Ahimsa's compartment plate with food

Not Just For Picky Eaters: Why Compartment Plates are a Game Changer

By Manasa Mantravadi



Time to Read: 8 min

Compartment Plates

If you think compartment plates are just for picky eaters, think again! Sure, those little sections are brilliant for separating foods that a hesitant toddler might not want touching. But honestly, the benefits of compartment plates go way beyond keeping the peas away from the mashed potatoes. Turns out, they might just be the secret weapon for healthier, happier mealtimes for everyone.

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

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Balanced Eating Made Easy

Encouraging balanced eating helps ensure that kids get all the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. It's about enjoying a variety of foods in smart servings that are just right for their bodies. By teaching children to listen to their bodies and understand portion sizes, we empower them to make healthy choices that support their overall well-being.

Compartment plates aren't just for kids and cafeterias. They make a balanced lunch for work totally foolproof. They're perfect for quick, healthy weekday dinners with everything on one plate. Want to ensure you're getting enough veggies? Let the compartments on your plate be your guide.

The challenge with smart servings is knowing how much is actually enough. It's easy to eyeball a serving size, pile on what looks right, and call it good. That's where compartment plates come to the rescue. The separate compartments act as built-in measuring cups. They give you a clear visual guide for how much of your plate should be veggies, how much should be protein, and how much space to leave for whole grains or starchy carbs.

Studies show that using visual cues, like the lines of a compartment plate, truly helps people stick to healthier portion sizes. It removes the guesswork and makes healthy choices a whole lot easier. 

The USDA replaced the old-school food pyramid with MyPlate for a reason.  MyPlate makes it super easy to see what a balanced meal should look like.  Think of it as a plate divided into sections for fruits, veggies, grains, and protein, plus a side of dairy.

Ahimsa's compartment plates are basically MyPlate brought to life. They both help you visually create balanced meals. The compartments naturally guide you to include all the important food groups – it's healthy eating made simple.

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Encouraging Food Variety

Getting everyone to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole foods can be a serious struggle. Kids can be hesitant to try new things, and even adults tend to fall into food ruts (you know, those same few meals on repeat). Compartment plates offer a subtle but effective nudge towards trying a wider variety of foods.

Since each compartment holds a limited quantity, it forces us to break out of our usual single-food serving habits. Instead of piling your plate high with just pasta, those compartments visually encourage you to include a side salad or some roasted vegetables. 

For kids, the mere presence of those empty compartments can trigger curiosity. Kids might be more likely to try at least a bite of that new food just to see what it's like. Plus, research shows that repeated exposure to foods, even just seeing them on the plate, can increase preference and willingness to try over time.

Less Food Touching (A Sensory Win!)

We all have preferences when it comes to food – some like it crunchy, others prefer it smooth. But for some people, particularly kids, issues with food texture can be a major barrier to eating a wider variety of foods. This food texture aversion often stems from sensory processing differences. It's not about being picky, it's about how a food actually feels in the mouth, and it can be incredibly overwhelming.

Compartment plates provide a sense of control for people with texture sensitivities. By keeping foods separated, they allow individuals to avoid unexpected textural combinations. Think of a child who loves mashed potatoes but can't stand the feeling of peas; a compartment plate keeps those sensations distinct. This can reduce anxiety around mealtimes and potentially encourage a willingness to have those less-preferred foods on their plate, even if they don't end up eating them initially.

While sensory sensitivities are common in children, adults can experience them as well. Compartment plates offer a way to enjoy different meal components without compromising an individual's sensory preferences.

Durability Matters

Let's face it, flimsy plastic dishes that crack, chip, or stain after a few uses are frustrating. They end up cluttering cabinets, costing money to replace, and ultimately end up in the landfill.  When it comes to dishware, durability plays a key role in both creating a pleasant eating experience and supporting sustainability efforts.

This is where high-quality stainless steel compartment plates shine. Unlike plastic alternatives, stainless steel trays won't break if dropped, stain with brightly colored foods, or warp in the dishwasher. They're an investment designed to last for years, even withstanding the enthusiasm of young eaters. This means less waste and less frequent dishware shopping, making them a much more eco-conscious choice compared to disposable or easily damaged options.

Fun Factor

Mealtimes shouldn't be a chore.  They should be enjoyable experiences for both kids and adults.  While compartment plates tackle some serious benefits, it's important not to underestimate the power of adding a little fun to the table.

Stainless steel dishware, especially those designed for families, come in a range of vibrant colors or have a unique reflective finish. This visual element can be surprisingly appealing to kids (and kids at heart!), making mealtime a little more exciting. Gone are the days of boring, plain white plates! Adding a splash of color or a reflective surface can turn an ordinary meal into something that feels a bit more special.

Ahimsa – Compartment Plates with a Difference

All the benefits we've discussed – balanced eating, food variety, sensory appeal, durability, and fun –  are what inspired the line of compartment plates and dishware from Ahimsa.  Ahimsa understands that what we serve our food on matters as much as the food itself.

Built for a lifetime of healthy (and fun!) meals, Ahimsa dishes are crafted from high-quality, food-safe stainless steel and titanium. You won't find any harmful chemicals like BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, siloxanes, melamine, or formaldehyde in these products. Plus, stainless steel is naturally resistant to lingering odors or flavors, ensuring each meal tastes as it should.

Ahimsa's designs are pediatrician-approved, carefully sized for age-appropriate portions and to support the development of fine motor skills in young children.  And with vibrant colors and reflective surfaces, kids will actually be excited to use them!

Get a 4 pack of our compartment plates right now.

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

More Mealtime Essentials

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

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