Family Life

Michelle Duggar on Healthy Changes for the Whole Family

posted: 05/23/13
by: Michelle Duggar


Photo: DCL

Question from a "19 Kids and Counting" fan: Has Jim Bob's change to a healthier lifestyle affected mealtime for the rest of the family?

Jim Bob is definitely eating a lot more fresh vegetables, fish and chicken and trying to stay away from fried foods. He's really eating smaller portions and avoiding the junk food. The family's food has changed a lot along with Jim Bob's. My kids really love fresh vegetables and fruit. When we can keep it in the house and get it at a good price, we really stock up. Right now, we have our whole counter and refrigerator full of produce that we were able to get really reasonably priced at the store and at the farmers' market. We're trying to get healthier in our choices by eating more fresh stuff. Then if we can't get fresh, I buy frozen because that's next to the best in the fruits and veggies category.

Our new garden is another step in the right direction. We have tried to garden before and never managed to have it produce very well, but we are trying again. The planting process has begun: My boys have really been venturing into gardening; Jason leads the pack in that area. These boys are in the dirt having fun and following Jason's ordersto "dig over here," and "don't do that" and "make sure you put that here."

We're trying to grow a variety of things, but we have some favorites. If we could, we would have nothing but cucumbers and tomatoes and some squash. We could just eat our weight in cucumbers! I don't think they ever last long enough around here to turn into pickles (another Duggar favorite).

We started some of our sprouts indoors and the little ones love to watch them grow. We're sprouting them in water and not dirt, so it's a little different to watch the process. Those go on our salads, which we pretty much have every day for at least lunch, if not both lunch and dinner. Of course, some of the kids will pick off certain things like the bell peppers and onions. But they're still there, and they're offered as part of the meal.

They're allowed to set them aside if it's something that bothers their tummy or their tongue. I'm not a real stickler about making them eat - I will give small amounts, like a tablespoon, of new things on their plates. And I tell them what I put there is for them to eat. And then after that, if they don't like it, then they don't have to go back for seconds of that. I want their palate to be extended a little bit so they learn some new flavors and textures. I tell them out of graciousness to the cook, to always say thank you for the meal whether they like it or not. You should express gratitude to the one who labored to prepare it. And they're not supposed to say "I don't like this." That is a major no-no. They can instead say, "I don't think I would like more of this, but thank you." It's a whole learning process for the little ones.

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