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by demonlightreal


Healthy eating in Neopia.

With all the fresh air, potential exercise and excitement going on in Neopia, you'd think that it'd be difficult for pets to suffer with their health. But that's precisely what's happening - and probably because of all of the excitement and fun things to do! No one is taking the time to eat well and look after themselves because they're too busy playing Yooyuball, exploring new continents, fighting in the Battledome and gambling. When your schedule is so hectic, it's easy to give up on nutrition and grab the nearest thing at hand.

Unfortunately, that nearest thing is often pizza or a hotdog, or even - horror of horrors - something glowing. Neopets are lucky in that they don't have to be worried about cholesterol or flab. (In fact, for some of them, a bit of padding is good - even necessary. For instance, the Bruce needs a layer under his skin to keep warm on the top of Terror Mountain. Ever wondered how he could make do with just a dickie-bow in all that snow?) However, that doesn't mean that Neopets don't have to worry about nutrition. Eat the wrong thing and their efficiency in the Battledome might go down. Even worse, if they get ill, they won't be able to fight at all. The right foods put Neopets in the right moods as well - ensuring that they don't end up turning an unpleasant shade of blue or red if they are depressed or angry.

Where to start, though? Well - you've heard of the major food groups, that is: meat, veg, fruit, staple stuff (grain, rice, potato and so on), dairy and sugary/fatty foods? Well, they all contain what we need in varying amounts. We need carbohydrates, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals and water.

There is nothing wrong in the odd Pizzaroo pizza or Hubert's Hot Dog - it's only when you eat them all the time that there's a problem. Feel free to treat your pet (and yourself) when you think it's appropriate.

Anyway, on to the good stuff.

What to eat:

First of all, make sure your pet drinks plenty of water. This shouldn't be a problem if they are Maraquan, since they only really need to open their mouth. On the other hand, a Fire or Desert pet might need less water since they will be used to dry and hot conditions. Still, it's best to be on the safe side. Dehydration is unpleasant and can lead to prolonged cases of Floppy Tongue.

Secondly, get some roughage down your pet's neck. I won't talk about why they need this in great detail, but let's just say the bathroom in your Neohome won't get too many visits unless you do. :p Great Oat Cereal is great for this, and so is bread. Go for the brown stuff if you can, but if you can't, Yeasty Bread, Bread Wreaths and Flat Bread are fine.

Carbohydrates are found mostly in grain, oats, rice, potatoes - and what gets made out of them - pasta, bread, noodles, chips and all sort of other things. You need carbohydrates for energy; without them your pet will collapse with tiredness before too long. Neopets without energy will be hungry often - they might get the Grumbles because of this. They will also be listless and end up with the neoblues. If they do too much energetic stuff without putting enough food in their bellies, then they could get run down and suffer from Neoflu. This is a bad sign. I'd recommend a good round of toast to start the day off, and perhaps noodles or potato mash - with accompaniment.

Protein is very important - without it, muscles are hard to build up and your pet's body won't repair itself so easily after a fight in the Battledome. Getting protein is easy when there's a giant omelette sitting in Tyrannia, just asking you to go and nibble a piece! Help yourself! I'm sure the angry pteradon monster won't mind. If your pet is a carnivore, this won't be a problem either, since it can chew on some chicken or a dried Techo claw.

The nice thing about vitamins and minerals is that you can eat really sweet food to get them. Fruits like apples, bananas, oranges and pomegranate are rich in all sorts of things, like Vitamin C, B and all sorts. Calcium can be found in milk and cheese - without this your pet could very well end up with Cricky Neck.

Snack on a Tchea Fruit - you don't get food much faster than that.

Finally, as I said before, give your pet a treat from time to time. Some pets will be fine eating organic vegan wholemeal raw food. Other pets are picky and would prefer to eat nothing but pasta with butter on top. Treats and snacks are a good way to tempt them to eat foods they wouldn't normally touch. A strawberry jelly won't go amiss on occasion: it's easy to eat and tasty on the way in... And if you don't mind it very much, I'm going to go and take my own advice and eat some chocolate cake. A friend of mine recently had their fifth neoversary, and well... mmm. Yummy!

Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes. Healthy food. Right then...

What to avoid:

Don't feed your pet glowing or poisonous jelly, dodgy lollipops handed out by weird purple faeries or other suspicious food unless you want them to get sick! Now, what kind of heartless owner would do that to a pet? Surely only the most avatar-obsessed or Battledome-crazy would inflict illness deliberately...?

Contrary to popular belief, both spooky and gross foods can be eaten with relative safety. They might just look or taste horrendous, that's all. However, for reasons of hygiene, I'd recommend avoiding Fantastic Fly Pie or Dung foods, unless they have been specially prepared. Some (ghostly) foods can even be highly beneficial for (ghostly) pets.

Try not to feed your pet fatty, salty or sugary foods constantly. After three weeks of Ultimate Burgers, you won't find them in a fit state to Whack a Kass or run around the Neoquest worlds.

Also be aware that fizzy drinks like Neocola and Achyfi also contain an awful lot of sugar and salt. They taste lovely (well, maybe Achyfi doesn't...) and it can be easy to chug them down without realising what's in them. Just check your Neopet's teeth before bed time, don't allow them too many cans, and wave a Medicinal Toothbrush at them if they aren't moderating their intake enough.

Recipes that are all-around-good:

There are some foods that contain most - if not all - of the necessities and cut out most of the bad things. I'll list some here briefly, with a small review based on what a random sample of neodiners told me:

Tchea and Meatball Noodles- "good, balanced meal that filled me up nicely! The noodles were just wormy enough to slurp down in one go without being too slimy." - A. Pteri.

Altadorian Olive Salad - "Whoa, this tasted surprisingly nice. I mean, the olives had a bit of kick, but the crunchy meat was a nice touch. Also it was quite light, didn't weigh down the old tummy, see? I won't have to work my wings too hard when I leave!" - E. A. T. Shoyru.

Chia Cheese Blintz - "Uhhhuhhuhh! Must have more..." - T.H.I.N. Lupe.

Seaweed Lasagne - "Look, go away and stop asking questions. I'm trying to eat." - Mr. Skeith.

So there you have it! Prevention is better than cure, and even better when it's tasty. Go forth, Neopians, go forth and feast without fear!

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