Embracing conscientious living as a family

Are you looking to eat healthier, waste less, and live better? Conscientious living may be the solution for your family.

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  • Everywhere you look some magazine or television show is trying to tell you how to live a better life. Are you eating organic food? Eating gluten-free? Recycling, up-cycling, and pre-cycling? Are you thoroughly confused yet?

  • We all want to live the best life we can, but it can feel overwhelming to do every single good thing out there. There isn't enough time each day or enough money in the world to live what some may call the perfect life. Conscientious living is a lifestyle that reduces the confusion.

  • Conscientious living is choosing the best available option when you can and ditching the guilt the rest of the time. The goal is making the best consumer choice available to you, such as choosing a cleaner without harsh chemicals, or purchasing produce locally when it's in season. Conscientious living incorporates eating healthy, living green, reducing consumerism and living simply.

  • Conscientious living is also an intuitive concept that you can easily introduce to your family. Creating a better, more meaningful life should include every member of your family, from mom and dad on down to the kids. If you're ready to better your life, entire family included, here are some ways to get started.

  • Eating conscientiously as a family

  • When families start their journey to a healthier, more holistic lifestyle, eating better is a natural place to start. There are some simple ways to get your family eating better quickly, including:

    • Swapping out refined grains for whole grains such as whole wheat and brown rice.

    • Adding a fruit or vegetable to every meal and snack. If you make an effort to include produce at every meal, you'll have no problem reaching the recommended five-eight servings daily.

    • Eliminating processed food such as preservatives, food coloring, additives and sweeteners.

    • Buy local when you can. Support farmer's markets and local CSAs.

  • Don't worry if you have picky eaters that fight back. Kids (and parents) can only eat what's available in the house, so quit buying the junk, and better eating habits will follow.

  • The best way to get reluctant eaters to try new things is to include them in the buying and cooking process. Take your kids with you to the grocery store, and let them pick out new produce items. Let them help you prepare meals, and you'll be surprised how willing they are to sample their own creations.

  • Simplifying

  • Green or eco-friendly living goes hand-in-hand with conscientious living. Teaching our kids to show respect for the earth is an important family lesson. The key to living more conscientiously is to look past the "buy green" hype and realize the best way to go green is to stop buying things you don't need. To green-up your family, consider:

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    • Teach kids to distinguish between wants and needs. Emphasize that you only buy things the family needs on a day-to-day basis.

    • Simplify birthday and holiday gifts.

    • Donate unused and unwanted items to charity instead of throwing them away.

    • Have the kids help set up an in-home recycling center and encourage everyone in the family to use it.

    • Look for cleaners and laundry products derived from natural ingredients.

  • Conscientious living should feel simple. Start by carefully considering your purchases each day. Look for options that are the most natural, contain the least amount of packaging, and are easily recyclable. Before you make any purchase, consider whether you can repurpose something you already have to fulfill the same need.

  • Teaching your entire family to embrace a conscientious lifestyle has far-reaching effects. Conscientious living encourages healthy eating habits, frugality and reduced consumerism, lessons that our kids need in today's world. Take it one day at a time, and your family will follow suit.

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Heather Hale is a fourth-generation Montanan and mom to three crazy boys.

Website: http://moderatelycrunchy.blogspot.com

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