Like many of the families I work with, I have a child who doesn’t like to drink milk. I’m always on the look out for something she can try in order for her to meet daily calcium goals. Calcium for children is crucial as it builds the foundation for strong bones. Young children in the age group of 1-3 need 700mg/day. A child who drinks 16 oz. of milk per day will be at 85% of this daily goal. When a child doesn’t drink milk (or a milk alternative) it creates a big calcium gap that must be met. There are so many yogurt smoothie alternatives available that appeal to kids because of the packaging (yes my child picked out “Go Gurt” herself once she saw the Frozen characters) and some can be good choices to help fill this calcium gap. The two things to consider with yogurt smoothies is the amount of sugar they contain and the often low the protein amount. One of my daughter’s favorites is the Danimals Smoothie, which she refers to as “monkey milk” with its cute little monkey on the bottle. She asks for one of these on a daily basis and I don’t feel bad letting her have it since it is on the low end of added sugar. Young children shouldn’t intake more than 25-30 grams/day of added sugar, which can add up quickly in any type of flavored yogurt smoothie.
When calculating the added sugar in flavored yogurt, I looked up the same brand of unflavored yogurt and subtracted the milk sugar to find the total. For example, Stonyfield smoothie had added fruit sugar from juice so I kept it in the total. As you can see from the chart below, it’s a challenge to match up the calcium density of milk (soy milk is just as rich in calcium, but lower in calories), plus the protein and calcium density of Greek yogurt.
All of the brands listed have been kid approved by my soon to be 3 year old daughter. I encourage you to try making your own smoothies, which are easier to do with low sugar and high protein using Greek yogurt and real fruit. Try pouring it in a fun cup with a colorful straw to entice your child if you need to. Like everything else in our diets, moderation is key. Other excellent calcium options for kids include cheese, almonds, calcium fortified juice (limit to 4oz daily) and tofu.
Comparison on Kid’s Yogurt Smoothies
|Unflavored Greek yogurt (Fage)||Milk 2%||Danimals Smoothie||Yoplait Go Gurt||Stoneyfield Smoothie||Chobani Kids|
|Added Sugar/oz||0||0||1.3 g||2.4||2||2.1|