Category Archives: Family

3 Hacks to Drink More Water

Everywhere you turn, there is someone out there telling you how you must drink more water to be healthy. Well, yes, this is true—water is essential to our bodies, and most of us could use more of it each day. But no one ever tells you how to drink more water. Today, we’ll focus on how we can make a habit of consuming a healthy, optimal amount of water each day.

But first, let’s look at some fun facts about drinking water:

  • The average person could live without food for nearly a month, but we could only survive about one week without water—that’s how essential water is to human life. Some of us can’t go a day without coffee, but that’s a different story.
  • Good hydration can prevent arthritis. With plenty of water in your body, there is less friction in your joints, thus less chance of developing arthritis. 
  • Drinking enough water every day can help reduce heart disease and cancer. Water helps flush toxins out of your body, and the fewer toxins that come into contact with your colon, bladder and other organs, the less chance that critical ailments can develop. 
  • Smile! Good hydration can help reduce cavities and tooth decay. Water helps produce saliva, which keeps your mouth and teeth clean.

(Facts pulled from the Culligan Website)

Studies generally agree that you need about 100 ounces of water a day. When I tell people that, they’ll often say:

“That is so much. I have a hard time drinking that much.”

or

“I struggle to drink that much in one day.”

But now that we’re a little more knowledgeable about our water consumption and we have gotten all of the excuses out in the open, let’s take a look at how we can consume more water throughout our day:

 

1. Find A Cup That Is Easy to Drink Out Of

This may seem ridiculous, but it’s true. If something is hard to do, human nature will have us avoiding it simply because it’s hard. After all, one of the largest avenues of business in the world is convenience. People will pay a lot of money for things to make their lives easier. For example:

  • The drive thru at a restaurant
  • Smartphones
  • Dishwashers
  • GPS
  • E-books
  • Amazon

Everything listed above exists because someone wanted to make tasks easier and convenient for consumers. So we ought to take a page out of their books and make water consumption easier for ourselves. Find a cup that is easy to drink out of – like what? You’ll want a cup that:

  • Feels good in your hand.
  • Isn’t too big and isn’t too small.
  • Has a drinking hole at the right size

This might sound silly, but everyone has a favorite cup. Why? Because it is easy to drink out of! For example, Nalgene water bottles are super cool looking, real trendy, and virtually unbreakable—but you may have to stop and concentrate when you are drinking from the bottle if you don’t have a splash guard. For me, the hole is too small to drink like a normal water bottle. Therefore, I personally don’t drink from a Nalgene bottle—it’s just not easy to.

I love drinking out of a straw; it makes it easier for me to drink. When I go to a restaurant or get a to-go cup, I always put a straw in because I know it will help me consume more water. The bottom line? Find what is comfortable to hold and easy to drink out of and you will find yourself drinking more. It’s simple.

2. Drink Water At Room Temperature

 Many people feel like you have to drink ice water. On a hot day, cold water is satisfying, for sure, but many times it’s more difficult to drink cold water because of brain freeze or sensitive teeth. I have found that drinking water that is room temperature causes me to drink more. Not sure what it is – no real science here, I just know that it works!

Next time you buy a case of water, put some in the fridge and leave some out on the counter or in the pantry. I guarantee you will drink more of the room temperature stuff.

3. Add Some Lemon

 One of the big complaints from people about drinking more water is that is has no taste and they get tired of it. I get that. Next time you get tired of water and don’t think you can drink another drop, add half of a lemon or lime to it. This gives water a little bit of flavor, and will satisfy that hankering for something different. Lemon water also has some great health benefits as well, like aiding digestion, boosting the immune system, and more.

So if a regular old glass water is getting a little bit boring to you, just squeeze in some lemon to break up the monotonous taste that sometimes comes with it.

 

These three reasons may seem silly or trivial when you read them, but I dare you to implement one or all into your daily routine. After all, they seem so trivial because they’re dead-simple strategies that you can’t afford not to try. I guarantee you will drink more, and your body will thank you for it!

 

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Paleo Sweet Potato Chili

Indulge yourself in a bowl of spicy chili that is full of beef and sweet potatoes. It’s thick, rich, and slightly sweet while being grain free, sugar free and dairy free. If you’re looking for a low sugar, healthy option, you won’t be disappointed with this recipe!

We’ve done this as one of our mealfit Ready meals and got amazing reviews!

Prep Time: 13-17 min

Serves: 6

Ingredients:
• 2 lbs ground beef
• 1 red onion, chopped
• 1 tsp minced garlic
• 1 large can (29.5 oz.) tomato sauce
• 2 cups petite diced tomatoes, with juice
• 3 cups beef stock
• 3 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
• 5 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 2 bay leaves
• ½ tsp. thyme
• 2 tsp. salt
• 1½ tsp. black pepper
• ½ cup chili powder
• Dash of oregano
• Dash of red pepper flakes

Instructions:
• In a large saucepan, brown ground beef, onions and garlic. Drain off the fat.
• Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan. Mix well, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes and carrots are cooked through.

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Strong Like Samson

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With anything, it is important to teach our kids tools of life and ways to live. As our kids grow up, we teach them to say their prayers at night and, many times, we will teach the classic, “Now I lay me down to sleep…”

No matter your religious affiliation, many people believe in a God. In the Christian world, prayer is important to us because this is direct communication with God. As our kids grew up, we taught them first and foremost to be thankful and to thank God for all he has blessed us with. Among the many other things we pray for, we ask God to help them to become 3 things, which I feel embody what they should strive for from a biblical perspective:

1. Strong like Samson
“Help me to be Strong like Samson.”
There is a line in a movie that says life will chew you up and spit you out if you let it. In life we have to be strong, and we have to own that strength in 3 ways:

Physically – I think we need to teach our kids to be physically strong. They have to be able to do physical things in life, like “lift this” or “move that.” For example, be able to pick up their bike when they have a wreck or to pick up their sister if mommy and daddy can’t make it there. Physical strength in life is paramount on so many levels that I could write a small book about the topic (but I will leave that for another time).

Mentally – Mental toughness is one of the top keys to being successful in life. We have to be able to handle all that life is going to throw at us. How do we respond to failure? How do we respond to success? How do we respond when things are not going as planned and we want to quit? When the going gets tough, we have to have it between the ears before we have it in our muscles.

Spiritually – Being strong in our faith and having something to rely on that is bigger than us is HUGE. There are going to be times in life when you’re not sure you can make it. If you solely trust in others, they may let you down. We have to be strong spiritually to know that God has everything in control.

Why Samson?
Samson has the reputation of being the strongest person in the Bible. The Bible says that when the child was born, “he grew and the Lord blessed him” (Judges 13:24). The Bible then goes on to tell the story of how Samson was walking through the vineyards and came upon a lion. “The spirit of the Lord came upon him and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands” (Judges 14:6). The angel of the Lord told his mother that this power would grow as the boy got older and as his hair got longer. There are numerous stories in Judges 13-16 of how Samson showed his strength, from killing 30 men to collapsing two pillars that held up an entire building.

Do I want my kids to be exactly like Samson? No, he made mistakes just like all of us do. But I do want them to embody the physical, mental, and spiritual strengths the Lord blessed him with.

2. Tough like Benaiah
There is not a ton about Benaiah in the Bible. I first learned about him from the Mark Batterson book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.  Benaiah exuded toughness.

Toughness. It will get you through almost anything.

When many people think of being tough, they think of the physical aspect. But what most do not realize is the mental toughness it takes to launch headlong into whatever venture you are facing that may be physically taxing.

But why Benaiah? What makes him so tough?

He is faced with an Egyptian giant… and kills him
This is cool, but we have heard this story before (David and Goliath). This time, though, it’s HOW Benaiah did it that makes him stand out. The Egyptian had an enormous spear (weaver’s beam–sized) and Benaiah has nothing but a little club. But no big deal, Benaiah just snatches the spear from the Egyptian and kills him with that instead. That’s hardcore.

Killed a lion
Killing a lion itself is super crazy, but the Bible tells us (2 Samuel 23:20) that he went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day. This is not a deal where he was in a pasture and a lion came up to him; no, out of his own free will did Benaiah go down into the pit and kill a lion. Talk about mental toughness. Lets go one more: it was snowing. I don’t even want to go get the mail when its snowing, much less go fight a lion. I want to teach my kids that toughness will get us through many things in life and how we have to be tough physically and mentally to be great.

3. Wise like Solomon
Soloman was said the be the wisest man in the world. He wrote, he sang, and he taught. But what makes him so wise? And why do I want my children to be like him? In 1 Kings Chapter 3, God comes to Soloman and asks him, “Solomon, ask for anything you
want, and I will give it to you.”

WOW.

And Soloman’s response was, “Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don’t, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours.”

Say what!!! That’s strong!

This is why I want my kids to be wise like Soloman. Because he had enough in him to know that if he obtained wisdom, all the other stuff would follow. He gave up the instant gratification for the delayed riches and honor. It gives me chills to think that my kids and I are praying this into their lives every day.

Prayer is communication with God. When we pour out our hearts he listens. Child-like faith is what causes God to listen. Speak life into your child on a daily basis. In all of these prayers, we explain to our kids why these people are the way they are and why they should want to mimic these traits. It is not just a rote prayer they speak daily; we discuss why they want to be like these 3 giants of faith.

I’d love to hear what you pray with and over your kids every day. Leave it in the comments below.

Coconut Energy Bites

Coconut Energy Bites

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Print

Author: Melissa Griffiths

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded coconut (I like this brand of unsweetened shredded coconut)

  • ½ cup dates

  • ½ cup cashews

  • ½ cup almonds

  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • pinch of sea salt

  • Additional shredded coconut for rolling

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor and blend until the nuts are well chopped and a thick “dough” starts to form, about 3-5 minutes of processing. If the ingredients are chopped into super small pieces but the dough isn’t coming together, try adding a teaspoon of water at a time (up to a tablespoon or two) to encourage everything to come together.

  2. When the ingredients are well incorporated, remove the blade from the food processor. Take 1 large tablespoon of the “dough” and roll it into a ball in between your hands. Roll the ball in additional shredded coconut. Repeat with remaining dough. I keep the balls in the fridge for up to a month or in the freezer much longer.

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Pina Colada Energy Bites

Pina Colada Energy Bites

We are all a fan of the classic flavor Pina Colada, so we figured we would give you a Pina Colada Recipe that you will fall in love with.

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Print

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dried tropical fruits (I use Pineapples Mangos and Apricots)
  • ½ cup dates
  • ½ cup cashews
  • ½ cup almonds
  • pinch of sea salt

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Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor and blend until the nuts are well chopped and a thick “dough” starts to form, about 90 seconds of processing. If the ingredients are chopped into super small pieces but the dough isn’t coming together, try adding a teaspoon of water at a time (up to a tablespoon or two) to combine everything

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  1. When the ingredients are well incorporated, remove the blade from the food processor. Take 1 large tablespoon of the “dough” and roll it into a ball in between your hands. Repeat with remaining dough. I Keep the balls in the fridge for up to a month or in the freezer much longer. If they are too sticky, put a small amount of oil on your hands.

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Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette Dressing

Here is something that you are going to love!

Cilantro lime Vinaigrette

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This is hands down the most favorite dressing we do when it comes up at the salad bar.

It has a little twist that makes it  so good. This is a perfect dressing to go with Fiesta Chicken Salad we talked about not too long ago

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This is a great dressing to go on fajitas or anything with that Hispanic flair. It is super easy and something that you will want to make again and again!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 limes juiced
  • 2/3 c. cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 c. light olive oil do not use extra virgin
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt 

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients for the vinaigrette in a food processor or blender and  blend together until the garlic is well chopped and ingredients have emulsified.
  • Refrigerate

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You know we love to know what you think of our recipes! Please share the pictures of your favorite way to use this awesome Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette and be sure to tag us @mealfit and #mealfit

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Healthy Chocolate Energy Bites

Chocolate is perhaps the thing that people crave the most, and we all know what it’s like to have a sweet tooth. What if you could have a healthy snack that gives you energy, and satisfies your sweet cravings? This is a great snack for kids where you as a parent control the ingredients. If you don’t have children, make them for yourself. These Chocolate Energy Bites are great snacks, and this dessert recipe is easy for you to make.

Hope you enjoy.

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Dark Chocolate and Cherry Energy Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almonds
  • ⅔ cups dried cherries (I like dried tart cherries)
  • ⅔ cup dates
  • pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips, melted

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Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor and blend until the nuts are well chopped and a thick “dough” starts to form, about 3-5 minutes of processing. If the ingredients are chopped into super small pieces but the dough isn’t coming together, try adding a teaspoon of water at a time (up to a tablespoon or two) to encourage everything to come together.

 

2. When the ingredients are well incorporated, remove the blade from the food processor. Take 1 large tablespoon of the “dough” and roll it into a ball in between your hands. Repeat with remaining dough.

3. Drizzle the top of each ball with melted dark chocolate. I keep the balls in the fridge for up to a month or in the freezer much longer.

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Home

Home…..

What is home?

Where is home?

Is home where you grew up?  Is it where you went to elementary school or

High School?

What about college?

Or is it where you have started your family, got married and started having kids?

What about those in the military that have moved 12 times in 20 years?

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One Spring day I was at a barn sale here in Cookeville, Tennessee where my wife and my 3 kids make our current home.  As I was looking at all the trinkets and old barn wood cutouts of the state of Tennessee I thought, “man, those are cool, but I am not a “Tennessee Guy”,  I am an Alabama Guy”.

After all, I lived in one home from the time I was 5 years old till I moved out at 18 and went to college at UAB, in Birmingham, Alabama.

My mom still lives in Hueytown and every time I go back, which is about 5-6 times a year, I take 2 of my 3 kids to do all the things I use to do like exploring a creek and walking through the woods and jumping fences we probably shouldn’t.

I drive by the High School Stadium where we went to the playoffs for the 1st time in 18 years, and drive by the old stadium where my  dad coached at before I was born and was still coaching when I went off to college. I have tons of memories that come flooding back to my mind and I love thinking of all of them.

So is that home?

Or is college home? I made some of the best friends in my life in downtown Birmingham in that old apartment.

Or…Is it a combination of those 2 places?

I lived in Georgia for 2 years and made some great friends but really all I did was work.

I then got married to the greatest woman in the world and moved to North Carolina where I worked 100 hour weeks (Literally) and Jackie worked 70 hour weeks and we had no kids and drank Grape Kool Aid, ate Grilled Chicken and Krinkle Cut French Fries almost every night.

We were not there long before we were fired and HAD to move. SO we ended up in a little town in Tennessee called Cookeville.  Many people wrongly pronounce it “Cooks-ville”. Why? I have no idea, but they do.

For the first 6 months we hated it. We had lived in a town of…

  • 1 million people (Birmingham)

  • 5 million people (Atlanta)

  • 900,000 People (Raleigh)

to Cookeville Population 37,000 and 90 minutes from a mall with no more than an Old Navy and a Marshalls.

We were a young married couple making a whopping $25,000 a year plus tips from Jackie waiting table at Cheddars.  We couldn’t find a church, had no friends and lived 4 hours away from all family.  But as time went on we adjusted and started to like and in some ways love little ol’ Cookeville.

We had 3 kids, found a great church, and made friends that will some day carry our caskets down the aisle when we leave this life.

So, lets get back to the question at hand.

What is home?

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Home is all of the things above. It’s the memories of playing sports as a kid, the church you were baptized in, the school you went to.

It’s the memories of you, your mom, and your dad at the ball park watching your sister play softball.

It’s seeing your dad with a broken nose because he decided to show me how to dive at the apartment pool. Never mind he is 6ft 6 inches tall.

It’s driving by the field where you spent 5 years of your life practicing football.

But it’s also the hospital where your first child was born., the house where your kids pulled sweet potatoes out of the back yard, and the stadium where you coached your first game as a full time college football coach.  It’s the Gym where you and your wife spent hours training to compete, side by side, in the CrossFit Games.  It’s driving by the house you walked around praying for your friends to get pregnant.  It’s going to the swimming hole where your fearless 3-year-old wants to jump off the cliff with daddy.

So, for me to say that one is home and the other is not would be a travesty.

Home is the combination of all the greatest memories you have made.  It’s where you played sports, learned about Jesus, and met your wife

It’s also the place where you quit your job because you knew you were made for something else. The place where your kids learned to ride their bikes and where you and your wife work through a doctor telling you your kid has a disease that only 3 in every 1 million kids ever get.

Will I ever leave the hills of Tennessee and go back to Sweet Home Alabama or go to another place the Lord will lead us?

I really don’t know. Only God knows.  But I do know that for me and my house this is the best depiction of Home.

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Tasty Tomato Basil Soup Recipe

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The weather is changing and when it does everyone loves soups. We are going to be throwing out our favorite soup recipes. Hope you enjoy.

This is an amazing soup that we have on our salad bar at MealFit Salads in Cookeville, Tennessee. This is a pretty easy dish and will be great to have with a good old fashioned grilled cheese made with our Gluten Free Grain Free bead.

Another great thing about this meal is, is that we are using Ameo Essential Oils in the recipe. I love these things.

The cost saving coupled with the flavor is unreal. You cannot go wrong with using these in cooking.

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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
• 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
• 1 tbsp crushed garlic
• 1 14 oz can chicken broth {or 2 cups}
• 2 Tbsp sugar
• ⅓ cup butter
• 1 cup heavy cream
1 Drop of Basil ameo essential oils. Click the Link to Purchase!

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Combine the tomatoes, broth, and garlic bring to a boil and let boil for 10 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the sugar and butter and mix until they are dissolved, melted and well combined.
3. Very slowly pour in the heavy cream while simultaneously stirring until all the cream is combined and the soup is creamy.
4. At this stage if you have an emersion blender use it to make the soup as chunky or as thin as you like.
5. Stir in the basil and enjoy.

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Creative Appetizer Recipe

Plum and Goat Cheese 

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This is an amazing snack or appetizer for any kind of gathering. If you are throwing a dinner party or are just having friends over, this dish will get you attention. The holidays are near, and the parties will soon start. This is will be the one creative holiday recipes you will be happy you made.

Ingredients:

  • 5 Plumbs

  • Olive oil for drizzling

  • 2 pinches of MealFit Salt and pepper mix

  • 8 oz Goat cheese

  • Fresh basil for garnish and flavor.

  • 2 tbsp Chopped Seeds or  nuts

  • Balsamic vinegar for drizzle.

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Directions:

  • Heat oven to 400

  • Cut the plums and take out the pit.

  • Place them cut side up and drizzle olive oil on them

  • Sprinkle Mealfit Salt and pepper mix on them and top with some fresh basil.

  • Bake for 15 min

  • Let cool and spread some goat cheese.

  • Prepare to be amazed at this combination.

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Many would not think this is as good as it is, but it’s truly got a wonderful taste. 

Try it out, and enjoy!

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