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From VIP entrances in Versace to service entrances in my apron

  • Julie Anne Rhodes

How To Get Your Kids To Eat Vegetables

Do you struggle to get your kids to eat vegetables? Vegetables can have a strong, pungent flavor young palates may have trouble dealing with, but is that the only reason you have picky eaters on your hands?

Tatjana Rhodes and friend

How to convert your picky vegetable eaters

My friends have to asked me many times how I managed to get Tatjana to eat her vegetables without complaining. In all honesty it was never really ever a problem to get her to like vegetables, and here’s why:

Tatjana and Julie Anne Rhodes in Hello Magazine

Tatjana and Julie Anne Rhodes for Hello Magazine

1). Model behavior: Tatjana ate what we we ate. Are you setting a good example? Children model their behavior on those around them. Why would your children want to eat something you clearly don’t like or eat yourself?

Orange Scented Beet Salad

Orange Scented Beet Salad: Roasting vegetables brings out the natural sugars

2). Communication: I didn’t give her options. She either ate or didn’t eat, but we did not make french fry peace offerings to avoid conflict. If she complained, we discussed it.

Cardamom Carrots

Cardamom Carrots

3). I also didn’t make it an issue: We didn’t force her to eat something she didn’t like – although I would always encourage her to at least try one bite. Making a child eat something they clearly destest will more than likely put them off that food for life. Tatjana’s school forced her to eat fish pie whenever it was on the school menu. She wrote a poem about how much she hated it when she was seven, and shared it in a school assembly. To this day, she can’t bring herself to eat any form of seafood as a result.

Pesto Vegetables

Pesto Vegetables – break the steamed veg rut and try different preparations

4). Get out of your steamed or boiled vegetable rut: No one wants to eat a food prepared exactly the same way night after night. Plus, different preparations may make a vegetable more palpable to young palates – for instance, Tatjana wasn’t a fan of green beans until I served them roasted instead of steamed. The Personal Chef Approach has literally hundreds of recipes that can help you avoid boredom!

Curry Roasted Cauliflower

Curry Roasted Cauliflower

5). Make vegetables an adventure: Let your kids shop with you for interesting new vegetables, experiment with various cuisines, and cook together whenever possible.

Tatjana Rhodes

Tatjana Rhodes

Tatjana is my favorite assistant in the kitchen. Something about being alone together working with our hands allows us to speak much more uninhibitedly with one and other. We share the events of our day, anything bothering or challenging us, and offer each other support much more freely. Plus, I like to think I am imparting a skill that will serve her well throughout life.

Cooking together can also help sharpen math and science skills, so I think it’s a winner all the way round to share Personal Chef Approach cook dates with our children – just be sure to allocate age appropriate tasks (you don’t want a 3 year old wielding a chef’s knife, but they can dump remeasured ingredients into a bowl).

Make shopping for vegetables together an adventure

Make shopping for vegetables together an adventure

Bonus tip: Combinations: I did not grow up eating a wide array of fresh vegetables, so I adapted my palate for veggies over time. Combining vegetables with other foods can help. This Spaghetti with Broccoli was one of the recipes that really sped up the process, and it wasn’t long before I enjoyed broccoli on it’s own, so maybe it will help with your picky eaters…

Spaghetti with Broccoli

Spaghetti with Broccoli

The juxtaposed textures of the al dente spaghetti and the crisp-tender broccoli are surprising, yet pleasing. As is the slight saltiness of the pasta with the hint of sweetness from the broccoli. Then add fruity olive oil, fragrant garlic, and a hint of heat topped off with grated Parmesan for a sublimely simple yet exquisite side dish.

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

  • 1 large broccoli cut into florets

  • 1 package spaghetti whole grain or regular

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large garlic minced

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional or to taste

  • 1/4 cup Parmesan grated plus more for serving

  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted (the water should taste like the sea) water with a splash of olive oil to a boil.

  2. Meanwhile, steam broccoli until crisp-tender, about 5-6 minutes. Blanche (toss into an ice bath to stop the cooking process and retain the bright green color, then drain well); set aside.

  3. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and add back to the saucepan.

  4. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour over pasta in sauce pan.

  5. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan and broccoli back into the pan and toss well with tongs.


Serve hot with more Parmesan sprinkled over the top if desired.


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