Believe it or not, there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to buying the best yogurt for babies! Should you buy sweetened or plain, conventional or organic, whole fat or low fat? Read on for a detailed rundown of what you should be looking for!
All the info in video format for those of you who prefer!
Should Babies Have Yogurt?
Many parents are concerned with whether they should be giving their babies yogurt or not. So let's clear that up first!
Yogurt is a great option for babies, even as one of their first foods. Milk to drink is the main thing that should be avoided under one, not all dairy. Yogurt is a source of good fats that can support healthy brain development. It is also a great source of probiotics and is a favorite food of many babies, which doesn't hurt!
First and foremost, you should be buying your baby whole milk yogurt. That is the number one recommendation. Babies need a high fat diet to help with brain development, and full fat dairy is a great way to provide that.
Greek Vs Regular
As far as greek yogurt versus regular, it really comes down to personal preference. I prefer greek yogurt because it has more protein in it than regular. If you are letting your baby self-feed, it also stays on the spoon better than regular yogurt does! That's always a plus in my book.
Plain or Flavored
One of my biggest nutritional recommendations is to start your baby on plain yogurts. Between 6 months to 1 year, babies are great little food explorers and are open to most foods. Most babies have absolutely no problem with plain yogurt. It is the parents that feel the preference for flavored usually, not the baby!
Babies under one really do not need to have a flavored yogurt that is sweetened with anything. That includes some of the brands marketed directly for babies. Next time you are in a store, find one of the baby yogurts and compare the grams of sugar in a plain yogurt to those in a flavored one. The last time I did this, the flavored one had an entire teaspoon of added sugar in one 4oz container! Keep in mind if you do this little experiment that you should use a plain version of the yogurt as a comparison. Milk has naturally occurring sugars that shouldn't be considered as added sweetener. Use the plain one to figure out how much of the sugars in the flavored one are from the milk.
I know that there are a few yogurt brands out there that have recently created some unsweetened, flavored yogurts. If you can find these, then that is fine. But unsweetened means with anything, including artificial sweeteners, stevia, or agave. I might even include fruit juice in my list of sweeteners, depending on how much is added to the container.
Don't get me wrong, I by no means think that sugar or sweeteners are evil! They are just unnecessary when it comes to a baby under one who is learning what they like to begin with. Start them off on the right foot!
If you happen to have a baby who doesn't take to plain yogurt and you have tried multiple times, there are some quick ways you can flavor your yogurt at home. You can also do this just to switch it up if your baby doesn't mind the flavor of the plain yogurt, too. I like to add a little peanut butter to my greek yogurt. You can also boil down some frozen fruit with nothing added and use that as a fruit flavor. I'd love to hear some of your own yogurt flavoring ideas!
Organic Vs Conventional
This is always a hot topic in nutrition. Organic is by no means necessary when it comes to dairy and babies. Organic dairy can be quite expensive, and if you do not have the budget to buy organic, that is perfectly fine. If your budget allows, I would choose organic in this case, though. I won't get into the reasons for choosing organic here, but when it comes to babies and dairy I prefer to err on the side of caution.
Yogurt can be a source of great nutritional benefits for babies. Starting at 6 months, you can feed your baby yogurt. Choose a yogurt that is full fat, plain, and organic if your budget allows. Regular vs Greek yogurt is primarily about preference when they are babies.