Rainbow Parfait

By Christine Koh

I love summertime ice cream runs (were I to rationalize, ice cream is also a source of dairy, since we’re not big milk drinkers around here…), but even I eventually reach a point of heavy cream overload. Subsequently, I recently was mulling over how to “restyle” fruit to make it a more exciting dessert option and landed on the perfect idea: rainbow parfait.

Technically, parfait involves custard (or ice cream), syrup, and whipped cream – delicious elements for sure, but my version below is completely guilt free and good for you. Also awesome? It makes for a perfect Summer Kitchen Camp project with your kids. In fact, when I told my 7-year-old daughter Laurel about my idea, she freaked out and even asked if she could come grocery shopping for the ingredients. I had Laurel “scavenger hunt” for her rainbow fruit ideas at the grocery store. It was perfect; I was able to procure other produce while she was busy with that task. And when we got home, this project entertained her while I made dinner and she was so proud to be in charge of dessert.


The fruits to use for this healthy recipe Laurel lays out her rainbow of fruit


  • Yogurt (we used Stonyfield lowfat plain)
  • Red fruit (e.g., we used strawberries)
  • Orange fruit (e.g., Laurel wanted mandarin oranges, which would have been perfect in color, but the store was out of them; we used peaches instead)
  • Yellow fruit (e.g., Laurel opted for mangos, which ended up being very close to the peaches; pineapple would be a good yellow option)
  • Green fruit (e.g., honeydew melon; kiwi would be a more vibrant option but we negated it due to allergies)
  • Blue fruit (e.g., we used blueberries)
  • Purple fruit (e.g., we used grapes)
  • Honey (optional)

1. Wash and slice fruit into small pieces.

2. Line up small glasses (we used 8 oz. tumblers and I also experimented with a wine glass). Spoon a small dollop of yogurt in the center of the glass, then line the bottom edge of the glass with your purple fruit. Use a spoon to push the yogurt up against the fruit to hold the fruit in place. (I explained it this way to Laurel: it’s like you’re building a brick wall and the fruit pieces are the bricks and the yogurt is the cement.)

3. Repeat the layering process with the blue, green, yellow, orange, then red fruit. The key to making it look pretty from the outside is making the fruit rings snug around the outside in the different colors. But don’t worry about perfection – the most important thing is that your kids have fun with it!

4. Cover the top (yogurt center) with your red fruit. You can drizzle the top with honey but we didn’t bother with it; the fruit had plenty of sweetness on its own.

The parfaits layered5. Go enjoy your guilt free dessert! This also makes for a great snack.

How kids can help: Kids can go grocery shopping with you (let them pick and find the fruit!). If they are facile with knives, they can cut up the fruit. And then definitely let them build the parfaits – that’s the fun part!

Christine Koh is a former music and brain scientist turned writer, editor, designer, consultant, and conversationalist. Her first book, Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More By Doing Less, will hit bookstores Spring 2013. She tweets about it all at @bostonmamas.