Oh, the yogurt section. I’m not sure there’s any other section of the grocery store that frustrates dietitians more. Okay, maybe it’s tied with salad dressing. While yogurt itself is quite a healthy choice, so, so many of the commercial options contain added sugar, an ingredient that children and adults alike should limit. And even when I do manage to spot plain yogurt, it’s often fat-free when I would prefer 2% or whole milk varieties.
Yet I naively assumed that I wouldn’t have this issue when buying baby yogurt. After all, it’s recommended that kids under age two not consume added sugar at all, so why would brands add it? Well, I was wrong! It turns out that sugar is the second ingredient in most brands.
Before I go any further, I really want to clarify that I am NOT demonizing anyone who gives their kids commercial baby yogurt. There are much, much worse products you could be giving your kids on a regular basis and I totally get the convenience element. For me, this is just a matter of principle because I’ve decided that I don’t want any of my daughter’s “everyday” foods to contain added sugar on account of the fact that we do allow her to have sugar on special occasions.
I also want to make it clear that if some commercial yogurt brand would produce a product that is nothing but plain yogurt and pureed fruit mixed together, I would buy it in a heartbeat! Not just for my kids, I’d eat this myself, too! Siggi’s offers pretty good low-sugar options and I do buy their products often, but technically all their flavored varieties still contain added sugar. I’ve searched and searched…this pre-packaged mix of fruit puree and plain yogurt that I’m seeking it doesn’t (yet) exist.
So until the day it does, to my high-speed blender I go. I highly recommend using a high-speed blender for this recipe, but prior to my recent birthday gift of a Blendtec, I did successfully make this recipe in a regular blender. It just took a lot longer and was a lot more frustrating.
I use 4 oz. mason jars for storing this recipe not only because they’re photogenic, but also because they’re the most affordable option when you need a lot of baby food containers. Plus, they don’t flip over in the dishwasher (crucial, right?) I did swap out their metal lids for plastic ones because the metal lids tend to rust after awhile. I bought these jars and these lids on Amazon.
Because the pureed fruit will add a lot of water to the mix, it’s important to use Greek yogurt so the mixture doesn’t become too thin. I also use rolled oats to thicken up the mixture further, plus this ingredient adds extra fiber and you can barely taste it.
Give this yogurt a taste once you make it – you’ll notice that it’s still quite tangy. But that’s really okay! If you’re just starting your baby out on yogurt, he or she won’t expect it to be as sweet as commercial yogurt. In fact, my daughter now loves to eat plain Greek yogurt on its own. But if your kid doesn’t go for it after a few exposures, you can try using a fruit that contains more natural sugar than strawberries (such as pineapple) or add 1/4 cup of sugar. Your DIY version will still have less sugar than what you’d buy in the store. If you go this route, I recommend decreasing the amount of sugar you add each time until your kid ultimately gets used to the sugar-free version.
What’s your favorite fruit to mix into plain yogurt?
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DIY Strawberry Yogurt
- 16 oz. whole milk Greek yogurt
- 2 cups rolled oats*
- 16 oz. frozen strawberries or any type of fruit, thawed
In a high speed blender, layer first the yogurt, then the oats, then the strawberries.
Blend until fully combined, scrapping down sides when necessary.
Distribute into 14 half cup containers.**
*If you do not have a high speed blender, consider using oat flour or baby cereal.
**Because this recipe makes 2-3 weeks worth of yogurt, I'll usually freeze half of the containers to make sure they don't spoil. Yes, you can freeze yogurt! The texture changes a bit when you defrost it but just stir it up before serving.