We have found that living without a microwave takes a little adapting of our habits, but it really is pretty easy to do.
Microwaves emit non-ionizing radiation, which is not as strong as ionizing radiation (x-rays fall in this category, along with natural sources like radon gas within the Earth). Many sources state that microwave radiation does not have negative effects on your health. However, radioactive elements are one of the six main sources of toxicity in our bodies. I’ve decided that for my family, we do not need another source of radiation in our daily lives, and since this one is easy to eliminate, we go without.
Another reason I don’t like to use the microwave to cook or reheat food is that it really doesn’t produce a very good result. You get hot and cold spots — which can be dangerous, especially when cooking for kiddos. Food gets too dry or too soggy — which takes away from the pleasure of eating.
Finally, we find a microwave to be a pretty easy thing to live without. It opens up more space in our kitchen for storage or appliances we like better (like the air fryer and the Instant Pot).
How I Prepare and Reheat Food Without a Microwave
My favorite tool for heating food quickly is the toaster oven. They come with so many settings, you can bake, roast, air fry, toast, reheat, broil — all in one little machine that doesn’t take up much space and heats quickly.
The things I always have on hand to use with my toaster oven are parchment paper (to line the baking tray that came with your toaster over — these are often made of poor materials you don’t want to touch your food, plus easy cleanup!), glass containers (like Pyrex) for reheating soups and messier foods, and cork trivet and oven mitts (to safely pull hot containers out of the toaster oven).
Here are some common questions people ask me about my microwave-free lifestyle …
How do you make popcorn? On the stove! It really is simple and delicious. Check out my Healthy Homemade Popcorn recipe and the Whirley Pop.
How do you heat water/beverages? Use a saucepan or kettle on the stove. Or purchase an electric kettle for boiling water in no time flat! Please remember that a microwave is not a safe way to heat baby bottles. Place a full bottle in a bowl of hot water on the counter for a few minutes instead.
How do you heat a rice sock? I actually prefer to use an old fashioned hot water bottle, but my family does love a good comforting rice sock to ease sore muscles or warm up on a cold night. We did recently put a microwave in our garage primarily for this use case. If you want to learn how to make your own rice sock heat pack, download the At-Home Health Manual.
And finally, please please please, if you are going to use your microwave to heat food, do not heat in plastic. Plastic breaks down in the microwave and leeches toxins like BPA and phthalates into your food. “Microwave safe” simply means it won’t melt, not that it’s actually safe for you!