Choose the best yogurt

There are so many yogurts to choose from that it can be difficult for parents to choose the right yogurt for their children. Beyond the taste and texture, what criteria should guide us?

The word yogurt comes from yoghurmak, a Turkish word that means, “to thicken”.  Yogurt is made from a milk base in which bacteria transform lactose (the natural sugar found in milk) in lactic acid. When there is enough lactic acid, the milk thickens and gradually reaches the texture that we know. Finally, when milk reaches the desired texture, the mixture is cooled to stop the bacteria from acting. That’s it! Yogurt is ready!

The nutritional value of yogurt

Yogurt contains calcium, phosphorus and, sometimes, vitamin D that are important for our teeth and bones. It also contains vitamin B2 (riboflavin) that helps our body transform the energy that comes from proteins, carbohydrates and fats and gives a little boost to young children during their physical activities. Yogurt is usually a source of vitamin B12 (cobalamin), which is necessary to the proper functioning of all body cells and to balance the nervous system. Without it, you would be tired and weak!

For infants between 9 and 12 months old, what yogurt is appropriate?

The amount of milk given should vary between 750 ml and 900 ml per day for infants aged 9 to 12 months old. Milk can be reduced by approximately 250ml but only if 2 portions of milk substitutes replace it. At that age, plain yogurt containing fat is recommended as milk substitute. A portion of yogurt is about 75 ml. Fruit pieces and fruit puree can be added to your plain yogurt. At the grocery store, you should choose plain yogurts that contain calcium and vitamin D: Astro Biobest, Iogö Greko 2 %, Stonyfield Organic made with plain organic whole milk and Liberté baby - Step 1 are good examples.

And for toddlers between 1 and 2 years old…

From the age of 12 months old, the amount of milk should be 720 ml per day and should gradually reach 500 ml per day around the age of 2. With these quantities, 2 portions of milk substitutes can be added. A portion is 100 g (100 ml) yogurt and 30 g to 60 g fresh cheese and fruit. The same plain yogurt that was good for infants is still good for toddlers. Also, yogurts suitable for infants such as Liberté baby - Step 2 and fresh cheese made for toddlers (such as Minigo and Danino) usually contain everything a toddler needs.

During the first year of a child's life, breast milk or infant formula remains the staple food. Therefore, yogurt should not replace milk, but supplement the diet. Yogurt and cheese are a tasty way to bring variety to the menu of the child.

Nathalie Regimbal

Nathalie Regimbal is a dietician-nutritionist and mother of 3 kids. She oversees Manger Futé, a team of people passionate about diet that empowers those who want to feed children healthily. To demystify nutrition and diet, Nathalie gives advice on the show La Cantine on Channel V. In addition to her collaboration with, you can read her articles in several print and online magazines. Among others, she is a collaborator in nutrition for Yoopa and Célébrons magazines. To make meal time easier for families and initiate kids to cooking, Nathalie has worked hard to write inspiring books: the best-seller Du plaisir à bien manger… 80 recettes gagnantes pour les familles, and the Mandoline series of illustrated cook books for children, the latest one having just won the prestigious prize of the best French Healthy cooking book from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2010. To help with meal preparation in daycare centres, the team of dieticians at Manger Futé offers classes and coaching. Manger Futé has also published the practical guides Élaborez rapidement un menu équilibré dans votre service de garde and Élaborez rapidement une politique alimentaire. Discover Nathalie Regimbal's books: Du plaisir à bien manger – 80 recettes gagnantes pour les familles Mandoline – J’ai ça dans le sang! Mandoline – Développe tes défenses naturelles!

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