Mixing foods is a strategy commonly used by parents for picky eaters. Sneaking spinach into muffins and putting kale into strawberry smoothies are good examples of this. While this strategy can be effective at increasing nutritional intake, it does have some limits.
The most obvious one is that this method would need to be maintained for those nonpreferred foods to be consumed. It doesn’t address the actual habit of picky eating outside of eating those items when hidden in other foods.
While some people do breathe a sigh of relief when they are able to sneak some greens into a smoothie, parents should realize that they will not always have this ability when they go on trips or when the child grows up.
There are, however, effective feeding therapies that involve some aspects of this method, but these are carried out systematically. In such therapy, the amount of nonpreferred food mixed in preferred food is gradually increased until the food is 100% non-preferred. It’s important to note that the method of integrating non-preferred food is just one of many that treat picky eating, and it is not necessarily the most effective one.
There are many other techniques that directly deal with picky eating. Whichever one(s) you use, it’s important to address picky eating while a child is still young, because younger children are more malleable to change.
For more information on feeding disorders, please visit: http://pediatricfeeding.com/feeding-disorders.