Confused by the ever-growing yogurt aisle in the grocery store? Me too, which is why I put together a list of the best yogurts—those that are low in added sugars but that still taste great—for you. Plus: The best ways to naturally flavor plain yogurt!
What kind of yogurt should I give my baby?
The best yogurt for babies is:
- Made with whole milk
- Is plain, rather than flavored
- Is free from added sugars
- Has a mild flavor and creamy texture
- Is organic, if possible, or made with milk from cow’s without added hormones.
Whole Milk Yogurt
Babies and toddlers need fat for proper brain development, so it’s important to choose yogurt (and other dairy products) made with whole milk. Yogurt will be labeled as “whole milk yogurt” or 4% or 5% yogurt, so keep that in mind when choosing yogurt for your baby and toddler. There is also a huge range of flavor profiles of plain whole milk yogurt, so you may need to try a few to find the one that you and your baby like best. (I prefer Stonyfield and the European Style plain yogurt from Trader Joes in the red and white cartons.)
When can a baby eat yogurt?
A baby can eat plain whole milk yogurt at 6 months, or whenever they start solid foods. Follow the same advice when trying this food out as others and know that while cow’s milk is too hard for a baby to digest, yogurt is often much easier on the tummy. It has beneficial probiotics too, which are healthy for the immune system and the digestive tract.
Greek Yogurt for Babies
If you’d like to serve Greek yogurt to your baby or toddler, that is an option. There are a few things to keep in mind though. First, it can be a little harder to digest (all that protein!), so start with a small serving to see how your kiddo does with it. It also has a much thicker texture which may or may not be a hit with your kiddo. And again, look for a whole milk (often labeled 4%) version to ensure that your child is getting the fats that they need.
Fruit Yogurt for Babies
While there is a whole market of fruit-flavored yogurts for babies and toddlers, I still prefer to mostly rely on the plain kind so we can control the amounts of added sugars. That said, these are good options too:
Stonyfield does make some baby yogurt without added sugars (though I have yet to see them in my area!) and they make a plain version of their baby yogurt.
Siggi’s makes a no-added sugar yogurt and yogurt tubes with lower amounts of added sugars.
Simply Go-Gurt also has less sugar and ingredients than other similar yogurt tubes.
Happy Family makes whole milk yogurt flavored with just fruit or fruit and veggies.
Redwood Farms makes a nice tasting goat milk yogurt which may be easier to digest.
Green Valley makes a delicious lactose-free yogurt. (I lived on this while I was pregnant with my girls and having trouble with regular yogurt!)
The Best Yogurt For Toddlers
The best yogurt for toddlers is the same as the best yogurt for babies—plain whole milk yogurt. It has all the same benefits and is easy to customize for your kiddo.
How to Flavor Plain Yogurt
I love to buy plain whole milk yogurt and to add flavor to it myself, in addition to simply serving plain yogurt plain. Here are some stir-ins that we like:
- Diced fruit or berries
- Maple syrup or honey
- Pureed pumpkin or butternut squash with a little cinnamon
- All-fruit jam or preserves
- Nut or seed butter
- Mashed banana
- Baby food fruit purees
When will my toddler be able to eat yogurt with a spoon?
Learning to scoop and get foods into little mouths is definitely a learning process, so don’t worry if your two year old still makes a mess of things when they eat with a spoon. The most important thing is that they have the chance to practice their spoon skills, so offer it and understand that they still may use their hands…since that’s often a more effective method!
I love to offer yogurt in a reusable pouch at times and in bowls at other times. Both are great ways to serve yogurt to both babies and toddlers.
What’s the best nondairy yogurt?
There are so many good ones now! I would urge you to look in your supermarkets to see what’s available. There are nondairy yogurts made from soy, almond milk, coconut milk, and goat milk so you’ll have to try a few to see which ones have the best flavor. You may also want to try a lactose-free yogurt. Nutritionally, I still recommend looking for brands that use less added sugars and finding one with protein—the amounts will vary a lot. People seem to love the newer options from Kite Hill!