31 Days of Mindful Living
1. Shop Seasonally
Go beyond eating healthy, and start living mindfully by incorporating new practices into your life one day at a time. You’ll gain a new perspective on each moment throughout the day and become more aware of yourself as well as others.
Let fresh, seasonal produce inspire your weekly menu. Seasonal fruits and vegetables create an exciting, innovative dinner repertoire that stacks your plate with essential nutrients and bold flavor.
2. Navigate the Potluck
3. Swap for More Sustainable Seafood
4. Step Out
Staying fit doesn't have to confine you to the gym walls. Accept the challenge to take more steps throughout the day and start your path to a healthier lifestyle. Whether you walk 30 minutes a day, park farther away, or take the stairs more often, you'll be amazed how the steps can add up. Keep each season fresh with a new routine.
5. Eat Whole
Why eat processed and artificial ingredients when you can have fresh, natural foods instead? Foods that contain preservatives and artificial sweeteners, colorings, and flavorings fill your body with calories and chemicals that don't nourish or satisfy you. Cooking at home is the best way to get food in its purest, freshest form.
6. Build the Best Plate
The portions on your plate are just as important as the ingredients in your food. USDA's MyPlate suggests building half of your plate around vegetables and fruits first, then filling in a fourth with meat and a fourth with grains, if you have them included in your meal. These MyPlate-Inspired Salads give you a head start for the perfect protein to carbohydrate ratio.
7. Opt for Organic
According to the Environmental Working Group, you're safe to buy conventional fruits and vegetables on the "Clean Fifteen" list but should stick to organic when it comes to the produce on the "Dirty Dozen Plus." Choose organic to limit the amount of pesticides in your body, and learn how to save money with a few simple tips.
8. Master the Art of Grocery Shopping
Shop the perimeter of the store first to fill your basket with fruits and vegetables, protein, and dairy products. When you shop the inner aisles for your whole grains and snacks, look for products that have minimal ingredients, 100 percent whole grains, and have as few additives as possible. See our Favorite Store-Brand Products to choose snacks and pantry staples wisely.
9. Go Fair Trade
Purchasing something as small as Fair Trade coffee or sugar benefits both farmers individually and positively impacts the industry as well. It also supports companies that enforce a strict no-child labor policy, provides honest payments for their farmers, and combats poverty in their communities by providing jobs. Looking for a place to start? We suggest Green Mountain coffee or Counter Culture coffee.
10. Snack Right
11. Debunking Gluten-Free
Contrary to the trendy phrase, going gluten-free does not guarantee a healthy lifestyle if you're filling your pantry with processed foods. Many gluten-free prepackaged foods are weighed down by sugar and fat, so stick to vegetables and naturally gluten-free starches such as potatoes and quinoa for your replacements.
12. Don’t Ditch it All
13. Snack the Rainbow
Introduce micronutrients to your kids in a fun, playful way with these colorful snacks so they learn to love nutrient-rich, vitamin-packed fruits and vegetables at a young age. You’ll help them grow strong and healthy, while encouraging great habits and patterns that set them up for success in the future.
14. Clean Green
You know a cleaning product is questionable when your eyes start watering and you can't stop coughing the moment you start scrubbing, but some harsh household products aren't as obvious as others. To play it safe, we like sticking to these 7 Green Cleaning Solutions from Real Simple.
15. Shop Local
When you shop locally, you're doing more than just fitting in with the trend. Those purchases help supply the economy in your city and fund local agriculture. And, from a global stand point, you'll help lessen fuel waste that is used when imported produce is transferred. Highlight your fresh, local produce with these nutritious sides.
16. Fight Fatigue
When the afternoon slump rolls around, we often reach for a bowl of candy or sugary soft drink, but unfortunately, those options only bring you right back down. Choosing the right foods will help fuel your brain and body for the best energy throughout the day. These 12 superfoods are sure to keep you alert and proactive.
17. Give Back
18. Spend Wisely
Whether you are a one-stop shopper or travel to multiple locations, the key to saving money is knowing your family's eating habits, making lists, and shopping seasonally. Menu planning with the same produce in different recipes throughout the week helps your family use it up before it goes bad. A weekly menu planner helps you get organized and stay on track.
19. Stay Natural
Because your skin is your body's largest organ, what goes on your body is just as important as what you eat. Many conventional products are made with harsh chemicals such as Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and synthetic preservatives (Parabens) that may be harmful to your health and strip your skin's natural moisture. Look for products without the ingredients listed above. We love the idea of making your own body scrubs from home like this Creamy Orange-Ginger Body Scrub.
20. Enjoy Every Bite
"Never eat anything you don't enjoy and truly enjoy everything you eat," says Martha Beck, life coach and author of The Four-Day Win: End Your Diet War and Achieve Thinner Peace. Let go for a moment, and appreciate the taste, smell, and presentation of your food. You'll feel much more satisfied and appreciate how foods benefit both your physical and mental health.
21. Explore New Flavors
If you've always been a chicken and potatoes person, branch out and explore new produce, whole-grains, and flavors. Expand your palate one meal at a time and add in a new vegetable you've never tried before or a new spice. Feeling adventurous? See our Global Kitchen ingredients.
22. Drink Water
Though there are numerous competitors on the market creating new sports drinks, studies show that many of these options have little to no benefit in your post-workout recovery. We suggest you stick to free, hydrating, natural water. Add some fruit for a tasty, healthy twist and when you're craving a soda, grab a bottle of sparkling water and squeeze some fresh lime juice in it.
Buying frozen fruits and veggies set you up for healthy, budget-friendly weeknight dinner solutions. As an added bonus, frozen vegetables obtain more nutrients because the produce is blanched then frozen right after it's picked. If you're buying local produce and want to save seasonal food year-round, see our freezing techniques.
24. Travel Smart
Whether you're in the car, or on a plane, junk food temptations rise when you're traveling. To beat those sugary, fatty cravings, pack a cooler and a dry bag stock-full of health bars, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and water for your trip. These car snacks are some of our favorites. If you’re also heading on a weekend getaway, make these meals ahead so you can relax and eat when you arrive.
If you're already baking a batch of cookies, why not bake a second, third, or fourth to give away? From seasonal favorites to classic treats, baking a second batch of bread, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, or muffins is an easy way to care for your community and help others feel special all year long.
26. Know What Kind of Egg You're Eating
When possible, try to buy organic free-range, cage-free eggs. You'll benefit both the chicken and your body when you buy the pricier selection because the less hormones and artificially fed the chickens are, the less hormone-filled and natural their eggs will be. See our guide to how to shop for eggs.
27. Make Your Own
Love nut butters, toaster pastries, and granola bars? Step outside of the grocery store for these pantry staples and make your own versions at home. It's a great weekend activity that gives you the control to limit the sodium and sugar. Chances are, you'll probably like the homemade version better than the store-brand version. These nut butter primers are a great place to start.
28. Value Simplicity
When you buy the freshest meats, seasonal produce, and hearty whole-grains, the natural flavors are delicious and satisfying on their own. Nix the added sugar, oil, dairy, and salt in your dishes and enjoy the beautiful flavor of food in its purest state. We do suggest however, that you add a little spice to create a delicious aroma and a burst of flavor in your dishes.
29. Think Positively
Staying positive is the key to success when thinking about food. Truly enjoy every bite you eat, and indulge intentionally. Instead of thinking negative thoughts about the piece of cake you're eating, savor each bite. Try not to think of food as "good" and "bad," but rather think, "I'm choosing to have this today." Enjoy these luscious, five-ingredient chocolate cakes without the guilt.
30. Get Some Sleep
It's no secret that sleep is good for you and will help regulate energy levels. Many individuals who are sleep deprived tend to skimp on physical activity and resort to fast-food or take-out meals for quick solutions. Studies show that getting a good night's rest helps maintain hormone levels such as ghrelin, which stimulates your appetite, and leptin, which suppresses your appetite. When these hormones are in check, your appetite is easier to maintain.
31. Nix the Substitutes
Whether you follow a vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, or diabetic eating plan, stick to whole natural foods for substitutes. Always check the label, and watch out for a laundry list of ingredients that are unfamiliar. For example, if you're vegetarian, add these protein-packed whole foods to your diet.