When I was pregnant, I craved dairy in a way that was almost hard to believe. It seemed that all I wanted to eat was yogurt and sometimes kefir, but mostly yogurt. I read all of those studies about babies liking the foods that their moms ate while they were in utero and I expected that Linden would inhale yogurt when the time came.
That couldn't have been farther from our experience. From the time she started eating until now, she has always felt pretty ambivalent towards yogurt. She spit it out time after time when she was a baby, leaving me to eat the rest of the quart-size containers of whole milk yogurt that I would buy every week. (I didn't complain.) But since I knew that 2-3 servings of dairy were important for her growth—since it provides calcium and vitamin D for strong bones, as well as necessary fat—I played around with how I served it to see if I could find something she'd find more interesting.
Now I do realize that you can get those nutrients from other foods, but she hardly drank milk of any kind from the time I weaned her at 14 months until she was a little over two, and filling up a toddler with leafy greens or salmon with bones is somewhat tricky. (I did try, though, and she thankfully loves salmon cakes!) Eventually, I found that she liked yogurt when there was a little more going on with it—either when topped with granola, or "crunchies" as they are called in our house, or as overnight oats.
You've probably heard of overnight oats. They are essentially yogurt or milk (or a combination of both) combined with oats and sometimes seeds. Sometimes there is juice in the mix; sometimes additional sweetener. You let the mixture sit overnight so that the oats soften up, creating something similar to a parfait. It's a grab-and-go breakfast that you can make ahead of time on the weekend or the night before and it's incredibly satisfying.
This version doesn't have any added sugars since I like the flavor of the berries and it's otherwise pretty straightforward. You can always add a little honey or maple syrup if you prefer, or get fancy by adding other nuts or fruit.
Overnight Oats with Yogurt and Berries
This recipe makes two toddler-size breakfast portions (or a mama-size snack). Double it to make additional servings. I like to store it in tiny mason jars, but you can use any small (about 4-6 ounces or 1/2 cup) reusable container that you like.
Makes two 1/2 cup servings
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole or low-fat plain yogurt
1/3 cup rolled oats, ground (or quick oats)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, chia seeds, and/or shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries
1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir gently. Divide mixture into 1/2-cup mason jars or other storage containers or reusable pouches. Top with a few additional blueberries if desired. Store in the fridge at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve cold after stirring and mashing up the blueberries to distribute their juices throughout.
Swap in cooked brown rice, quinoa, or millet in place of the oats.
Use 2 tablespoons nut butter in place of the seeds.
Try frozen mango instead of the berries.