Back in the yoghurt aisle this week (just for something new 😂), to review a Vaalia yoghurt. It's marketed as a kids 'breakfast' yoghurt, which I think is related to the inclusion of natural grains. This is a banana and natural grains flavour. So, how does it compare to other yoghurts?
🔹Milk, skim milk, sugar, milk solids, water, banana purée (3.6%), gelatin, corn fibre, rice starch, whole quinoa (0.24%), natural flavours, rice bran (0.024%), acidity regulators (330, 331), stabiliser (415), natural colour (160a), live yoghurt cultures
🔹Common allergens include: milk
🔹Regulators 330 and 331 are citric acid and sodium citrate which are generally well tolerated. Stabiliser 415 is xanthum gum and provides consistent thickness. Natural colour 160a is carotene (and orange colour) and is of no concern.
🔹The sugar content technically meets healthy guidelines. Compared to similar products, this is in the lower of the kid yoghurt range, sitting at 9.5%. However, this product is twice the size of some kid yoghurts, so a serve contains 13.3g of sugar, whilst a serve of Tamar Valley contains only 3.5g of sugar. Some of this is naturally occurring sugar (such as lactose from the milk and sugar from the banana puree), but sugar is also an added ingredient (which is something we want to minimise).
🔹The fat and saturated fat content is also within the healthy range. Compared to similar products, Vaalia is sitting in the middle of the range.
🔹Contains probiotics, which are good for little tummies.
🔹This yoghurt does provide calcium, but only about three quarters of the amount of some other kiddie yoghurts. However, because the packet is almost twice the size of most other child yoghurts, the total amount of calcium provided is the same. This amount meets 40% of the Recommended Dietary Intake of 1-3 year olds and 30% for older kiddies.
🔹Sodium content is low (as it is for all yoghurts).
🔹At $1.89 per sachet, this yoghurt is one of the more expensive of the kiddie yoghurts (although remember it is bigger than most). Having said that, it's 1.5 times the size of the CalciYum tubs and 4 times the price.
🔹The squeezie pack does not promote good biting and chewing skills, rather promotes a reliance on sucking.
🔹The 'natural grains' are almost NON EXISTENT! Seriously, 0.3g of quinoa per serve and 0.03g of rice bran per serve. You literally wouldn't be able to see that amount of rice bran on a plate. That's an absolute joke.
🔹"No artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners." True.
🔹"Source of fibre, calcium and protein." This yoghurt is a source of fibre because of the added starch powders (and really not from the quinoa or rice bran!🙄) I don't think this is necessarily a good thing. It is a source of calcium (but less than other yoghurts) and a source of protein (same as other yoghurts).
🔹"Packed with goodness." Hmmmm how do you judge that? 🤔 We do know it's not packed with quinoa or rice bran!
🔹I'd always recommend a natural or plain yoghurt over a flavoured one.
🔹I think this is an ok kiddie yoghurt (although you definitely don't need to buy 'kid' yoghurt and I'm not super keen on the squeezie pack). Having said that, I'm not sure I'd justify spending more on this product (especially if you thought you were getting some actual quinoa in it) when there are many comparable yoghurts for much less money.
🔹Otherwise, any yoghurts with less than 12g of sugar per 100g and more than 200mg of calcium per serve are a reasonable option.
About Mealtime Building Blocks
Dr Kyla Smith is a paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist working in fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla and Lauren on their website and sign up for their newsletter, and the Facebook page or on the Instagram page.
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