Chewsday Review- Babybel Cheese

Hands up if you requested a review of Babybel Cheese. There should be about 5000 of you! A popular cheese snack so it seems. Let’s see how it performs in today’s Chewsday Review…


🔹Milk (98%), salt, bacterial culture. microbial rennet

🔹This is one of the snack cheese with the least ingredients (which probably could go into the positives below!)

🔹Common allergens include: milk

🔶The positives:

🔹High calcium content (710mg/100g), which works out to about 3 times as much as yoghurt BUT it comes in a smaller serving so there's less total calcium. One Babybel works out to be 28% of a toddler's calcium requirements and 19% of an older child’s requirements. Regular cheese has a similar calcium content.

🔹Low sugar content as with most cheeses (usually less than 1g/100g).

🔹Double the protein of other pre-packaged cheese like Laughing Cow. This is not a huge issue though, because most Australian children get plenty of protein, but just shows the difference in ingredients.

🔶The negatives:

🔹16g of saturated fat per 100g (more than 1/2 the total fat) which is above healthy guidelines. Most cheddar cheeses contain ~21g of saturated fat, so technically this is lower than average cheese.

🔹High sodium content (710mg/100g) and again, most cheddar cheeses are high in sodium at ~700mg/100g.

🔹CONTEXT: cheese is made from the protein and fat components of milk, with the addition of an acidic component and an enzyme called rennet. The solid components are separated and pressed into the final shape. Realistically, cheese is concentrated milk and all cheeses are going to have relatively high fat and protein content, and low sugar or carbohydrate content. Salt also has an integral role in the production of cheese, inhibiting bacterial overgrowth and balancing the acidity. The average salt content of cheese is about 620mg/100g, making it a high salt product. It's almost impossible to change these characteristics and still make cheese.

🔹$42/kg which is relatively expensive compared to regular blocks of cheese.

🔶The marketing:

🔹”Natural cheese”. Honestly the obsession with ‘natural’ is ridiculous and confusing. I’d like to know what unnatural cheese looks like. Cheese doesn’t naturally come out of the cow shaped like this in nice little wax packaging.

🔹”Source of calcium.” Correct.

🔹”Sure to liven up any snack or lunchbox.” I must agree that most kiddies do love them.

🔶The alternatives:

🔹These are one of the best ‘pre-packaged’ cheese snacks on the market. Remember that cheese is nutritious, but it is high in saturated fat and salt, so isn't an ‘every meal’ food.' Regular cheddar cheese (slices, blocks or grated) is much cheaper and nutritionally similar.

About Toddler Mealtimes

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About Mealtime Building Blocks

Dr Kyla Smith and Liz Beaton are paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist working in fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla, Liz and Lauren on their website and sign up for their newsletter, and the Facebook page or on the Instagram page.

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