While I was at the grocery store looking through the dairy section the other day, I noticed that brightly-colored packages of kid-friendly yogurts took up a good portion of the display. But aside from the attractive packaging, yogurt is more than meets the eye as a nutritious food for kids.
Parents and health and wellness professionals alike are looking for nutritious and delicious foods that will help kids maintain a healthy weight as they grow. A study recently published in Nutrients found that yogurt is a food that may help with that.
The researchers, who used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2005-2008) in 3,786 U.S. children ages 8-18, found that eating yogurt and dairy foods was associated with greater intakes of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and potassium – three of which (calcium, vitamin D, potassium) fall short in children’s diets. In addition, eating yogurt was not associated with total calorie consumption, and eating yogurt was associated with lower saturated fat consumption and lower BMI, waist circumference, and subscapular skinfold thickness.
That’s good news. The not-so-good news is that the majority of American children (91.5 percent) represented in this study do not consume yogurt. According to 2014 market data, children under the age of 6 eat yogurt most frequently, while teenagers (ages 13-17) eat it the least. I found this surprising since my kids, who are now young adults, have always liked yogurt.
Since 86 percent of yogurt is eaten at home, and children are most likely to eat yogurt as a snack, encourage parents to add low-fat yogurt to their weekly shopping list and keep the refrigerator stocked. That way it will be readily available when their children come home from school looking for a delicious snack.
Breakfast may be a great opportunity for teens to eat more yogurt. This article, How to Get Your Teen to Eat Breakfast, shows how yogurt with cereal or in a smoothie is a quick and easy way to give teens the nutrient boost that can be helpful in the morning. A parent or teen can whip up this Berry Smoothie in 5 minutes, using low-fat blueberry yogurt.