmas list.