A couple weeks ago I spoke on a panel with Dr. Teresa Purzner, founder of Cerebelly, a newly launched brand of organic food pouches for babies and toddlers. To say that I was inspired by our meeting would be an understatement. Teresa is a mom of 3, a neurosurgeon, has a treatment for pediatric brain cancer on trial at St. Jude and is a fricking rockstar. I was completely entranced by everything she said and walked away feeling discouraged by the foods that we feed our kids and also hopeful for the future. Teresa dreamed up Cerebelly after finding that the baby foods on store shelves had zero percent of the daily value of the nutrients that were important for healthy brain development. We all know that what we eat is important, the more wholesome, the better and starting during the most developmental time in a child’s life is essential. Teresa decided she would solve the problem she witnessed herself and partnered with her brother, pediatricians, nutritionists and food scientists to create Cerebelly – delicious, farm fresh, organic baby food that provides REAL nutrition for a growing brain and body.
Teresa’s biggest suggestion when deciding what to feed your child is to look at the ingredients. Sounds so simple. It’s amazing what you see when you compare ingredients that you thought were “healthy” to the wholesome ingredients in Cerebelly. Obviously everything in moderation (hello goldfish!) but making an effort to incorporate foods that ensure your kids are getting the highest amount of essential nutrients on a daily basis is so important. Doing that on your own is not always easy – for example, Teresa reminded all of us that trying to get your kids to eat meats, dark leafy greens, lentils, beans – the foods that are packed with nutrients like iron, DHA, etc. is HARD. Cerebelly makes it easy. A huge takeaway for me was the lack of iron, omega 3’s (specifically EPA) and Vitamin B in baby foods. It’s CRAZY when you look at the comparison in iron levels between other baby food pouches. Another one was DHA which we all know is super important for brain development. BUT, I usually rely on my whole milk with added DHA to check this off the list for my kiddos! Not ideal or super efficient. Here are some interesting findings…
DHA is an essential Omega 3 for your brain and body development. DHA deficiency in the body can cause ADHD, learning disabilities and other health issues. EPA is one of the most important forms of DHA and can be found in fish oil, kelp and algae. EPA has been found to reduce inflammation (a driver of several common diseases) and Cerebelly packs this into their pouches through algal oil and kelp. Fun fact Teresa told me – the reason salmon and fish are heavy in EPA and Omega 3’s is because they eat kelp and algae! Sooo simple! BUT, I definitely know that my kids are NOT getting kelp or algae or salmon or much EPA/DHA (if any) on a daily basis in general. Also! The importance of seeds! Seeds carry all of the nutrients of an entire plant in its tiny little body so you better believe that seeds are PACKED with good things for your little ones (this ground up sunflower seeds, etc.). *you can buy Cerebelly pouches at Whole Foods or through their website.
Although Charlie and Jack don’t necessarily eat pouches anymore I’ve been getting creative with ways to incorporate Cerebelly products into their diets. I know that I could give them spinach and salmon for dinner but lets be real – that ain’t happening. So at the event, I asked Teresa what types of foods she would recommend for kids who don’t eat pouches anymore and she told me to bake them into their foods! Cerebelly nutrient levels are tested after they are steamed and cooked so baking them means all of the nutrient levels would stay the same! I’ve also been adding a pouch into their morning smoothies (usually the sweet potato + mango). Teresa also recommended using the peas + basil pouch as pesto with parmesan cheese on their pasta – seriously this woman is a genius. Can you tell I love Teresa? Ha!
I know that these pouches are not an ideal purchase for everyone so I hope that their ingredients inspire you to get creative with your own recipes. Whether that means blending your own pumpkin and carrots or sweet potatoes and peas. I know my kids won’t eat these things alone but knowing that they are packed with nutrients that I can add to things like smoothies and muffins make me feels so much better about what their little bodies are consuming. Ok so let’s get on with a recipe that I think would be great for every single member of your family!
Nutrient Packed Pumpkin Muffin Recipe
I followed this recipe and instead of using a cup of pumpkin I used one pouch of Cerebelly White Bean, Pumpkin and Apple and one pouch of Cerebelly Carrot + Pumpkin (you could easily use just two of one). Let me tell you, these muffins came out moist and flavorful! I’m usually skeptical of baked goods made with whole wheat flour (never the same) but these muffins were packed with flavor and so so delicious. They also contain a ton of unexpected nutrients like DHA, Iron, Choline, Lutein, Folate, Vitamin B + D, Niacin, Vitamin E and Protein all thanks to Cerebelly (you can learn more about why these nutrients are important for growing bodies here – just click on their individual box to learn more). Here is the recipe:
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil*
- ½ cup maple syrup or honey (I used honey)
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin purée SWAPPED OUT with Cerebelly pouches!
- ¼ cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend (or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon ground allspice or cloves)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour**
- ⅓ cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
- Optional: 2 teaspoons turbinado (raw) sugar for a sweet crunch** A great addition!
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). If necessary, grease all 12 cups of your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, beat the oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add the eggs, and beat well. Add the pumpkin purée or Cerebelly pouches, milk, pumpkin spice blend, baking soda, vanilla extract and salt.
- Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined (a few lumps are ok). If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins***, like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
- Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with about a tablespoon of oats, followed by a light sprinkle of raw sugar and/or pumpkin spice blend if you’d like. Bake muffins for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. These muffins are delicate until they cool down. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan.
- These muffins will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. They keep well in the freezer in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months (just defrost individual muffins as needed).
These are the best “healthy” muffins I have ever made! Don’t skimp on the sugary top and add almond butter on top for a extra boost of protein! They may taste more “sugary” with maple syrup but the honey was delicious, too. I’ll be feeding these to my boys this morning. I hope you enjoy! xoxo
And if you’re still worried your kids are getting enough I did just order these toddler vitamins and these DHA vitamins, just in case. Happy eating, friends!
*This post is not sponsored by Cerebelly, I was just generally blown away by what I learned and I hope this information helps you, too!