Meal Prep Plan for Any Season

Meals PrepPlan for AnySeason

I’ve just completed my second restricted diet due to my thyroid being unbalanced and as with most things, the second time was avoidable had I learned my lesson the first time. That’s ok though, because now that I know “a little bit of gluten” WILL actually hurt I’m much more willing to go through the hassle of preparing three meals a day that I can safely eat.

The biggest meal hassles come during the times when our family is in-season. This year We’ve had someone in-season for 10 out of 12 months and the two out of season months were November and December. Add that to the fact that my boys now eat like men and I’m working full-time for the first time with kids and this Mama needed to implement an easily executable plan for any season.

Rules:

  • Gluten free when possible
  • Mama doesn’t cook on Sundays
  • Variety
  • I’m ok with eating something completely different than my guys

Breakfast:

My three top breakfasts are listed below. I rotate these with protein shakes and usually have a piece of fruit.

1.Healthy Pumpkin Muffins (with Gluten-Free oats)

2. Banana Muffins

  • Gluten-free yellow or chocolate cake mix
  • Frozen fruit or mini chocolate chips
  • 3 mashed bananas

Bake 350 for 15 minutes

3. Frittata if not having eggs for lunch (eggs and veggies baked in a pie dish, 4 servings)

Grab and Go:

  • Raw fusion protein shake with unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Vega or Go Macro Protein bars

Lunch:

My favorite lunch rotates, I usually have grilled chicken strips in the freezer that I will heat up with roasted veggies. The next option is a lettuce wrap (check out this tutorial from Against All Grain). Hummus with gluten-free crackers and veggies is another easy choice.

  • Egg salad (Instant Pot: 6 eggs, 1 1/4 c water, 4 min on manual; quick release and put eggs in an ice bath)
  • Roasted veggies (2 trays at a time, my favorite combo is: sweet potatoes, peppers, onion, carrots; add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper)
  • Prep fresh veggies (carrots, celery, mini peppers) and Dip
  • Hummus

Grab and Go:

  • Fruit, protein bar/shake, veggies, almonds
  • Gluten-free pretzels

Dinners:

Dinners are the only meal I prep for our family. Thankfully the boys are all capable of getting breakfasts and lunches on their own and cleaning up for themselves. While I find that some meals aren’t good when frozen first, there is almost always at least a portion that can be made ahead of time. There are endless options for meal plans so I decided to just give you an idea of what I made this time.

  • Ground chicken tacos  (frozen)
  • Chicken and veggie “fried” rice  (in fridge to eat this week)
  • Chicken and banana pepper sandwiches  (combined with frozen chicken)
  • Satay chicken, peppers and onions (combined with frozen chicken)
  • Chicken enchilada bake -freeze rice separately or make rice day of meal. I swap refried beans for black beans and pinto beans.  (combined with frozen chicken)
  • 3 pizza doughs
  • Pizza sauce
  • Chicken pot pie (double filling/freeze 1)

This list here is 12 meals. I baked chicken to add to the fried rice and chicken pot pie fillings. I also made the taco and added them to the freezer. Everything in the freezer can be taken out and thawed day of consumption. Instant pot or baked will work.

On hand Ingredients for quick meals:

Even when I haven’t had time to prep the week’s meals I’ve found that a well-stocked freezer will keep my guys happy. Meatballs can be added to pasta with frozen veggies or mixed with marinara for sandwiches. Tator tots are a quick side dish that can also double as a filling in some casserole dishes.

When the guys are eating chicken pot pie I’ll eat leftover chicken fried rice. When they have pizza I have my own on a gf crust. While burgers make the rotation a few times a month they weren’t on this week’s menu. They are also a great quick meal and can be prepped ahead of time.

Through the summer this will adjust to incorporate grilling several times a week and roasted veggies will be exchanged for grilled veggies and fresh salads.

Good luck and remember in whatever season you are in, this too shall pass. Eating chicken nuggets and apple slices at home is always better than from a restaurant, but when a drive-thru is needed it’s always appreciated.

To the Football Mama Who is Still Skeptical

 

To the Football Mama Who is Still Skeptical

Dear Mama,

I saw you out of the corner of my eye last night. I could tell you were surprised to hear my husband speak so honestly about the team. As he explained his philosophy about football being more than just a game, that it is also a tool to teach players to become men you seemed interested. He asked for your help in this journey and I could see the hesitation.

If you have had similar Mama experiences to the ones I’ve endured you know that not all coaches are the same. Coaching philosophies are as varied as coaches and you have likely had a coach let you down a time or two. If not you, then your son has certainly experienced disappointment from a coach who revealed their commitment was perhaps not all they originally presented.

I understand disappointment too Mama. My sons have had coaches who have built up their self-esteem, and those who have instead caused them to doubt their ability. I’ve experienced the frustration of a team that doesn’t live up to its potential and watched as disappointment overshadowed all that could be.

One Mama to another, I wanted you to know that I’m just as hopeful for this football season as you are. More than that, I’m expectant. You see, although you heard your son’s new coach’s philosophy talk for the first time, I’ve heard it much more. It was not my first, nor last time hearing my husband speak about the passion that drives him, the conviction that we both have.

I wonder if I might be able to set your mind at ease a bit as we begin this journey together. Our paths won’t align for long in the timeline of a lifetime, but the principles my husband will work tirelessly to teach your son will stay with him a long time. I know this because not a year goes by without former players reminding us of how their time playing football for my husband has shaped their future.

Further, Mama, your son is in good hands. His new football coach will be setting a new tone, but he is doing it with a lot of attention to detail. His job does not end when he leaves the field. Outside of teaching and coaching hours, he is watching game film, preparing team talks, meeting with coaches, reading for personal development, and watching more film.

He’s also doing some things much more important than all listed above. First, he’s working to develop our two sons at home into the leaders and men he believes they can be. Second, he’s practicing what he preaches. He’s serving his family, treating people with respect, working hard to respond well in tough situations, and striving to be a great communicator.

The season waits ahead of us, and regardless of buy-in games, practices, lifting, study hall, travel, and fundraisers will all happen. We don’t know what the scoreboard will show when the timer runs out, but the thing is, we can have a successful season regardless.

There are so many battles to win besides the one that happens Friday nights under the lights. And the best part is that all these other battles can all be won when the best decisions (not always the easiest) are executed. As your son is faced with decisions to encourage instead of complaining, speak respectfully instead of arguing, play with excellence instead of laziness you can cheer him on, and remind him when he needs it.

Don’t hesitate, Mama, you aren’t alone in this process. Your son’s football coach is doing his part. I know, because I’ve watched him do it for 16 years, and he isn’t stopping anytime soon. Regardless of past experiences, this time a great coach is leading things. Trust the process, it will be worth it.

 

On Transition

This is November-January are some of the hardest months for me when it comes to the college football life.  These are the months when friends lose jobs, friends move, and other coaches transition onto staffs all over the country.  January especially seems to be the month when families live apart while new jobs begin.

It is in these months that other coach’s wives become my lifeline to keeping perspective on the realities of this lifestyle.  One wife summarized this season so well.  She said December is the month certain topics of conversation are not entered into, and distance may be needed while decisions are made and above all remember it’s not personal.  (Although let’s be honest…sometimes it is personal)

Having been the staff that was left behind and the staff that moved on leaving others behind I’ve seen a few trends pop up.  I wasn’t sure if they are just unique to my life or universal until I asked a few coach’s wives about a transition.  Their thoughts were so similar to mine I thought I’d share a few things to consider when in transition.

When leaving don’t say things out of guilt.  Say what is true, and say as little as necessary.  What do I mean?  As someone on the receiving end, I’d much rather hear I’ve loved my time on this staff, thanks for all the fun times instead of I’m so sad to be leaving, I wish this could be different, I know I’ll never have as much fun anywhere else…because the reality is often times you aren’t sad to be leaving, you are excited to be leaving, and you don’t wish things were different.  Now I know, someone is going to jump in with “some moves can’t be avoided, ” and that may be true, but you are still better off leaving with a “thanks” than a regret.

When leaving remember others lives are changing too.  In our most recent move we left a place, we’d lived for 10 years.  That meant that we had watched 2 full classes of students graduate.  We had our boys there are students watched our kids grow up for the first several years of their lives.  When they came to say goodbye they were not only saying goodbye to our family, but to our house, to the expectation of seeing us at homecoming, to the hope of living in our basement, us attending their wedding and whatever else they had depended on.  We had many people who came over the day the truck was being loaded who wanted to walk around our house one more time.  It surprised me until I realized they had memories in our house as well and needed to have closure in their own way.

I was also surprised by how many text messages we got the first homecoming we were not in the cornfields anymore, and how bothered some were when they found out we had bought a new car and I no longer drove the white CR-V I’d driven for years.  “But every time I see a white CR-V I think of you” was said A LOT. (yes, we moved from a VERY small town 😉 )

All of these experiences were a great reminder for me that not only did we make an impact where we were, but that our home was a place memories could be made.

When leaving people may think you are doing the wrong thing…they may be right.

When leaving people may think you are doing the wrong thing…they may be wrong.

When staying behind remember we are called to bloom where we are planted.  It may sting that you aren’t going, but there is likely a team that is happy you are still around.  Love on them and move forward.

When staying welcome in the new staff quickly.  They are transitioning, and there is a lot to learn about the community, team, and school. Help when asked, offer help when possible.

When staying or leaving new staff dynamics are a good time look at how things can improve.  Every staff has a personality, and new people will shift that.  Some traditions may need to end, others begin.

When staying or leaving enjoy the ride…it is a crazy life this football life and to say it is without emotions would be a lie.  Have fun exploring where ever you are, invest time in the people around you and bloom where you are planted.

When looking in from the outside please be aware it is very unlikely you will ever know the full story as to why staff is transitioning….and you shouldn’t.

When looking in from the outside, the new staff doesn’t want to be compared to those who left.  They will live their lives differently, the team will look different, and that is ok!

When looking in from the outside remember that the life of a football coach involves transition.  Don’t ask when the rest of the staff will move, they may not know, and they can’t tell you anyway.