Welcome to “McDaniel’s Bite-Sized Reviews”

It’s the second post (last week we reviewed Banza Elbows Made with Chickpeas) of a weekly series we’re calling “McDaniel’s Bite-Sized Reviews!” Each Thursday, we’ll share a new popular food/drink one of our Registered Dietitians (+ their family) tried, reviewed and rated. I think it’s fair to say grocery shopping can be overwhelming. Who has time to evaluate the latest food or drink on the grocery store shelf?

In light of that challenge, our hope is that this review series serves  as an avenue to promote nutrient-dense foods that are easy to access, afford, and maybe…even be kid-approved. If we can make grocery shopping 0.5% easier, we consider it a win.

FYI – these posts aren’t sponsored. They are opinions of unpaid tastebuds.

Product: Lifeway Probugs Organic Kefir Pouches for Kids 

Lifeway Probugs Organic, 3.5 oz pouches, are kefir drinks designed for kids. They are up to 99% lactose-free, gluten-free and made with organic whole-milk kefir.  The McDaniels call them our “gut bug” drink.  Kid-friendly packaging, flavors (Sublime Lime, Creamy Orange, Goo Berry and Strawnana) and size make it the ideal complement to breakfast or afternoon-snack.

Why Did We Try?

Among the factors under our control, diet may be the most important determinant of our gut microbiota. As a mom and dietitian, I’ll never turn down an easy way to boost my boys’ intake of probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that when eaten in adequate levels, offer health benefits.

Health Benefits of Probiotics for Kids

Probiotics optimize your child’s population of good glut flora, which can promote optimal health. Research is in agreement that probiotics can help relieve constipation, acid reflux, diarrhea symptoms and flatulence. It may also improve immunity and oral health, and help manage eczema.

Specific conditions where probiotics may offer benefit include reducing antibiotic associated diarrhea, travel or poor sleep. Probiotic-rich foods, however, aren’t always kid-friendly – think: kimchi, sauerkraut or miso. Kefir milk and yogurt, on the other hand, can be easy ways to deliver healthy, beneficial bacteria.

Strain and Quantity Matter

One ProBugs pouch contains 12 live and active cultures in a quantity of 15-20 billion CFU (colony forming units). The quantity or CFU should be considered when choosing either a food or a supplement. Different probiotics have been shown to be effective at various levels. A product with a larger dose is not always better. The dose should match studies demonstrating their benefit(s), which typically ranges from 100 million – 10+ billion CFU.

That being said, make sure you get your product straight from the store to your fridge as fast as possible. If your probiotic product isn’t stored according to the proper temperature, probiotics don’t perform.

ProBugs Food Label

Probugs nutrition facts label

Label of creamy orange probugs lifeway product

Where to Find & Cost

In the MidWest, you can find the product at most stores: Schnucks, Dierbergs, Whole Foods, Target, Lucky’s or Fresh Thyme Market for around $4.99 for a 4-pack OR 3.5 oz for $1.25. Check out their store-locator for your area. In price comparison to a “similar type of product: Chobani’s 3.5 oz. yogurt pouches, cost around $4.20 for a 4-pack.

Worth the Bite? Our 5 Star Rating

Taste: 5/5 stars

My boys tried Creamy Orange and Goo-Berry flavors. While they had no problem sucking down a pouch of each flavor, they ranked the Goo-Berry flavor as their favorite.

Kid’s Approval: 5/5

Easy for small hands to hold and little lips to drink down, the boys gave them a 5-star approval. I did offer assistance to ensure each semi-pricey ounce was squeezed out before they asked for another.

Nutrient Density: 4.5/5

When it comes to nutrient density, it helps to compare ProBug Kefir to Whole Milk Yogurt:

  • 3.5 oz Lifeway Probugs: 80 cals, 3 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 11 g carb (6 g added sugar or 1.5 tsp), 0 g fiber, 4 g pro, 12 live and active strains | 15-20 Billion CFU 170 mg of calcium
  • 3.5 oz. Whole-Milk Yogurt: 100 cals, 4 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat, 13 g carb (added sugars will vary), 0 g fiber, 4 g pro, 1- 5 live and active strains | 1- 6 billion CFU 250 mg of calcium

For those who are lactose-intolerant or sensitive, it is also good to know that these ProBugs are 99% lactose-free.

The only reason the kefir milk came in 0.5 points shy of 5 stars is that it did include 1.5 tsp. of added sugar. To be fair, I don’t think my boys would have slugged them down without the flavoring. Plus, the added sugar in Probugs is quite in line or less compared to other flavored yogurts.

Value: 3.5/5

Sometimes you have to pay more for a high-quality product that uniquely delivers an important ingredient like probiotics. That being said, at 2 pouches a pop for 3 boys, it’s a $7.50 snack. I won’t be doing it daily, just weekly. 🙂

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

How Our Family Took a Bite: On the way and at Jack’s Baseball Game! 

Boy drinking probugs lifeway drink in car

Boy drinking creamy orange probug drink

boy drinking kefir milk pouch, it hang out of his mouth

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.