Anna Ritan (APD), Nourish Little Lives
Over the past few years, squeezy yoghurts have increased in popularity and they are one of the most common travel snacks and lunch box items for Australian children. Nowadays there are over 100 different squeezy yoghurt products available to consumers, so how do you know which is the best option for your child? and are they as 'healthy' as they claim to be?
But first, there is no doubt that Full Fat Plain Greek Yoghurt (not Greek-style yoghurt) is by far the best yoghurt on the shelf available to babies and children. Full Fat Plain Greek Yoghurt is made by fermenting milk with live bacteria cultures and then strained multiple times which makes it naturally thick and creamy, it contains no additives or thickeners, and is just made from milk and live yoghurt cultures. Greek yoghurt also contains a high amount of protein, and choose full fat for children as their growing bodies need fat. Unfortunately, you just won't get that same nutritional quality in yoghurt squeezy pouches.
Some yoghurt squeezy pouches can still be a nutritious snack, but there can be huge differences in the nutritional quality of yoghurt pouches (even within the same brand, but different flavour). So here are some key things to keep in mind when buying a yoghurt pouch:
No added sugar or free sugars - Added sugars or free sugars will be listed on the ingredients list of the packet, avoiding all types of added sugars in yoghurt is important for children. There will be a small amount of intrinsic sugar from the naturally occurring lactose in milk, so looking at the ingredients list is the best way to determine if sugars have been added. Avoid yoghurts that contain added sugars or free sugars in the ingredients list.
Full Fat - Full-fat dairy is an excellent source of fat for children, and fat is essential for growth and development. Fat also helps to keep children full between meals. Avoid yoghurts made with skim milk, reconstituted skim milk powder, etc
Live cultures - Yoghurt can be an excellent source of probiotics for children, if the product lists the number of live cultures on the packaging that is a good sign that there is a decent amount present. Some products list yoghurt cultures but the amount present is unclear.
Good source of protein - squeezy yoghurts can vary in their protein content, look for something around or over 3-4g/per 100g.
Good source of calcium - calcium is naturally present in milk, so yoghurts can naturally contain a good amount of calcium per 100g, >125mg/100g is considered a good source of calcium.
No or Fewer additives - Because yoghurt pouches are not made in the traditional greek yoghurt style, most will contain thickeners and stabilisers to make the yoghurt taste creamy and prevent separation like pectin (440), vegetable gums (406, 410, 415), and starch (1442), acidity regulators to stop the yoghurt becoming too acidic (300, 330, 331, 296), as well as added 'natural' flavours and colours. Choose a yoghurt pouch that has fewer of these additives.
'Best' yoghurt pouch choices
Raffert'y Garden Natural Yoghurt 6 month +
Best squeezy pouch choice made from milk, milk solids, cream and live cultures.
There are no additives, no added sugar, a good source of calcium, fat and protein and made with live cultures
Price: $1.00 (70g)
Farmers Union Greek Style Yoghurt
Best squeezy pouch choice made from milk, milk solids, cream, probiotic cultures.
There are no additives, no added sugar, a good source of protein, calcium, and fat and made with live cultures.
Price: $1.50 (130g)
Tamar Valley Dairy Kids Yoghurt Pouch
Ingredients: Whole milk, cream, milk solids, strawberry pulp (4.2%), rice starch, natural flavours, lemon pulp, live yoghurt culture.
There is no added sugar, a good source of calcium, protein, and fat and contains live cultures, with fewer additives (note: rice starch and natural flavour have been added)
Price: $1.50 (110g)
Jalna Pouch of Purity Organic Yoghurt
Ingredients: Pasteurised organic whole milk, non-organic milk solids (<5%), organic strawberry puree (3%), enzyme (lactase), natural strawberry flavour (0.4%), monk fruit, live probiotic cultures
There is no added sugar, a good source of calcium, protein and fat with fewer additives (natural flavour has been added and monk fruit as a sweetener)
Price: $1.70 (100g)
Aldi Dairy Dream Kids - No added sugar yoghurt:
Ingredients: Milk, Cream, Milk solids, water, blueberry puree, rice starch,natural flavours, live cultures.
No added sugar, a good source of calcium, protein and fat with fewer additives (natural flavour and rice starch added as a thickener)
Petit Miam No Added Sugar
Ingredients: Milk, Milk Solids, Water, Apple Puree (4%), Cream, Thickeners (Corn Starch, Pectin), Natural Flavours, Lemon Juice, Enzyme (LACTASE), Yoghurt cultures
No added sugar, a good source of calcium, protein and fat with fewer additives (natural flavours) and a couple of thickeners added here (corn starch, pectin).
Petit Miam is at the bottom of my best list because it does contain a few more thickeners, but does meet other criteria.
Squeezy Yoghurts to Avoid
Chobani Yoghurt Pouch -
Ingredients: Low Fat Yogurt (80%) [Skim Milk, Live Yogurt Cultures], Strawberry Blend (20%) [Sugar, Strawberry (30%), Water, Vegetable Gums (Fruit Pectin, Locust Bean Gum), Natural Flavours, Acidity Regulators (Sodium Citrate, Lactic Acid), Black Carrot and Blackcurrant Concentrate, Mineral Salt (Calcium Citrate)].
Chobani yoghurt has one of the highest added sugar contents of all yoghurts, with the addition of sugar and black carrot and blackcurrant concentrate (free sugar). It is also considered low in calcium with only 103mg/100g (even despite the added calcium citrate). Chobani additionally is made with skim milk so it is low in fat (remember fat in yoghurt is a good source of fat for growing bodies), it also has added vegetable gums, flavors, and acidity regulators.
Coles Brand Strawberry Yoghurt Pouch
Ingredients: Reconstituted Skim Milk, Fruit Puree Blend (11%) [Seedless Strawberry Pulp (49%), Reconstituted Apple Juice, Sugar, Thickener (1442 from Tapioca), Natural Flavouring, Acidity Regulators (296, 331), Fruit and Vegetable Concentrate (Black Carrot, Blackcurrant)], Cream, Sugar, Milk Solids, Thickeners (1442, 1401), Mineral Salt (341), Stabilisers (406, 440), Live Cultures.
This yoghurt has multiple types of sugars added (apple juice, sugar and blackcurrant, and black carrot concentrate). It is low in fat and made from skim milk, and has multiple additives like flavouring, acidity regulators, thickeners, and stabilisers.
Aldi Organic Strawberry Yoghurt Pouch
Ingredients: Organic milk, Strawberry blend (strawberry, water, sugar, rice starch, natural flavour, black carrot and blackcurrant concentrate), milk solids, Organic raw sugar, live cultures
Again another pouch with multiple types of sugars added ( sugar, blackcurrant, black carrot concentrate, and organic raw sugar), this pouch contains the most sugar with 14.2g/100g.
Siggi's Blueberry Pouch Yoghurt
Ingredients: Skim Milk, Milk Solids, Blueberry (4%), Cane Sugar, Stabiliser (Pectin), Live Yoghurt Cultures.
Low in fat made with skim milk (0.3g/100g) and contains added sugars.
Vaalia Probiotics - Kids Immunity Boost
Ingredients: Whole Milk, skim milk, water, sugar, milk solids, Strawberry pulp (3.5%), rice starch, gelatin, natural flavours, acidity regulators (331, 330), live yoghurt cultures (incl. L. acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus GG).
Added sugars (12.5g per serve), thickeners, acidity regulators, lower fat,
The Collective Kefir Probots Yoghurt Pouch
Ingredients: Standardised Milk, Blueberry Puree (5%), Apple Puree Concentrate, Skim Milk Powder, Chicory Root Fibre, Natural Starch, Cream, Natural Flavours, Enzyme (Lactase), Live Cultures.
Fruit concentrate is classified as added free sugar, with added thickeners and natural flavours added.
The Wiggles Yoghurt Pouch (Brown's Dairy)
Ingredients: Milk, Strawberry Puree (5.0%), Water, Milk Solids, Cream (From Milk), Apple Juice, Chicory Root Fibre (0.7%), Rice Starch, Natural Flavour, Enzyme (Lactase), Acidity Regulators (330, 331), Live Cultures (L. Acidophilus, Bifidobacteria, L. Casei)
Apple juice is classified as added free sugar (the same as sugar), with added thickeners, acidity regulators, and natural flavours.
Pauls Strawberry Yoghurt Pouch (Disney Characters)
Ingredients: Milk, Sugar, Strawberry Pulp (5.6%), Milk Solids, Thickener (1442), Maltodextrin (from Tapioca), Calcium Phosphate, Reconstituted Elderberry Juice, Stabiliser (440, 410), Natural flavours, Acidity regulators (330, 331, 509), Live cultures (Including Bifidobacterium), Vitamin D.
Petit Miam Fruit Yoghurt Pouch
Ingredients: Milk (min. 70%) [Milk, Skim Milk], Milk Solids, Water, Strawberry (4%), Sugar, Thickener (1442), Apple Juice Concentrate, Mineral Calcium (341), Natural Flavours, Black Carrot & Blackcurrant Concentrate, Acidity Regulators (331, 296), Vitamin D, Yoghurt Cultures
Anna is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) and Paediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist.