How to Make Your Unicorn Food Magically Good for You, Too

unicorn food
image via @vibrantandpure/Instagram

Snapping a photo of your avocado toast for Instagram is cool and all, but ‘gramming a photo of your unicorn toast is guaranteed to get you way more likes. Literally eating the rainbow is cooler than ever, and the unicorn food trend proves it.

Unlike rainbow-hued candy and sugar concoctions, however, the majority of unicorn foods’ pastel and vibrant colors are made from real food ingredients that pack in serious health benefits. Here’s how to enjoy some serious superfood action (turmeric, beets, spirulina, oh my!) along with an eye-catching breakfast.

What is Unicorn Food?

The unicorn food trend is attributed to one color-loving pioneer. Adeline Waugh, creator of the blog Vibrant & Pure, notes on her blog, “I never set out to create a trend, I was just playing around in my kitchen and trying to figure out how I could make hot pink cream cheese, as one does.”

Waugh proceeded to mix beetroot powder with cream cheese to create a vibrant pink spread, and the rest was rainbow history. “After playing around with all the cream cheese colors and blending them together to create new colors, I loved how they appeared to resemble paint-brush strokes” Waugh says.

“I called this colorful toast ‘watercolor’ toast in my caption, but my wonderful friends on Instagram quickly dubbed it ‘Unicorn Toast’, as the combination of the pastel hues clearly resembled that of a unicorn’s mane” she explains.

Photo after photo of rainbow-hued toasts took the ‘gram world by storm, and now there are more than 1,300 public photo posts of #unicorntoast from color-loving individuals.

rainbow food
image via @alison_wu/Instagram

Is Unicorn Food Healthy?

Remember the trendy Starbuck’s unicorn Frappuccino that exploded its cotton candy colored pink and blue shades all over the Internet? That particular unicorn food drink packed in 59 grams of sugar in the grande size and 76 grams of sugar in the Venti size.

According to Vani Hari, who you may know better as Food Babe, that’s about the sugar equivalent of an entire bag (20!) of Hostess powdered Donettes, or four scoops of Baskin Robbins chocolate chip ice cream. Not exactly health food.

One of the only good things about the unicorn frap, however, is its color derivatives. As opposed to using Red 40, Blue 1, and other artificial colors, which are linked to health and behavioral problems in children and adults, Starbucks does in fact use real food.

The unicorn drink is vibrantly dyed with turmeric, spirulina, apple, cherry, radish, and sweet potato instead of artificial chemical dyes.

Waugh also uses real food in her rainbow creations, including beet juice, turmeric, chlorophyll drops, spirulina powder, freeze dried blueberry powder, and freeze dried strawberry and raspberry powder.

This means that yes, with real food ingredients, eating unicorn food is totally nutritious.

unicorn food
image via @vibrantandpure/Instagram

The Health Benefits of Eating the Unicorn Food Rainbow

Making a rainbow toast creation is your new favorite way to make healthier food more fun (take note, parents!).

Pretty pink beet juice and beet powder are made from whole beetroot. The former is made from juiced beets, while the later comes from dehydrated and ground beets. Beets are known foods to promote the health and natural detoxification processes of the liver, as well as providing antioxidant support to cells and tissue. Beets are also a good source of B vitamins including folate, manganese, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.

Turmeric gives rainbow food (and your white shirt if you’re not careful!) a vibrant yellow color. Along with having anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants including manganese, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Spirulina, which can make unicorn food blue and green, is a type of nutrient-dense blue-green algae. Along with protein, B vitamins, iron, and magnesium, spirulina is rich in antioxidants, including phycocyanin. This plant pigment has been clinically proven to halt the production of inflammatory signaling molecules, and therefore providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Spirulina may also reduce oxidative damage to LDL cholesterol, exhibit anti-cancer effects, and even reduce blood pressure.

Chlorophyll, a plant pigment that helps plants absorb light and initiate photosynthesis, gives unicorn food a green color. Consuming chlorophyll drops or foods rich in chlorophyll (leafy greens and green vegetables) improves liver health and provides antioxidant support. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, chlorophyll can form “molecular complexes with some chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, and in doing so, may block carcinogenic effects.”

You can whip up vibrantly dyed mixtures of superfood powders and cream cheese a la Waugh, or simply enjoy these colorful spices, algae, and vegetables on their own.

Eating the rainbow (whole fruits, vegetables, and spices) is the easiest way to eat healthy, wholesome foods — and unicorn food helps to make that just a bit prettier.

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Kate Gavlick
Kate Gavlick

Kate is a Nutritionist with a Master's of Nutrition from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon and the blogger and photographer of Vegukate. Kate believes in nourishing the whole body with real, vibrant foods that feed the mind, body, soul, gut, and every single little cell. Her philosophy is simple when it comes to food and nourishment: cut the processed junk, listen to your body, eat by the seasons, eat plates and bowls filled with color, stress less, and enjoy every single bite. When she's not cooking in her too tiny Portland kitchen, Kate can be found perusing farmer's markets, doing barre classes, hiking, reading, and exploring.