There are so many choices of yoghurts in the supermarkets aisles and health stores those days that it is difficult to choose which one is the best yoghurt or at least which one is a healthy yoghurt. Some yoghurts are fat free but contain sweeteners, others are organic but contains added sugars…
I have compiled below some of my recommendations and criteria to look for before buying a yoghurt. I am not concerned about the fat in yoghurt as it is usually a nature fat state so I am not looking for a Fat Free Yoghurt. But keep in mind that a “normal” Fat content for a yoghurt is usually 3 to 4%. For instance, I have noted that coconut yoghurts are very high in Fat, sometimes 10g of fat per 100g so I completely avoid them and stay with either cow or goat milk yoghurts. But this is a question of choice, preference and moderation.
1- Plain yoghurt
My first criteria of choice is for the yoghurt to be plain.
2- No added sugar
A healthy yoghurt doesn’t contain added sugars. It is not always easy to see if a yoghurt contains added sugars as the labels (in Australia) only show the “Total Sugars” and this value includes the natural sugar of the yoghurt: Lactose. As a reference, a plain full fat yoghurt contains about 4,7% of sugar (=4,7g of sugar per 100g of yoghurt) which represents the lactose component.
3- No artificial colors, gelatine or sweeteners
A healthy yoghurt doesn’t contain artificial colors, gelatine or sweeteners. The benefits of having full fat milk is that it doesn't need gelatine, it is naturally creamy.
4- Healthy live cultures / probiotics
Healthy cultures are L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, S. Thermophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei for instance. They are used to make yoghurts. They are the ones responsible for turning the milk to yoghurt.
Choose a yoghurt that contains probiotics. Probiotics help for the digestive system and have lots of benefits. Does the label show you how much the yoghurt contains? Some yoghurts only list the cultures names, but it is not sufficient, they should have at least 100 million CFUs.
5- Bio Dynamic
If possible, I am looking for yoghurts that respect the soil, plants and animals. I found Jalna, Meredith Valley and Barambah brands very good in their approach (as per their websites goals).
If you don't have those brands available, look for Australian brands or local brands.
You only need a few tablespoons of your favorite plain yoghurt and one litre of milk. Too easy!
But if you don't like the idea of making your own yoghurts or just feel that you don't have the time, my favorite yoghurts are the below.
If you want to sweeten it a little bit, just add some fresh fruits such as berries, or mango.
I also enjoy my yoghurt with pepitas or sunflower seeds.
Jalna Biodynamic Yoghurt
Not only it is a plain whole milk yoghurt that tastes delicious but it is also set in its own pot, contains viable quantities of acidophilus, Bifidus and Casei cultures and by being biodynamic it means that Jalna dairy really looks after their cows. It is usually available in most supermarkets and the price is less expensive that the Meredith Valley or Barambah brands.
I am a big fan of goat yoghurt and the Meredith Dairy is my favorite. Do you know that the fat globules contained in goat milk are much smaller in size than the cow's ones? As a result they are easier to digest. Personally I can feel the difference between cow and goat milk in term of digestion...and I really love their taste and creamy texture!
I also appreciate the fact that it is an Australian producer and their goal is to produce the best products they "can and farm in a responsible and sustainable way.”.
I love the texture of this yoghurt. It is organic, no added sugars and also one of the less expensive yoghurts that fit most of my criteria: It is not Biodynamic, just organic. This yoghurt comes with different sizes and tastes. It is a pity that they don't offer natural yoghurt in a small size too. The smaller sizes are high in sugars.
Organic yoghurt from dairy in NSW. According to their website, Barambah uses "holistic farming practices and the original farm, Spring Creek, in the South Burnett, Queensland, has been farmed that way for many years."