Another edition of our series on "Small But Mighty" companies launched to solve some diabetes-related problem by individuals walking in our D-shoes...
Ever looked in your fridge and thought "I have absolutely nothing to feed my family!"? Kimberly Coen sympathizes. As a mom of two girls (including one with diabetes), she discovered the challenges in figuring out healthy, yet kid-friendly, meals to serve her family on a daily basis. Planning healthy meals is hard work to begin with, but add in carbohydrate counting and other BG-related variables in food, and many of us are easily overwhelmed.
Kimberly is a naturally well-organized woman, so she honed her planning skills and launched Meal Mommy, a web-based service that provides a weekly grocery list, along with five days' worth of healthy, diabetes friendly, kid-tasted recipes for dinner with all of the nutritional information included. Monthly memberships for the service are pretty reasonable too — choose a month-by-month service at $10 a pop, or you can get six months for $50, or an entire year for $90. Kimberly says her own planning has helped her save time and money at the grocery store, while also providing healthier food for her family.
We chatted with Kimberly to find out more about her story and how MealMommy works:
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KC) Lily (center, in photo at right) was diagnosed in October 2007 at the age of 3. She had been tugging at her panties frequently and I thought maybe she had a vaginal infection. That led us to the doctor and they took a urine sample to see if she had a urinary tract infection. Her blood sugar was in the low 300's so they sent us straight to the hospital where Lily was admitted for 5 days. Fortunately, she was never in DKA and did not appear to be sick at all. We were floored. No one in our family is diabetic. It's still amazing to me how something I never thought of... diabetes... quickly became the most used word in our house. Lily now wears the Omnipod pump and a Dexcom CGMS. She is doing very well and is a very happy, very normal, fun-loving almost first grader!
Where did you get the idea for MealMommy.com?
Immediately upon Lily's diagnosis, I started educating myself on all things having to do with diabetes. I wanted to learn everything that I could to help ensure that my daughter lead a long, healthy, happy life. I found the nutrition side of things to be fascinating. I started studying it, made appointments with nutritionists, and even planned a huge seminar in Houston covering the Glycemic Index. I learned so much valuable information and I was excited. As I started to meet other families living with type 1, the common complaint amongst the mothers was not knowing what to feed their children. So, MealMommy was born.
How exactly does the MealMommy.com service work?
Every Friday morning our members receive an email with the updated recipe list. Once on the site, you can log in and see 5 recipes with a printable grocery list. Each recipe has the serving amount (i.e. 1/2 cup, 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup berries, etc.) and the carb count for the meal. The recipes include not only the entree but the sides as well, since most of the carbs in a meal come from the side dish.
The grocery list is divided into sections to make shopping easier. For example, there are "shelved" items and "frozen/refrigerated" items. The food is all family focused and has been tested by my family! The site also offers a monthly Featured Family and two expert blogs: Words From The Wise and Family Fun. Diabetes experts and a family consultant write these blogs on topics that are helpful to families living with diabetes. For example, June's blogs are about bullying and July's blogs are about eating disorders and diabetes. I also write a weekly blog called Mommy Memoirs about our experience with diabetes.
So do you have a dietitian on staff to help you with the nutrition information?
No, I do not. I use a software program that is for nutritionists that is based on the USDA standards. I type in the exact amounts of a recipe and it gives me a nutritional label. I also have a nutritionist on hand to answer any questions I may have, but she is not on staff.
What kind of recipes do you try to feature? Low-carb? Vegetarian? Do you have gluten-free recipes too?
Our recipes are all family focused, healthy, lower Glycemic Index recipes. They are not low-carb but are "good carb," meaning nutrition-rich choices that have carbs, but are not high-carb recipes, either. I do not currently have any gluten-free recipes. Most weeks we feature several recipes that can be made vegetarian easily. I do make a few that are vegetarian as well but that is not my focus.
MealMommy.com is still pretty new, what's been the initial feedback?
The feedback has been nothing but positive so far! I had a mother call me Saturday morning to thank me for creating the site, since it has made her life much easier. That made my day! I truly want to help other families by sharing both my hard work in the kitchen and all that I have learned!
Sounds like a great idea, Kimberly. What parent couldn't use help with the daunting chore of figuring out what's for dinner, which just seems to keep coming at you, day after day after day? ;)