Greek Yogurt for Babies – Benefits, Recipes, and Precautions
When babies make the transition from breast milk or (and) formula milk to solids, most parents contemplate introducing a wide range of healthy and nutritious foods to them. One such nutritious food that parents want to introduce is Greek yoghurt, as it is an excellent early food for babies. Greek yoghurt is rich in various nutrients such as calcium, vitamins, and minerals. There’s really no reason to not let your baby devour this healthy and delicious food item, unless he is lactose intolerant!
Greek yoghurt has a smooth texture and is easy to swallow. It can also provide your little one with a lot of nutrients, so there’s no harm in adding it to your child’s diet. But before you do so, find out when to introduce Greek yoghurt in your little one’s meals and how so that he gains the maximum benefit from it. We will also tell you what exactly is Greek yoghurt and how it is made.
What Is Greek Yoghurt?
For over a decade now, Greek yoghurt has become ubiquitous and it’s very unlikely that you’ll go wrong while taking it off the shelf of your nearest grocery store, but don’t you want to know what’s so different about Greek yoghurt from other types of yoghurt? Now that you have a baby to feed, it’s important that you pay more attention to the back of the product before buying it. Okay, so we won’t get into the history of Greek yoghurt, we’ll simply tell you what it is and how it differs from plain yoghurt!
The process of making regular and Greek yoghurt begins on the same note: first, milk is heated then cooled to the desired fermentation temperature; then bacteria cultures are added and the mixture is left to ferment until it turns into yoghurt.
Now to make Greek yoghurt, there’s one extra step: the regular yoghurt is strained to remove the whey, and what you get is a thicker and creamier yoghurt that tastes like a tart. This is Greek yoghurt. Greek yoghurt is healthier than regular yoghurt, as it is lower in sugar and almost double in protein when compared to regular yoghurt. It is healthy for little ones and also light on their tummies.
Can Babies Have Greek Yoghurt?
The answer is ‘yes’. Many new parents tend to introduce yoghurt in their baby’s diet as early as 6 months, but paediatricians are of the opinion of introducing it between eight and nine months of age. You can check with your baby’s paediatrician before adding this wholesome dairy product to your baby’s diet.
While buying Greek yoghurt for your baby, you should opt for a full-fat yoghurt. Your little one needs fat and protein for his development, and the rich and creamy Greek yoghurt will provide him with both. So let him relish this healthy fat while he is not being fussy about it. As per paediatricians, parents can switch to low-fat yoghurt for their babies, once they turn 2 years of age.
Health Benefits of Greek Yoghurt for Babies
We’re not raving about Greek yoghurt for no reason. It is very healthy for babies and a convenient food option for you when you’re pressed for time. Greek yoghurt is rich in nutrients like calcium, potassium, protein, Vitamins D and B12, and magnesium, all of which are necessary for a baby’s optimal development. Greek yoghurt contains less amount of whey protein and lactose, hence it will be light on your baby’s tummy. The lower levels of whey and lactose also make Greek yoghurt a perfect choice for babies who are lactose intolerant.
Now if you’re convinced that it’s a healthy choice for your baby and plan to introduce Greek yoghurt to your baby, opt for plain yoghurt as it is a healthier alternative to the yoghurt with added flavours or sweeteners, which is high in sugar and can result in unhealthy weight gain.
Important Precautions to Be Taken While Giving Yoghurt to Babies
Although it is safe to start feeding yoghurt to babies between 8 and 9 months, if you want to introduce it early to your baby (or otherwise), it is important that you exercise caution and take the necessary precautions before doing so.
- First things first: check with your doctor before introducing Greek yoghurt, or any other food in your baby’s diet. And ask him how much Greek yoghurt should you feed your baby daily and when. Even if you feel you’re asking silly questions, it’s okay. Checking with your baby’s paediatrician will boost your confidence as a parent.
- Before feeding Greek yoghurt to your little one, make sure that he is not lactose intolerant. Greek yoghurt is a healthier alternative to regular yoghurt, no doubt, but there may be traces of whey and lactose present in the Greek yoghurt you make or buy, which may cause your baby to develop an allergic reaction to it if he’s lactose intolerant.
- Greek yoghurt is very nutritious but it not a replacement to other healthy foods (think dal, rice, whole grains, leafy veggies, and the likes you feed your baby in mashed or pureed form) that a growing baby needs. So make sure that you offer a variety of foods to your baby as per his age.
- Many people tend to add honey to sweeten the yoghurt but adding honey to a baby’s diet (yoghurt or other foods) is not recommended. Babies under 1 year of age should not be given honey.
- When buying Greek yoghurt off the shelf of a grocery store, pick the best Greek yoghurt brand and read the label carefully. It should not have any added ingredients such as sweetener.
- Do not feed flavoured or sweetened yoghurt to your baby as it may not be safe for your little one’s oral health.
3 Easy-to-Make Greek Yoghurt Recipes for Babies
Let’s look at some delicious Greek yoghurt recipes that you can make for your little one:
1. Apricot-Banana-Greek Yoghurt Puree
For this recipe, choose full-fat Greek yoghurt and dried apricots. Here’s a simple recipe for this tasty delight!
- Dried apricots (chopped) – 4
- Greek yoghurt – 2 tbsp
- Medium-sized banana (ripe) – 1
- Take the chopped apricots in a saucepan, add water to it, and cook on low heat for about 3-5 minutes. Bring it to a simmer.
- Turn off the heat and transfer the apricots to a dish, allowing them to cool.
- Once cool, take the apricots in a blender, add in the banana slices and Greek yoghurt and blend to a puree.
2. Banana and Greek Yoghurt Pudding
Here’s a quick recipe of banana and Greek yoghurt pudding.
- Banana (sliced/mashed) – 3-4 tbsp
- Butter – 1 tsp
- Greek yoghurt – 2 tbsp
- Heat the butter in a pan and sauté banana in it.
- Add to it, Greek yoghurt and mix well.
- Remove from heat and let it cool.
- Once cool, blend and serve.
- If your baby is a little older, you can chill it for a couple of hours then feed it to him.
3. Strawberry Yoghurt Smoothie
Oh! Sweet strawberries are hard to say no to, and chances are if your baby notices you eating them, he is likely to reach for them too. So let him relish strawberries too. Here’s how!
- Greek yoghurt – 2-3 tbsp
- Strawberries (chopped) – 3-4
- Blend the chopped strawberries to a smooth paste using a little amount of water.
- Add in the Greek yoghurt and blend again.
- Transfer it to a glass and let your child devour.
Note: Introduce these recipes in your child’s diet after consulting with your baby’s paediatrician.
Greek yoghurt is a healthy snack for babies and adults alike. Once you feel that your baby is ready for solids, you can incorporate Greek yoghurt into your child’s diet. But if you notice any signs of allergic reaction in your baby, such as swelling around the eyes or lips, or itchiness, vomiting, consult a paediatrician at the earliest.