Whether you’ve already mastered natural living or are just beginning to seek a more eco-friendly lifestyle, things become a little tricky when you have kids. Take your time and make changes one at a time. Our biggest tip is to not try and do everything new at once. You’ll completely overwhelm both yourselves and your children if you swap everything out at once. Habits take time to build and you have to be realistic about it. Sometimes your efforts don’t work well — and that’s OK.
Homesteading doesn’t have to mean an immediate, full-fledged, self-sufficient operation. Returning to a simpler lifestyle is a process — not a destination. Here are some basic natural living tips for your family to try:
1. Shop locally & choose organic foods when possible
Eating well starts with organic and often involves more home cooking than people typically do.
2. Plan meals
Meal plan and bulk cook to make dinner time “non-overwhelming”. Have a few simple go-to recipes for busy nights. Use the real, natural foods you buy locally to cook meals for your family.
3. Grow your own food
Grow the following in containers: cucumbers, peas and greens, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes and herbs, such as oregano, basil, rosemary, cilantro, chives, sage and mint. You can also grow potatoes in easy-to-make potato cages.
4. Raise animals
A few chickens or rabbits are an awesome and easy addition to any back garden — urban, suburban or rural.
Save all your fruit and vegetable scraps to start a compost pile. They take very little work or time and are a fabulous way to reuse and recycle.
6. Replace unhealthy foods
Read the labels. Skip products containing hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup or GMO crops.
7. Limit screen time
When we’re away from all of our electronics and the hustle and bustle, even if for just a short time, it makes us appreciate nature and our surroundings more.
8. Spend time outdoors
Take a walk, hike, trip to a farmers’ market or a you-pick farm every week. Choose an activity you enjoy or one the family can do together.
9. Choose natural skin & personal care products
Using natural and organic products is great for your skin and the environment.
10. Rethink your kitchen tools
Our experts use cast iron cookware. Try using a food processor, mixer, dehydrator and grain mill as well as a slow cooker.
11. Can your own foods
A water bath canner is the easiest way to begin canning at home, and will allow you to preserve your home-grown veggies.
12. Cut out plastic & paper
Replace plastic bags and containers with cloth bags or glass containers you can reuse. Swap paper towels for cloth rags.
13. Make your own cleaners
Laundry detergent and multipurpose cleaners are easy and more affordable to make. Make sure to get your cleaner on board.
14. Cut down on energy use
Use low-energy appliances, power strips, a programmable thermostat and low-flow shower heads.
15. Choose cloth diapers
Cloth diapers are radically easier than they were even just a few years ago.
16. Go plastic-free
Use glass bottles and stainless steel sippy cups and water bottles.
17. Rethink toys
We recommend books or non-toxic toys such as wooden toys. Check labels and watch for recalls.
18. Skip school lunches
Instead, pack lunches made with real food in lunch boxes.
While not everyone can have a full-fledged homestead like we do and raise their own meat, everyone can adapt some part of the homestead lifestyle.
Read Next: How to Grow a Family Garden
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