What is sustainable living? Sustainable living is a lifestyle that focuses on using more “green” choices in order to reduce carbon footprints. This lifestyle is based on carefully selecting products or services that foster environmentally friendly resources. This means using less products that harm the environment and reuse what we can to reduce waste.

How can you make a difference? Here are three ways to ease into sustainable living for busy families. Every little step in this direction will help create a wave of intentional living to better the planet.

Go meatless at least once a week
There are many great reasons to choose a vegetarian lifestyle. Not only is it beneficial for being heart-healthy but it can reduce the use of natural resources. Adopting a plant-based lifestyle is encouraging a positive attitude towards the environment today and for the future. Vegetarian recipes do not have to be complicated and can be an excellent quick weekday supper for busy families. For example, swap out the meat for lentils in your classic Shepard’s Pie recipe. Or, use chickpeas instead of chicken for a delicious twist on chicken à la king. Spaghetti and meatballs can easily be substituted with baked black bean balls. If you wish to reduce the use of canned goods, opt for dried legumes at your local grocery store.

Learn to garden
There is nothing that beats fresh fruits and vegetables picked right from your own backyard. Gardening is a wonderful tool to help get your family into sustainable living. Grow tomatoes, lettuce, green beans and potatoes. All these vegetables are easy to grow and can even thrive planted in buckets for apartment dwellers. Fruit trees and bushes are perennials. They will grow back every year to produce more fruit as the tree ages. A little gardening at the beginning of the season will last all through the summer months into harvesting time. Preserve your hard work by learning how to can those fruits and vegetables to enjoy during the winter months.

Switch to reusable products
Ditch using disposable products like paper towels and napkins. Opt for washable cloths to pick up spilled messes or to wash and dry the dishes. In the long run, you will end up saving money by not having to purchase these items. Another big source of disposable products are diapers. Some cities have implemented programs to help with the initial cost of cloth diapers. Several cloth diaper companies will rent diapers with a delivery service to wash and dry on a weekly basis.

Sustainable living is possible for every family. Starting small will help your family adjust to the changes but will still have a major impact on the environment. Think outside the box in terms of how your family can be “greener” at home, work and school. When in doubt, remember to reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose.