You could eat off paper plates, but you’d be tossing money in the trash can. You can get by with a cheap set of plastic or melamine, but probably shouldn’t put them in the microwave. Stoneware looks good and grown-up, but it weighs a ton and chips easily. Porcelain is fragile and laughably expensive for a fledgling.
You need something that is inexpensive, lightweight, durable, dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, good-looking, and versatile. Seems impossible, doesn’t it?