The Food Processor – The Best Tool for Homemade Baby Food

Why Would You Make Your Own Baby Food?

There are so many reasons you should consider making your own baby food. We all know optimal health can not be achieved without good, healthy foods. The most wholesome foods do not contain preservatives, pesticides and artificial sweeteners yet many of the best-selling baby foods do. By making your own baby food, you control exactly what goes into it. This gives you complete control over the nutritional needs of your baby. Many parents are reluctant to hand this responsibility over to a large company that mass-produces baby food.

Why is a Food Processor the Best Tool?

A food processor is unique among kitchen appliances in that it can produce many different textures. A blender will only produce a smoothly blended end product; a food chopper will only produce a chunky, chopped end product. The food processor will be there throughout the different stages of baby food production, from well puréed to solid chunks.

A food processor will do most of the work for you, making baby food preparation easier and quicker than ever before. You simply put all of your ingredients into the work bowl and process till the desired consistency is achieved.

Any food processor can be used, although some parents prefer to have a dedicated machine. There are several options available ranging from basic machines to complete baby food making systems.

What Should You Use in Homemade Baby Food?

Avocado, squash, bananas and apples tend to be favorites for young children. This is also a great time to slowly introduce greens, such as spinach. Research has shown that dietary choices made during early development shape our sense of taste later on. Make sure any solid foods are well processed to avoid a choking hazard.

Consult with your pediatrician to come up with an ideal menu for your baby. Each child is different and nutritional needs vary greatly. You should ask your pediatrician for the exact amounts and types of food he or she would recommend. In the end, pay attention to how your child reacts to different meals and adjust accordingly.

Tips and Strategies

Stock up on stackable, freezer safe single-portion sized containers. Set aside an hour once a week for food preparation. This should be all the time you need if you are going to use a food processor to help. Freeze into individual portions and pull out the next days meals the night before.

Some parents prefer to do a full months supply all at once. With a mere four hours time you can make sure your child has a month of wholesome meals waiting in the freezer.

How to Find the Best Food Processor

The best way to gather useful insight into any home appliance is through the use of consumer reviews. A food processor is no exception. Reviews can give you honest, unbiased information about a product that you won’t find anywhere else. Go to FOOD PROCESSOR REVIEWS and use the detailed buying guide and thousands of reviews to find the best food processor for you.

Foods to Avoid – A List of Food Products You Should Avoid Feeding to Your Dog

If you own a dog then you are probably aware of certain foods that you should not feed. However, pet obesity is on the rise and many people still choose to feed their pets inappropriate foods or treats. Whilst some foods do simply encourage selective feeding and obesity there are others which are potentially dangerous to dogs. Here is a list of some of the foods you should NEVER offer to your dog.

Alcohol
As in humans, alcohol can cause intoxification but with dogs it can quickly lead to death or coma.

Caffeine
Products such as chocolate, coffee, tea and many carbonated drinks contain caffeine. They also contain theobromine or theophylline. These three substances can be toxic to dogs and if fed can lead to a heart attack.

Fat
Avoid feeding your dog high levels of fat, including fat trimmings from human food. It leads to weight gain and associated problems brought on by obesity. It can also lead to pancreatitis.

Grapes and Raisins
It has been reported that an unknown toxin in both grapes and raisins can lead to kidney damage.

Excessive amounts of liver
Liver is fine if fed sparingly, however, in excess it can lead to vitamin A toxicity.

Macadamia nuts
These nuts contain toxins and it is believed that consumption of these nuts can cause problems with the dog’s digestive system, nervous system and muscles.

Milk and Dairy
Milk is not necessary for adult dogs. Some adult dogs cannot cope with the amounts of the enzyme lactase, found in milk. You may find that feeling milk will lead to diarrhea.

Food showing signs of mould
Mouldy food may contain harmful toxins that can lead to an upset stomach. If it is mouldy throw it away!

Mushrooms
Mushrooms contain a collection of toxins that are harmful to dogs. In the worst case, mushroom consumption can lead to shock and even death.

Any type of onion and garlic
Onions and garlic should not be fed t a dog, whether they are raw, cooked or powdered. They contain sulfoxides and disulfides which if fed repeatedly can cause anaemia.

Fruits and Vegetables including:
Potato, potato stems, tomato, tomato stems, rhubarb. These foods can affect the digestive system and cause urinary infections.

Raw egg
Raw eggs can decrease the absorption or vitamin B into the blood stream. Reduced levels of vitamin B leads to skin problems and a dull coat. As with humans, salmonella is a risk with raw eggs.

Raw fish
As with raw egg, raw fish can lead to a vitamin B deficiency. If raw fish is fed regularly it can lead to seizures and death.

Salt
Salt is not necessary in a dog’s diet. If fed excessively salt can lead to electrolyte imbalances.

Sugar
As with humans, excessive sugar can lead to weight gain, tooth decay and diabetes.

Scraps
Try to avoid the habit of feeding your dog your leftovers. It can cause habitual begging, weight gain and selective feeding. Offer your dog his own food, at his own meal time, in his own dish.

Whilst this guide aims to be informative the list of foods is not exhaustive. If you are in doubt about what to feed your dog please consult your vet.

The Benefits of Agroecology for Increasing Food Production

In a new report the UN’s special reporter on the right to food says that agriculture is at a crossroads and suggests that the way forward to increase yields depends not on industrial-scale farming but on sound ecological farming.

Olivier de Schutter says that food production and farming are in need of a revolution on the scale of the 19th Century Industrial Revolution if food production is to be increased and food prices are to be kept under contro.

But increasing food production to meet future need will not be enough without also making progress in improving the income levels for the poorest, particularly small-scale farmers, as well as making progress on reducing malnutrition.

Studies of eco-farming projects in more than 57 countries have demonstrated that average crop yields in poor countries can be increased by 80% by using natural methods for improving soil conditions and protecting against pests, his report says.

Agroecology combines the sciences of agronomy and ecology using a wide variety of techniques, many of which are based on knowledge of local conditions including the predators and indigenous plants that can keep pests and diseases under control.

It is, says de Schutter, a coherent concept for designing future farming systems, strongly rooted both in science and in practice, and has been shown to work well in projects in 20 African countries, where sustainable intensification has been developed during the 2000s.

Projects included crop improvements, integrated pest management, soil conservation and agro-forestry, and average crops yields doubled over a three to ten-year period. The systems used were more sustainable also, because they were not reliant on fossil energy (oil and gas).

His report argues that eco-agriculture is “knowledge intensive” and requires states to devote far more investment and resources that they currently do. It means bringing together the best of what scientists can offer and the valuable experience of smallholder farmers.

De Schutter’s report also makes clear that although agroecology methods are needed throughout food production to farm more sustainably the transition will be harder to make in the developed world which he argues is addicted to an industrial, oil-based model of farming.

Although the report focuses on the benefits to the world’s poorer communities some of the arguments are also applicable to farming methods in the developed world.

The UK’s Food and Drink Federation has just released figures showing that exports of food and drink had reached £10 billion in 2010. It is therefore becoming increasingly important to the economy and this arguably increases the importance of UK farming’s also increasing yields in a way that is sustainable given that there is a limited amount of land available on a small island.

There is an opportunity here for the efforts of the biopesticides research companies to develop a new range of low-chemical agricultural products (biopesticides, biofungicides and yield enhancers) to play a part in removing the dependence on the oil-based faming model in the UK as well as other parts of the developed world.

The science of biopesticides development depends on developing effective plant protection products derived from natural materials as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals.to target specific pests and diseases. They are effective in very small quantities and often decompose quickly so that they leave little or no residue in food or in the soil and water of the ecosystem where they are used.

Perhaps it is time for more state investment in this increasingly important sector of the UK economy to help farmers gain greater access to these new products and the information about how to use them to help them take advantage of this opportunity for economic growth.

Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers

Waste Management Software for the Food Industry

Effective waste management in food industry is the key to controlling the costs and keeping the ROI high. The process starts with tracking the food waste streams, identifying the areas of improvement and formulating an effective waste management strategy. However, since tracking the food waste streams can be very time consuming, it’s often overlooked. Waste management software can be an extremely helpful tool for this process.

Features of a Food Manufacturing Waste Management Software

There are numerous and different types of waste management software available in the market today; however, only some qualify to be relied upon. Good waste management software will provide you accurate information and allow you to be more productive in lesser amount of time. Following is a list of key features of a food manufacturing waste management software and some key considerations you should pay attention to before buying one:

  • Identify and differentiate between different types of waste – Top 5 types of waste in a food manufacturing unit are – Wrap area, Make-up area, Oven area, Mixing Area, and Other.
  • Identify waste by production line – In case the facility has more than 1 production line, this function will allow you to identify which line is being most productive and which is the least.
  • Identify waste by shift – The ability to set different shift timings allows you to identify how much each shift is contributing towards a particular waste type.
  • Identify waste trends over a period of time – The ability to modify date and time parameters to generate different sorts of reports is critical for a thorough and quick analysis of the waste streams and waste lines.
  • Manage Hauling – It must track the waste stream data from manufacturing line to disposal.
  • Levels of access – It must offer different levels of access to the floor operator as well as the management team. This will allow floor operators and managers alike to be proactive about making a conscious effort towards meeting the long term waste reduction goals.
  • Hardware – Most waste management software come with their own specialized hardware. You should ask upfront about the additional costs associated with the hardware, if any.
  • Initial implementation cost – Ideally the initial implementation costs should be a part of the software price.

Sustainability

Proper tracking and reporting of manufacturing waste help any food processing organization with the easy access to the critical data that they require to identify potential opportunities for reducing manufacturing costs. Reduced manufacturing costs allow you to produce the same product using lesser resources and thus giving you the advantage over your competition and helping you achieve higher levels of sustainability. Lesser waste would also contribute towards higher employee morale with cleaner and safer working conditions. Start identifying your food processing waste today and save money!