THERE are a few ways of looking at yogurt as a snack food. On the plus side it is a good way of consuming milk for healthy bone development and it’s better than alternative snack options which are laden with less healthy fats and sugars.
Ideally we should give our children plain yogurt which at its best will naturally be a little sweet. Or try Glenilen, which doesn’t do children’s sizes, to avoid additives, adding seasonal fresh fruit, jam and toasted nuts and seeds for variety.
Get into the habit of putting some from a large, economical, less environmentally damaging carton into a reusable tub which is the right size for each child.
When manufacturers start adding flavours and long shelf life preservatives the balance between the good bacteria and sugar which feeds bad bacteria can be upset.
Children can easily get into the habit of artificially sweetened foods, making it difficult to get them to appreciate plainer foods.
Research has also shown that sweet foods can heighten hunger and could be a contributor to obesity problems — if what they eat is not satisfying they crave more and the damaging cycle of over-eating continues.
Own brands of Aldi, Lidl, Dunnes, Tesco and SuperValu are all made by Irish Yogurts in Clonakilty, so we didn’t include all of them.
Aldi Specially Selected, 59c and 89c
Subtitled West Cork Indulgence, we tried several flavours/ versions and tasters best liked the raspberry sitting at the bottom of small glass jar (89c) which was wonderfully fresh-tasting and the yogurt on top had a natural texture.
The children liked mixing it up and while the glass jars could be heavy for a schoolbag, they are easier to eat from than cartons.
All good products at a fair price with no nasty additives — 10% sugars. Tasters also like the lemon curd in oval cartons (59c). Lidl has a similarly good range. Our winner.
Dunnes Stores Simply Better, 89c
We tried two flavours here and while we liked the Senga strawberry (Senga is a breed), the Aldi version had more flavour from more added strawberry – Irish Yogurts vary recipes on demand.
Tasters liked best the rich, fruity blend of raspberry and pomegranate which was interesting and had a good, thick texture.
The unusual addition of black carrot juice concentrate adds to the colour. Delicious.
Glenisk organic yogurt tubes, 99c
Six tubes here have 40g in each which may be enough for younger kids for the short break at school.
Sweetness is provided by agave syrup (not sickly sweet) and 9% organic strawberry, and, along with all organic products, makes it far more interesting than Frubes by Nestlé which were too sweet for tasters and didn’t make our top 8.
9% sugar content is still high. Good for those who want just a dessertspoonful.
Rachel’s luscious fruits, €2.14
Four tubs of 110g each of cherry, strawberry, raspberry and peach, the lively, fresh raspberry was the children’s favourite while the adults liked the cherry.
Quite a watery texture, so perhaps not great for spooning at school. 5% to 5.5% fruit is comparatively low and sugars are a very high 13.5% from sugar, but not artificial sweeteners.
Ingredients are organic which is a plus here. No nasty additives. Made in Britain and not associated with Rachel Allen.
Marks & Spencer organic yogurt pots, €2.79
Supporting a British children’s hospital charity, four 100g pots have strawberry, raspberry, apricot and banana flavours which all tasters liked.
The high 12% sugars comes from the 8% fruit and added sugar which like most samples is second on the list of ingredients so quite high, but no nasty substitutes.
The raspberry flavour was the most popular and the sharpness contrasted well with the sweetness.
SuperValu strawberry yoghurt, €1.49
Supervalu has a large range of yogurts and we chose this one for its shelf appeal to children and for its organic ingredients.
Four 90g pots are flavoured with 9% organic strawberry, with agave syrup the sweetener. Sugars are a high 11.1% but are natural.
Made by Glenisk, the flavour needed more strawberry for our tasters, though parents liked the chemical-free list of ingredients.
Tesco A Shot of Goodness, €1
This good-value pack of six 100g blueberry yogurt drinks made our top 8 as it was the best of the drink types with less sugars or sweetness than other samples and no chemical additives.
A high enough 9% sugar is second on the list, but happily avoids a substitute.
Blueberry, blackcurrant and apple juices from concentrate help flavour. Added vitamins. Texture is thin and easy to drink. Made in France.
Kerry Dairy Yollies, €2.49
We liked the idea of a lollipop that wasn’t all sugar so tried this one with high hopes.
The four 25g lollies are made from firm yogurt pressed into moulds which come apart a bit when one is broken off, so packaging could be better.
The texture of hardened yogurt was a bit pasty and half the children didn’t like it. It would have helped if the raspberry flavour (a low 4%) was more vibrant. Sugars at 12.8% are high. A good effort, but expensive.
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