Yogurt is nutritious and is a popular dairy product made by fermenting milk. But the question is ‘Can a toddler eat too much yogurt?’
Yogurt is nutrient rich and an excellent substitute for high-energy nutrient-poor snacks. All the more, consuming yogurt can assist toddlers develop healthy snacking behaviours. It is a great source of protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and, phosphorous. It has shown to have a positive impact on bone health, weight maintenance and cardiometabolic disease prevention. Yogurt is basically fermented milk. The lactose in milk is broken down during the process of fermentation and thus, even lactose intolerant people can usually consume yogurt without any ill effects.
However, before making yogurt a part of your toddler’s daily diet, it will be advantageous for you to check whether yogurt and dairy products suit your kid. Some kids may be lactose intolerant or have milk allergies. Administer a very small quantity to your child and check if it suits your young one before you encourage your child to eat more of it.
In order to answer that, firstly it’s imperative for us to know the benefits and downsides (if any) associated with consumption of yogurt. Second of all, we need to define how much is too much for a toddler. Also, what time during the day must a toddler consume yogurt in order to harness all its goodness. Additionally, in what form must yogurt be consumed to actually get the desired nourishment is the question of the hour considering the influx of many options.
I’ll break these down for you and provide you the answers to all your questions.
Benefits of yogurt
- Nutrient-rich- Yogurt nearly has every nutrient a toddler’s growing body needs. It is rich in protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin B12, riboflavin and, phosphorous.
- Most yogurts have live bacteria or probiotics that aid in digestion and keeps our digestive health on track.
- Consuming yogurt full of probiotics has shown to improve the immune system. Thus, eating yogurt will not only be a great way of snacking for your toddler but also strengthen your toddler’s immunity.
- Yogurt contains a good amount of good saturated fatty acids and HDL cholesterol that promotes a healthy heart.
Downsides of yogurt
- It has often been found that kids who tend to overconsume dairy products especially milk and yogurt, consume very little of other food items. Less consumption of cereals or green vegetables might lead to issues later in life.
- Despite the fact that most yogurt brands have shifted to using hormone-free milk, some still use it. Growth hormone is given to cattle which allows them to produce more milk. This growth hormone causes ill effects when consumed.
- It is very likely that your yogurt brand uses a lot of sugar. Giving unflavoured yogurt to kids is great, but if it has too much sugar in it, the purpose of nutrition won’t be solved.
- One must definitely do a lactose test to check whether or not the kid is able to tolerate the lactose present in yogurt. Although, the lactose in milk is broken down when it curdles. It still is advisable to check for intolerance to avoid further issues. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include stomach pain, nausea, cramps, etc.
How much is too much?
According to a study, toddler’s daily requirement for calcium is approximately 700mg. The serving size for a child aged 8-12 months is generally considered to be ¼ to ½ cup of yogurt. Kids aged 12-24 months require 2 to 3 servings of dairy per day to meet their daily doses of calcium. These servings could be in the form of milk, cheese or yogurt. A good proportion of milk, yogurt and other dairy products will not only break the monotony of consuming a single food product but also get the much-needed daily nourishment.
What time is best to consume yogurt?
Yogurt can be a great snack, an excellent breakfast alternative, or a healthy dessert when mixed with fruits and some sugar. But what time is the best time to consume yogurt for toddlers. The best time as it turns out is to eat yogurt for breakfast or on empty stomach. The good bacteria or probiotics present in yogurt if arriving at the large intestine in a live condition help in maintaining digestion and good gut health. If yogurt is taken after a meal, the probiotics will be defunct due to the acid produced in stomach for digestion.
However, it is best to speak to your doctor before deciding when to give yogurt to your toddler. Your doctor will help you with finding allergies if any in addition to telling you the best time to eat yogurt for your child specific to his/her body type.
In what form must yogurt be consumed by toddlers?
In all honesty, plain white yogurt is best for consumption by toddlers and adults. Yogurts of most commercial brands contain some sort of artificial flavors and sweeteners that tend to nullify its health benefits, turning it into junk food. It is best to give homemade full-fat unflavoured yogurt to toddlers, an unflavoured factory-made yogurt is equally great. To play with the flavors what parents can do is mix up some sweetener and/or pureed fruits.
Yogurt is nutritional and beneficial. It is a great source of calcium, protein and, potassium. It is easy to eat, widely available and a very convenient source of protein. It is a good source of probiotics that help the body and keeps the immune system in check. Well, can a toddler eat too much yogurt is a matter of great concern? As is rightly said, excess of everything is bad. Similarly, eating any particular type of food item is just as bad for kids as it is bad for adults. But when you are dealing with picky eaters such as your toddlers, you aren’t left with much of a choice. Instead of doing unhealthy snacking in the form of sugary food products, if your toddler sticks to having a good quantity of yogurt, that is well enough. Eating a good prescribed quantity of yogurt and dairy products in all leads to fulfillment of calcium needs of the body. This is good for gut health, bone health, and overall functioning of the body.