Yogurt-covered raisins, pretzels, fruit snacks, almonds… The list goes on.

Manufacturers coat lots of different kinds of food in yogurt, hoping to give them the “yogurt-effect”  — the appearance that they are healthy, natural and good for you.  But are they?

Yogurt coatings are some combination of partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, whey powder, yogurt powder and sugar. YUM!

Let’s take a look at Sun-Maid Vanilla Yogurt Raisins.

Ingredients: Natural California Raisins, Yogurt Coating (Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Nonfat Milk Powder, Yogurt Powder, Whey, Titanium Dioxide, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla, Confectioners Glaze, Corn Syrup, Dextrin, and Maltodextrin.

Manufacturers are required to list ingredients by proportion so we know these raisins contain more sugar and oil than yogurt powder.  DOUBLE YUM!

Compared to raisins, yogurt-covered raisins are nutritional losers.

Let’s say your child eats 1 small box of each.  This is what she’ll consume:


  • Plain Raisins – 90
  • Yogurt-Covered Raisins – 120


  • Plain Raisins – 0g
  • Yogurt-Covered Raisins – 4.5 (4g saturated)


  • Plain Raisins – 5mg
  • Yogurt-Covered Raisins – 20mg


  • Plain Raisins – 2g
  • Yogurt-Covered Raisins –1g


  • Plain Raisins – 20g
  • Yogurt-Covered Raisins – 18g

Before you get excited that the yogurt-covered raisins have less sugar than the plain ones, consider this:

There are 25-30% more raisins in the plain box because the yogurt-covered raisins are bulkier. The fact that the two boxes contain roughly the same amount of sugar means raisin-for-raisin, the yogurt raisins are much sweeter – due to the added sugar and corn syrup.  The plain raisins, on the other hand, are sweet because they grow that way.

More importantly, yogurt-covered (or really, oil-covered) raisins teach your kids that both raisins and yogurt should look and taste like candy.

And aren’t raisins kind of like candy already?

Give your kids yogurt-covered foods occasionally.  When you do, teach them to think of them as the treats that they are, not the healthy foods they are claiming to be.

And if you want your kids to reap the benefits of yogurt, give them the real stuff – preferably in plain.  See Yogurt vs. Coke.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits. ~


Source: http://www.zeer.com/Food-Products/Sun-Maid-Vanilla-Yogurt-Raisins/000032022; http://www.sunmaid.com/en/products/products_raisins.html#raisins_3; http://www.sunmaid.com/en/products/products_yogurt.html (accessed March 2, 2010)