These commercial ‘kiddy yoghurts’ aren’t really yoghurt at all. They look like yoghurt. Smell like yoghurt (kinda). And they have the consistency of yoghurt ….but they aint yoghurt!
‘Kiddy Yoghurts’ contain denatured milk solids, emulsifiers, gelling agents, LOADS of sugar and just a little bit of culture so they can market it as healthy. They often also contain added flavours and colours to make them more enticing. Unfortunately, if your kids have had these ‘yoghurts’ previously, it can be difficult to convince them that REAL yoghurt is delicious. But there are ways of making REAL yoghurt irresistible to even the toughest critics.
Some would consider me to be a ‘tough love’ kinda Mum, but when you’re introducing children to REAL food for the first time ….trust me, it’s the only thing that works. So here are a couple of rules of thumb before we get into the nitty gritty of yoghurt.
1. Under no circumstances should you EVER cave in and buy the commercial kiddy yoghurt. If you do, you will never win the REAL food war.
2. Let your kids know what is going into their lunchboxes (and what will be available at home too) and why.
3. If they’re old enough, get your kids involved in making these foods at home. It’s surprising how obliging kids can be with trying new things when they have had a part in its production. That goes for growing veges and fruit at home too.
4. Get them started as early as possible. That doesn’t mean your 13 year old can’t be converted to REAL food, it just means that it could be a battle.
The best yoghurt is home-made. If you are not going to culture your own yoghurt at home then please learn to read product labels. And read them with just a small grain of cynicism. Please don’t fall for all of the garbage that marketing uses to insult your intelligence.
A commercial yoghurt is only cultured for between 1 and 7 hours. This is nowhere near enough time for the yoghurt to develop a therapeutic level of probiotics and this means that there really is no health benefit to eating it. Your ‘kiddy’ yoghurts are likely only cultured for 1 hour …..NOT yoghurt. And ‘low fat’ yoghurts …..NOT yoghurt. !! Again, this will contain additives that force the product to gel and look like yoghurt. I encourage you to experiment with making a yoghurt from low fat or skim milk. It is disgusting. It is watery, it smells funny and it doesn’t even taste close to yoghurt. Yoghurt thrives on cream!! Don’t be afraid of cream. It will not make you fat and it will not clog your arteries. What it will do is give you plenty of energy, leave you feeling satisfied and not looking for your next Carb hit, and will give you beautifully soft skin.
You’re probably wondering if making your own yoghurt is hard ….NOPE. It’s dead easy and requires almost no effort at all …and it’s super cheap!
What you will need to make your own yoghurt at home:
1. A YOGHURT MAKER – yes, you can make yoghurt without a yoghurt maker using eskies, blankets and hot water bottles to insulate the yoghurt but it’s fiddly, time consuming and you generally get pretty inconsistent results. I’m a busy working mum and I don’t have time for faffing around. The yoghurt maker makes my life easy by maintaining the correct temperature for my yoghurt for as long as I want to culture it. I get consistent results ….no faffing. (You can purchase a YOGHURT MAKER HERE)
2. YOGHURT CULTURE – this is what turns your milk into delicious yoghurt and gives you a healthy probiotic food. Yes, you can use culture from store bought yoghurt but you will get a thinner milk and it will not re-culture indefinitely which leaves you back at buying yoghurt again. (You can purchase YOGHURT CULTURES HERE)
3. Saucepan – for heating your milk.
4. 1 Litre Glass Jar – for culturing in. I don’t like using plastic. Plastic and heat don’t make a good mix as the heat leaches chemicals from the plastic into your yoghurt. I buy pickling jars from the $2 shops.
5. Good Quality Milk – Full cream organic milk that has not be homogenised will make a beautifully thick yoghurt.
Now how easy is it?? Heat your milk in the saucepan until just before it begins to froth (you will need to watch it because this can happen quickly). Immediately pour your heated milk ‘carefully’ into your jar, pop on the lid and cool to body temperature. Once cool, add your culture and give a good stir. Place in the yoghurt maker and walk away for 12 -24 hours. That’s it!! Pretty easy, huh?
Now this makes ‘Natural’ yoghurt which your kids may not immediately LOVE. That’s only because it’s not full of sugar and flavours. So to fix this, mix in a little honey to their individual serves of yoghurt. You can add some chopped up fruit too.
In my next post, I’ll share with you some recipes for making delicious fruit sauces to serve with the yoghurt. Your kids will love them.