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Customers gobble up Manhattan woman’s meal planners

By Kristina Jackson

As junk food for every meal seems to become more and more normal, Lindsay Siebert tries to make it easier for people to make nutritious, home-cooked meals for their families.

Siebert began selling her “My Family Meal Planner” in 2006 and has since expanded the series to include a variety of dietary preferences and requirements. Siebert said she has grown her business because she has seen how it has helped people.

“It’s pretty exciting,” she said. “I never imagined that this would turn into what it has and be sold all over the country. It’s neat to hear stories from customers about how much time it’s saved them and that their kids are eating the food.”

Siebert has a degree in business from Kansas State University and is married with four children between the ages of 4 and 14. The idea for her meal planners started as a gift idea for her sister, who also at the time had four children.

Siebert and her family had agreed to make each other gifts that year, so Siebert put together a weekly grocery list and recipes for her sister, who she said called her a couple times a week to ask what she was making.

“I was so excited I gave it to her at the end of October,” Siebert said.

Now, 10 years later, Siebert travels to events in Oklahoma City and Omaha, as well as smaller ones closer to home, to sell her planners. The original “My Family Meal Planner” has been joined by “Light,” “Light and Clean,” “Slow Cooker,” “Meat Optional” and others. Siebert said she collects recipes from friends or online and tweaks them to make them her own. Each recipe in the planner is also accompanied by nutritional information, and the book also comes with a notepad of weekly grocery lists for the year. A few years ago Siebert developed a mobile app for download on smart phones that also includes the recipes, nutritional information and grocery list.

“I look for things that are quick, easy and with not many ingredients,” Siebert said. “Nothing fancy. If I can’t pronounce it, I’m not going to cook with it.”

She also tries to include ways to make the recipes diabetic friendly and heart healthy. Siebert worked with Teresa Sanborn, a local dietitian, to figure out ways to meet these requirements and to make the planners as well balanced as possible.

“People are looking for recipes that don’t have a bunch of additives,” Sanborn said.

The two met at an event where Siebert was selling her planners and ended up collaborating on the “Light” meal planner and again on the “Light and Clean” edition. Sanborn offered help creating the nutritional information for each recipe and said the planners help people eat better and cook at home rather than eating out.

“The trend is to help people get back to cooking in the home,” Sanborn said. “Consumers are going in that direction. Despite someone being overweight, they know what they should be doing.”

Sanborn said she loves having the resource locally from someone like Siebert.

“She’s a stay-at-home mom, but she has this and she’s juggling both of those,” Sanborn said.

It’s one of the reasons Siebert can relate to many of her customers. She hears from people who, like her, are trying to get nutritious food on the table for themselves and their families. “There’s a sense of pride that I was able to create this and that it’s helping so many busy moms get dinner on the table instead of going through the drive through,” Siebert said. “They can get ready for the grocery store in five minutes and know what they’re cooking.”

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