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.

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.

The Season After the Season

A coach will impact more people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime

We have a few weeks left of the football season, less than 10 practices mean the transition to “post season” has mentally begun in our house.  On the way to the game on Halloween, our almost 9 year old commented on how “fast” this season has been.  I have to disagree when I look at the calendar and realize we’ve been “In Season” since the last week in July.  At the same time, I have to admit I’m looking forward to an unscheduled weekend.

As the season wraps up I often answer the same conversations.  I have to preface this by saying that (thankfully) these questions are not asked by our current campus’ administration.  New fans from the community or a random parent at school seem to be the most curious.

End of the season questions:

1-So, what will Ordell do now that he has all this free time?  Ummm….I have no idea because he has no free time.  Yes, the competition on the field is over for now, but on top of keeping his current players engaged the recruiting season is ramping up.  Hard as this might be to believe, it’s quite possible we’ll see less of our favorite coach until signing day.

2-I saw on twitter the team met at 5 am, isn’t that a lot of sitting around for the staff until practice? NOPE!  A 5 am meeting means the coaches might actually get through their whole “to do” list before practice.  (Why 5 am? It’s the only time the teams can occupy the computer labs uninterrupted.)  After that 5 am meeting there are team lifting sessions, a staff meeting, film breakdown and evaluation, phone calls and emails to return, individual player meetings. more team lifting, study hall, team position meetings then practice planning.  Don’t forget in the middle of that recruiting is still going on.

3-Are you taking a vacation after the season? No, unless by vacation you mean tagging along on a recruiting trip.  Besides the fact that our kids are in public school there is no time for a family vacation in the middle of the school year.

4-So, what will Ordell do until next August? OR What is Ordell’s other job? At the risk of sounding repetitive…recruit.  Yep, I know it doesn’t sound like it should take up all that much time, but I’m here to tell you there are never enough days on the calendar for recruiting. Some coaches teach or adjunct at their schools, some coaches work outside jobs.  We have been blessed to be able to have Ordell almost exclusively coach with the occasional adjuncting if it worked out.  The days are rarely 9-5 even after November.  When recruiting comes into play students aren’t available until 4 pm or later.  The days are filled with continued meetings with current players in group and individual settings.  Leadership development and weight lifting go year round.  Players will practice on their own until spring when a whole other season called “Spring Ball” comes around.  Additionally, meetings with professors, college VP’s, other coaches and vendors all occur throughout the weeks leading up to summer.

5-Will the boys get more of Ordell’s attention after the season? Honestly, no and that’s because Ordell is a very present father regardless of the season.  He drives them to school, plays video games with them when he gets home sometimes delaying dinner to do so.  He’s awake with them in the mornings some days through the week and carves out time for special activities like going to a movie or shooting some hoops on the weekend.  Quality time will likely not change.  Quantity time may increase, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more attention.

6-Will your schedule clear up after the season?  Yes!  But this doesn’t have anything to do with the end of football.  My season clears up because the college semester is wrapping up and both of my campus roles slow down when school isn’t in session.  The timing on this is perfect since a traveling husband means less flexibility for me.

Society often encourages the label of “busy” to be worn as a badge of honor.  For some people, busyness is a choice.  For a football coach (outside of choosing the profession in the first place) a busy schedule is a given…year round.