Nature offers an array of vibrant colors which science has tried to mimic for years. Walk down a candy aisle today and you’ll notice brightly colored pieces designed to mimic the tart yellow of a lemon and the sweet red of a strawberry. These colors are designed to appeal to our senses and to our innate instinct to search out fresh food in the wild.

But here’s the bitter truth: artificial colors are not the healthy choice for our bodies. Many artificial ingredients (colors, flavors and preservatives) are made from coal tar, petroleum, corn, or soy. Artificial colors, in particular, have been linked to several health concerns, including hyperactivity in children1. And  Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40 have been shown to contain known carcinogens linked to various forms of cancer2.

The good news is that there’s actually no need for artificial colors with the bounty of fruits and veggies that nature provides. After all, why mimic a juicy red strawberry when you can have the real thing? This smoothie layers several vibrant colors and perfectly demonstrates that we don’t need to fake it! It’s the best (and healthiest) way to celebrate our childhood love of all things rainbows and unicorns.

We’ve provided our recommendations for each layer below, but feel free to combine any fresh produce to create your own colors. You can even top it off with a sprinkle of Milk Chocolate Rainbow Drops from the bulk section for a sweet treat made with only natural colors.

Quick Tip: Using frozen fruit will yield a thicker smoothie, making each layer more substantial and preventing the colors running together once layered in the glass. (It also cuts down on the work, since frozen fruit is already chopped and has stems and seeds removed.)

Rainbow Unicorn Smoothie
Serves 2 (6 oz. smoothies)

For the purple layer:

  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Fare Almond Coconut Milk

For the green layer:

  • 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced in half
  • ½ cup baby spinach
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Fare Almond Coconut Milk

For the yellow layer:

  • ½ cup pineapple chunks
  • ½ ripe banana
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Fare Organic Orange Juice
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Fare Almond Coconut Milk

For the red layer:

  • ½ cup strawberries
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Fare Almond Coconut Milk

Optional Toppings:

  • Whipped cream or whipped coconut cream*
  • Milk Chocolate Rainbow Drops, found in our bulk section

*To make whipped coconut cream, strain all of the liquid from a can of Earth Fare Coconut Milk and add the cream to the bowl of a standing mixer (or a metal bowl) and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until the cream is very cold. Remove from the fridge and whip on high with a little turbinado sugar or maple syrup until stiff peaks form.

1McCann et al. 2007. Food additives and hyperactive behavior in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2007 Nov 3;370(9598):1542.

2Center for Science in the Public Interest. 2010. Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks.

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