Help! How To Pick The Best Yoghurt Tub

Baby bring fed yoghurt by mum

This is a question parents often ask!

We know that yoghurt is a great and super versatile food to include when starting solids (and beyond!).  But there are so many options out there and many are marketed as being “kid friendly”...

So, what should you be looking for?

Firstly, why include yoghurt:

Yoghurt is a great texture for little ones starting solids as it is smooth, yet thick enough to stay on a spoon, but also runny enough that it is easy to swallow. There isn’t any texture modification needed, which makes it an easy option for parents. Add in some fruit, oats or a nut butter to make it a wonderful meal, or you can mash through some avocado and lemon juice to turn it into an awesome dipping sauce for finger foods.

A reminder that yoghurt is also a top 9 allergen, so if you haven't introduced dairy yet check out our resource on how to introduce allergens.

Yoghurt is also a nutrition gold mine!

It is filled with protein, calcium, vitamin A and B, zinc (so important for immune function and growth) in addition to some beautiful fats (again important for energy, growth, immune function and preventing constipation!). We haven’t even touched on the probiotics; yoghurt is packed full of all those good bacteria that are so beneficial for gut health. However, not all yoghurts are created equal and there are definitely things to keep an eye out for.

What to look for:

  • Full fat (aiming for more than 3.5g per 100g of fat and avoid anything less than 3g per 100g as this is low fat)
  • No added sugar (often flavoured yoghurts have added sugar and this can be in the form of added fruit juice or concentrate too so keep an eye on this)
  • Greek yoghurts are usually one of the best options. If you want to flavour it, then adding fruit or nut butters yourself is the easiest way to do this.
  • Good source of protein- looking for something ideally with at least 3-4g of protein per 100g

Non-dairy Yoghurts:

In the last few years there has been an explosion of plant based yoghurts on the supermarket shelves (almond, soy, oat and coconut!). Although more options are great, especially for allergy families, these yoghurt don't offer the same nutrition as cow's milk yogurts so there are a few things to look for:

  • You want to pick a yoghurt that also has added calcium. Plant based yogurts won't be naturally packed with calcium like cow's milk yoghurts. Many dairy free yoghurts have a LOT less calcium and some have none! Adding in unhulled tahini, almond butter and chia seeds can boost the calcium.
  • Many plant based yoghurts are also low in protein so adding in a nut butter or hemp seeds can boost the protein too.
  • As you can see- dairy free yoghurts are not a direct swap nutritionally to a cow’s milk yoghurt. Adding a calcium and protein rich food can help, but it is best to offer these types of yoghurts alongside a snack or meal rather than as the main food on offer. Many of these types of yoghurts have lots of added sugar too. Check out our resource or buying yoghurts for dairy free kids here.

Yoghurt on the go and should you use pouches:

If you are looking for something convenient like a pouch, be mindful that pouches are often low in fat and high in sugar. Where possible, still serve the pouch of yoghurt in a bowl and with a spoon. This is a good idea so that we are practicing those all-important feeding skills.

Check out our resource here on buying yoghurt pouches.

You can also buy reusable silicon and plastic pouches that you can fill with the yoghurt you usually buy i.e from a much more affordable big tub! This is much cheaper than purchasing your disposable pouches of yoghurt (and better for the environment!).

However, they can be a little fiddly to clean. We do recommend limiting pouches to when you really need them and not using them every day. Another easy option is just putting your usual yoghurt into a normal reusable container.

The take home:

Yoghurt is excellent to introduce early on into your bub’s diet. When looking for yoghurt a traditional full fat Greek yoghurt with no added sugar is the easiest and best option on the supermarket shelves. Add flavours yourself at home like fruit and nut butters!