Are Kids Yoghurts Actually Healthy Snacks?

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kids yogurts

Do you give your child yoghurt as a snack? Public Health Liverpool has done some analysis on the sugar levels in popular yoghurts to answer the question: are kids yoghurts actually healthy snacks? You may be a bit shocked.

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If you’re like me and always considered yoghurt to be a healthy snack and a good source of calcium and protein that can help children develop strong bones and teeth, then read on to find the results of analysis done by Public Health Liverpool who measured the amount of sugar in popular yoghurts.

Maximum Recommended Daily Sugar for Kids

sugar cubes

Just to remind you there is a recommended Maximum Daily Allowance or MDA which is the maximum amount of sugar that kids of all ages should have every day to stay healthy.

The recommended maximum amount of sugar is

  • 4-6 years 5 sugar cubes
  • 7-10 years 6 sugar cubes
  • 11+ 7 sugar cubes

where 1 sugar cube = 4g of sugar

Recommended reading: Do You Know How Much Sugar Per Day Your Child Should Eat?

Popular Kids Yoghurts Analysed

When Public Health Liverpool analysed popular yoghurts eaten by kids they found that some yogurts can contain over 4 sugar cubes! This means that just one pot can put your child worryingly close to their maximum daily allowance, so it’s really important to keep an eye on how much sugar you’re giving your children and try to choose healthier yogurts for them.

However, it can be hard to see how much sugar is in the yogurts you buy.

Public Health Liverpool made this guide to try to make this easier for parents, it shows the yoghurts in order of sugar content, so you can quickly identify which ones contain the most sugar.

To make things easier they have only shown the added sugars – the ones that contribute towards your child maximum daily allowance.

sugar in yoghurts

Each cube = 4g of added sugar

  • Muller Corner 4.9 sugar cubes
  • Aldi Brooklea own brand 4.7 sugar cubes
  • Asda own brand 4.5 sugar cubes
  • Nestle Smarties 3.3 sugar cubes
  • Nestle Ski 2.6 sugar cubes
  • Lidl Milbona own brand 2.2 sugar cubes
  • Yoplait Petits Filous 2.1 sugar cubes
  • Nestle Munch Bunch 2 sugar cubes

Processed Fruit vs Whole Fruit

Although some yogurts seem healthy and are promoted as containing fruit, most of the fruit added to yogurts is processed (e.g. turned into a smoothie, fruit juice, puree or concentrate). The yoghurt label should show if the fruit has been processed.

Whole fruit is a healthier way to add sweetness because these sugars are contained within the structure of the fruit, which makes them less likely to cause tooth decay. The way that fibre in whole fruit is digested also regulates the release of glucose into the bloodstream, helping to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Recommended reading: How Much Sugar Per Day Are We Really Consuming?

Make Your Own Yogurt Combinations

raspberries and yogurt

Adding your own whole fruit and other healthy toppings to plain yogurt instead of buying yogurts containing processed fruit is a great way to give your child a healthier snack.

Start with plain natural, skyr, or Greek yogurt and add some fruit for your own healthy, delicious flavours. Use healthy toppings like seeds and chopped nuts. And honey, maple syrup and rice syrup are healthier ways of sweetening the yoghurt.

Here are some ideas for make-your-own yoghurt combinations:

  • Banana with honey or maple syrup drizzled
  • Strawberry and kiwi chopped up and added
  • Mixed berries, e.g. strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. NB if using frozen berries it’s still recommended boiling them for 1 minute to ensure they are safe, just take them out of the freezer pop them in a small pan bring to the boil and then cool, this defrosts as well as boils them at the same time.
  • Sliced banana, sprinkle of cinnamon and some chopped nuts
  • Blueberries with lemon (add a bit of lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice) and a teaspoon of poppy seeds
  • Peach slices (if using tinned try to avoid heavily syruped varieties) and chopped pecans
  • Orange segments chopped up with a few chopped pistachios
  • Apricot, almonds and pumpkin seeds. If using dried apricots just limit the serving as dried fruit has a lot of extra sugar in it.

You might also enjoy reading 5 Super Quick Super Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids

Over to you now. Were you aware of the amount of sugar in your child’s yogurt? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. 

healthy snacks