Healthful Mondays: Yogurt

 - by Sarah Lipoff

The other day I was running low on baby food and my wee one was wailing for more, more, more.  What to do?  I took a peak in the fridge and there wasn’t much to choose from.  But, behind the mineral water and neglected orange juice was sitting my favorite plain yogurt.  It beckoned me with its smooth creaminess, its white happiness, and its tangy milky flavor.  I flashed back to the past pediatrician’s visit and vaguely remembered somebody saying something about no dairy until 1 year of age.  But, the baby was wailing and the yogurt was calling.  I went for it – and she ate it all up.

After 8 months of age, yogurt is okay for your baby.  Other dairy such as milk and cheese are still a no-no.  For some reason, yogurt sneaks by due to containing live active cultures, or probiotics. Probiotics are foods that contain natural good bacteria that assist with digestion and overall health.  These lovely little probiotics are found by the thousands in yogurt.  So, not only are you providing your baby with great natural protein and dairy, but wonderful probiotics.

Adding a spoonful of yogurt into baby food, or as a treat on its own is a great way to introduce yogurt to baby’s diet.  Starting with plain yogurt with labeling stating it contains “live probiotics” is a good idea. Purchasing yogurt in a large container instead of single servings is also a great way to be eco-friendly. Spoon out yogurt for each serving and enjoy some yourself while you are at it.

If you are wrinkling your nose up at the idea of boring old plain yogurt, mix in some pureed bananas, strawberries, or peaches to liven things up.  Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon, squeeze a little orange, or stir in some oatmeal.  The things that don’t seem appealing to you might taste amazing to your baby.  Try to stay away from flavored yogurt as they contain large amounts of sugar and may not contain probiotics. Remember to watch your baby for adverse reactions to new foods alerting you to food allergies.

Wanting some help losing the baby weight? Try having yogurt as a snack or with a meal during the day. Those live and active cultures help your body stay balanced and have happy and healthy bowel movements, which aides in getting rid of extra fat and creating a tiny tummy.

You might be tempted to buy expensive fancy-shmancy yogurt while at the supermarket, but my favorite is cheap and plain. It’s a blank canvas that can be added to easily or enjoyed plain. I’ve even used plain yogurt in place of sour cream and mayonnaise! YUM!

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