Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Kitchen Tip: Eat Plain Yogurt with Little or No Sweetener

January 12th, 2010 · 39 Comments · Upgraded Nutrition

It’s my constant goal to consume as little sweetener as possible, because I think that white sugar is going to wreak havoc on my health, and alternative sweeteners are very expensive and not always that much better for your health.

I can’t exactly trick myself, but here are FOUR ways to reduce the sweetener with your yogurt:

1.  Start kids young and don’t give options.

My babies eat plain yogurt.  They are not offered anything with sugar when they are 8 or 9 months and we’re introducing yogurt, so although Lovey Girl may have made strange pucker faces at the taste of the tart yogurt for the first few weeks, she is now on board with the project.

2.  The fruit on the spoon trick.

It sounds mean and sneaky to trick your kids, but you know we all do it when the outcome is in their best interests.  This tactic is a little diversionary tool – provided your babies/toddlers like fruit, you talk up the fruit and show them how it’s right there on the spoon.  The fruit goes right at the front of the spoon at first, in front of the yogurt so it stands out.  Later bites find the fruit more towards the back, so that the child has to take yogurt in his/her mouth in order to get to the fruit.

This trick works for adults, too.  Even my 4-year-old son has learned to ration the pieces of frozen fruit in his yogurt so he has some in every bite and a bit left over at the end to eat last.  I enjoy my yogurt a whole lot more if there’s something very cold and pleasantly sweet in each bite.

3.  The honey on the spoon trick.

We all know adults are going to have a harder time than kids going to plain yogurt from whatever they’re used to.  The big people need a bit more sweet “trick” to get them eating almost plain yogurt.  If you like to add a little honey to your yogurt, try this:  Put just the right amount (or a little less, especially as time wears on) of honey right on your spoon.  You won’t need much!homemade yogurt with honey With every bite of yogurt, your lips and tongue absorb just a little bit of that honey (preferably raw honey) along with the yogurt and maybe fruit.  It’s just enough to get some sweetness, and you usually can use less honey than if you put it right in the yogurt.

4.  Try cinnamon applesauce.

Applesauce and yogurt is not perhaps a standard combination, but when my son was little it was an easy way to use the 2-part food containers and still give him 3 foods.  My homemade applesauce has a boat load of cinnamon in it, which adds just enough sweetness and depth of spice to trick my body into thinking it’s getting sweetener.  I really like the mixture of applesauce and yogurt, and it’s the one way I can go with ZERO sweetener in my plain yogurt.

yogurt with applesauceMy son demonstrates his love for cinnamon applesauce and yogurt.

I’m just finishing a bowl of yogurt, and my fruit didn’t make it to the end.  I can tolerate and even enjoy the “just plain” stuff at the bottom of the bowl.  You might think that’s absolutely crazy, but it’s all a matter of training.  I didn’t like yogurt of any kind until five years ago, so anything’s possible with some baby steps and a little dedication to weaning off the sweeteners.  (If only I could find cookies and ice cream that had no sweetener but still tasted good!)

Wish making your own homemade yogurt sounded as easy as drizzling raw honey? I’m honored to guest lecture with my super simple, no dishes homemade yogurt method in the GNOWFGLINS Cultured Dairy & Cheesemaking eCourse. Enrollment is open continually and the yogurt lesson VIDEO is up mid-March. Various levels of membership allow you to “Pay What You Can” and you can view all 40+ weeks of past courses as well! Click HERE for more info.

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39 Comments so far ↓

  • emily

    i have now trained MYSELF to need no sweetener in my plain, whole milk yogurt. I used to douse on the maple syrup like it was going out of style! stevia does the trick too, just one drop or so per bowl.
    .-= emily´s last blog ..Curried Coconut Mussels on a Sea of Green =-.

  • starr

    Activia plain yogurt is so good i can eat the whole 24 oz carton and never look back, and why not use it for a starter.

  • Katrina

    This morning we had plain homemade yogurt with sugar free fruit sweetened granola for breakfast. All three children ate it right up! A little honey on this is good too if you need a touch of sweet.

    You’re blog helped me make my first batch of yogurt a few months back and I’ve continued to ever since. Thanks!

    Katie Reply:

    Katrina,
    Love to hear the success stories! :) Katie

  • Naomi

    I haven’t made yogurt in a long time, but where I live I can buy 10% fat yogurt…its ssssoooo good, and the fat makes it sweeter too. I don’t buy it much though because my daughters can’t eat milk products, but now that I’ve stocked up on sheep’s milk yogurt maybe I’ll indulge some more. I love yogurt with applesauce! And on pancakes too!

  • emily

    yum, 10% fat yogurt is the best, its lowerin carbs, higher in fat and i think protien too! try fage total fat brand. delish
    .-= emily´s last blog ..Curried Coconut Mussels on a Sea of Green =-.

    Katie Reply:

    Emily,
    Fage might have been the brand I tried! It was def. at the store when I looked – I’ll have to check now. I thought is was amazing. :) Katie

  • Mindy M

    I can eat plain homemade yogurt fine but the store bought stuff tastes tart to me. The kids like a touch of maple syrup and vanilla.
    .-= Mindy M´s last blog ..Crispy Nuts =-.

  • Cindy

    Hi Katie. My future DIL got me a yogurt maker for Christmas so I am just thrilled. I normally buy the gigundo container of plain fat free yogurt and eat it with homemade jam that I made over the summer. It’s made with agave nectar so it’s low on the glycemic index and good for you. If you don’t have any homemade jams, try thawed frozen fruit or fresh fruit mixed with a little agave if you need it. So good with mini shredded wheat or toasted oatmeal.

    Stacie Reply:

    Hi Cindy,

    I just wanted to let you know that agave syrup is actually pretty rotten stuff…it’s as heavily processed as corn syrup and does about the same things to your body. And your body NEEDS good animal fats and unprocessed (cold pressed) vegetable fats! Sometimes I add coconut oil to my yogurt…it’s sweet and delicious, and an excellent source of very healthy fats.

    Katie Reply:

    Stacie,
    Thank you for jumping in – I never tried c.oil in the yogurt. Interesting idea…do you use it in its liquid form? I second everything else that you said! :) Katie

    Katie Reply:

    Cindy,
    I hear agave is very processed and not so good for you :(…I have homemade raw raspberry jam sweetened with raw honey, and that’s a great way to use it as it goes bad faster than cooked jam. Thank you! :) Katie

  • Lisa Z

    I’ve been weaning myself off sweetener in my yogurt, too. I love 7 Stars plain as it’s so not tart, but I still used to add a T. of maple syrup to every bowl-full. Recently I discovered that a 1/2 to 1 t. of vanilla does the trick for flavor without sweetening!
    .-= Lisa Z´s last blog ..Are We Raising Our Children To Be Parents? =-.

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    [...] Sauce)5. HoosierHomemade{Taco Soup}6. Katrina @ Gluten Free Gidget- Butternut Polenta Lasagna7. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship (Less Sweetener in Homemade Yogurt)8. Aubree Cherie @ LivingFree – Peanut Pumpkin Cookies9. Jennifer (Hot Bacon Dressing)10. [...]

  • Dana

    Hey, the real reason agave is a problem isn’t that it’s processed, I mean, the stuff we do in our kitchens is technically food processing too. The real problem is it’s massively high in fructose. Low-carbers have been saying for years that fructose causes a lot of health problems even though it’s low on the glycemic index and what do you know, the scientists are finally admitting it (or, the media is finally acknowledging them).

    The tiny amounts of fructose you get in fruit, even modern hybrid fruit, are OK. The concentrated fructose in things like agave and honey and sugar isn’t so hot. It leads to things like fatty liver and type 2 diabetes.

    Hope that helps.

    Katie Reply:

    Dana,
    Thank you! Sweeteners is one frontier I have yet to cross on my own, so I’m happy for the help! :) Katie

  • Divina

    I’m worried about kids eating flavored yogurt from the supermarket and they believe it’s the real thing. They are just loaded with sugar. THank you for your tips here.
    .-= Divina´s last blog ..28 Day Real Food Challenge: Week 3 Evaluation =-.

  • Ella

    I like to feed my kids plain yogurt in smoothies. They especially love Banana Shakes, which I make by tossing some frozen bananas, yogurt and orange juice in the blender. Another great thing to do is make a half and half blend of yogurt and orange juice to drink. It’s almost like an orange julius.

  • Hélène

    No one mentioned that the ability to eat plain yogurt lies in the fact it is FULL FAT yogurt — no skim or 2% yogurt. ONLY Whole Milk. It’s not nearly so sour. Cinnamon and vanilla help too, and of course applesause or peachsauce is great too but only whole milk yogurt has that not-overly-sour taste.
    I personally need no sweetener to eat it. I like sweet stuff, don’t get me wrong. :)

  • Pam Groom

    Thanks for the tips on getting kids (and adults) to eat plain yogurt. It was just the advice I needed!
    Pam

  • Tanja Funk

    I started making my own yogurt, very recently, and love it. I usually eat it with fruit and oats for breakfast. Two of my girlfriends also make their own. One researched it a little deeper and discovered that home made yogurt, when allowed to sit the 24 hours produced something like 30 billion probiotics per millilitre! as opposed to a few hundred in the store bought stuff (which apparently begin to die off with in days). After discovering this, my other girlfriend brought up the question – when sweetened with honey, the only way her kids currently eat it, are the probiotics killed off by the antibacterial nature of honey?

    Katie Reply:

    Tanja,
    There’s an excellent question! I never thought of that – although we just add the honey right when we eat it, so I don’t think it would have time to do very much damage. Maybe maple syrup if it needs to be sweetened in advance? :) Katie

    J.P. Reply:

    My question is why can’t you just blend your fruit before you add it to the yogurt and then you would have a very fruity yogurt without having to have one bite of fruit at the time.

    I ask the grocer for bananas that has began to have speckles which they usually remove from the display and do not sell, and they usually sell me a 5 pound bag for under about $1.50. I sometimes freeze them whole in the skin or I peel them, cut into chunks and dip in lemon juice and freeze on a flat baking sheet. (The lemon juice keeps the banana from turning brown) When frozen I add the banana chunks to zip lock bags and return to freezer. When they are in chunks you can remove just the amount you need.

    Taste a banana that has a very yellow skin, then taste one that has a speckled skin and you will see the older the banana gets the sweeter it gets. I use the riper bananas in breads, desserts, smoothies and yogurt.

    One of my favorite things is to mash and spread an overripe banana on a slice of whole grain bread and add peanut butter or almond butter to the other slice.DELISH!

  • Debra @ Sweet Kisses and Dirty Dishes

    For me if there is enough fat in the yogurt I will eat it plain.

  • Cecili via Facebook

    I add a tad of honey to our plain full fat yogurt:)

  • Nav via Facebook

    Always :)

  • Beth via Facebook

    The apple sauce really works. I thought it would be kinda gross, but I really like it! Although, for the moment I’m trying dairy free :( So very, very sad. Hoping I can add it back in soon.

  • Alaina via Facebook

    I add fruit. It takes away the need for sugar for me. If I’m feeling like I need the sugar I add a drizzle of maple syrup.

  • Katelyn

    For those who have little ones already eating a sweetened yogurt and want to switch them to plain. Try mixing the sweetened and the plain, slowly adding more plain than the sweetened. Eventually, the plain is all you’ll have and it won’t be as large a shock. I also double triple quadruple agree with a whole milk yogurt. The higher fat content helps it not taste so bitter. There’s also nothing wrong with making a fruit sauce and mixing it into plain yogurt before eating; therefore making your own “flavored” yogurt.

  • Andrea via Facebook

    No sugar or sweetener. Just frozen fruit. Its great!

  • Julie via Facebook

    Since I switched to making yogurt with raw milk, the taste seems so much stronger that I need more sweetener to stomach it. Anyone else notice this?

  • Angela via Facebook

    We actually hardly ever put any sweetener in ours.

  • Kadee

    I started making my own yogurt about 6 months ago, and my absolute favorite way to eat it is plain. No sweetners, no fruit, no vanilla, just plain. Store bought yogurt, however, is a different story!

  • via Facebook

    I don’t add any sugar to our yogurt when I make it. We do like to eat yogurt with granola and maple syrup though.

  • Ali

    I started out adding maple syrup to mine along with fruit. I realized that a ripe banana mashed up and stirred in is enough to sweeten the yogurt for me and for my kids. Now other yogurt tastes too sweet!

  • Holly via Facebook

    I like unsweetened yogurt with fruit. It is an acquired taste, though.

  • Becca

    I was just wishing I could happily eat the plain, whole-milk yogurt in my fridge like my husband can, without Stevia or something. (since Stevia is healthy, ya? But expensive!)
    So this was a very helpful post. Thank you!

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  • Kelley

    I like my homemade yogurt with a drizzle of local raw honey and a handful of homemade granola. This is my main breakfast and go to snack. My 4 year old daughter loves it with just honey. Trying to wen her off of the amount of honey she wants though… :p

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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