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Forming Healthy Habits


by cottontailcat

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     During the Winter months, it's so easy to get weighed down with the cold weather and hearty food choices. Poor weather conditions and warm comfort foods - Royal Cheese Bread, anyone? - take precedence over early morning jogs and Asparagus Protein Smoothies, and even when the snow has all melted away, it can be hard to get back into your healthy routine. In order to put Neopets on the right track, though, it's important to examine how they got onto the wrong one in the first place.

     This season saw the introduction of a number of new foods in Neopia, and very few that could be called "healthy." Rumors of new recipes from far away, like the Spaghetti Steak Burger and Mushroom Hotdog, have been making their way around. Surely these recipes are nothing but jun food disguised as a meal, but that won't stop most Neopets! These foods beg to be tried out, and just one taste won't hurt. Indulging on occasion is perfectly healthy, but once all these new foods are sampled, the snacking is less of a treat and more of a habit. Encourage your pet to try one of the healthier Cooking Pot meals instead - like the Grilled Smoked Meat Sandwich. It's still a savoury meal, without all the extra cheese and toppings.

     It can be hard to say no to these rich, tasty foods when they're literally being handed to you. When you do your dailies, you're likely to end up with at least a few food items. You might get a balanced meal like Ravioli with Altadorian Stuffing, a Lesser Spotted Fish, and a Snowager Brucicle for dessert if you visit the Qasalan Expellibox, Underwater Fishing and Trudy's Surprise - but you're much more likely to find your inventory full of sweets. When doing dailies for food, it's best to avoid the guaranteed unhealthy items, like Movie Central. If there was a Free Jelly or something like that, in a far-fetched Jelly World, it would also be an activity to avoid, of course. The Giant Omelette is guaranteed to provide you with a relatively balanced meal - 3 whole servings, in fact! For a chance at other healthy snacks, remember to go Apple Bobbing and play the Fruit Machine and Tombola each day. Apple Bobbing and Fruit Machine offer many fruit prizes, while Tombola - although occasionally rewarding a sugary dessert - often gives out staples like a Tin of Olives or Baked Beans.

     The price of healthy food can still be an issue, especially if your dailies aren't very fruitful from time to time. Some of the cheapest foods in Neopia are Gummy Pirate Candies, Space Faerie Cupcakes, and Pirate Potato Crisps. It can be very tempting to fill up on these low-cost options and save your neopoints for stamps, plushies, or Food Club bets. Luckily, eating cheap doesn't have to mean eating poorly! Get creative with your choices. A Qando Pita can be found for under 5 NP and is a good main course to your healthy meal. To round it out with a side dish or two, learn to prepare Chaosfish or try out some Avocado Baby Food - it's not just for babies! Treat yourself with a small handful of Sloth Gummies and you've had a very filling dinner for less than 10 NP.

     Another common barrier to healthy living is being a Gourmet Club fiend. Many of the foods in this category have little nutritional value to the Neopets ingesting them, and when you're focused on how many neopoints the next food will run you, your pet's health may get left in the dust. With a little extra concern, you can sort these foods into reasonably balanced groups, and still show your Neopet the importance of healthy living. To keep costs reasonable, save the cheaper gourmet treats - like a Triple Tier Space Faerie Cake - for dessert only. It'll be much more satisfying following a Twin Salad. Sometimes it's impossible to avoid eating a lot of sweeter items, though. So many of the gourmet foods available are baked goods or overly-hearty meal options, you're bound to pig out from time to time - and that's okay! As long as you don't over-indulge on a daily basis, having an extra treat is no big deal.

     Keeping your Neopet healthy isn't just about food! Exercise is an important part of a balanced lifestyle for every Neopet. Training School is the most popular way to help your Neopet get some exercise in. Early on in this process, you can train very affordably at Cap'n Threeleg's Swashbuckling Academy, more commonly known as Pirate Training. For just a few dubloons, your pet can train in 5 different areas of fitness! Courses will become more challenging as your Neopet levels, of course, and once they surpass level 40 they'll need to move on to the Mystery Island Training School. This school takes codestones as payment, which will run you a bit more than dubloons. Worried about the cost of training? For even more of an active challenge, Neopets can use their new skills in the Battledome. Wins earn neopoints and items - including the codestones needed for these courses.

     If your or your Neopet don't like the idea of training, there are plenty of alternative, less organized ways to stay fit. Take your Neopets for a walk around Neopia Central or a jog through the Haunted Woods - wouldn't want to move any slower through there. Some pets may enjoy a swim in Kiko Lake, or a few laps around Faerieland for the flight-inclined. Ready for more of a challenge? Take them on a trip to scale Terror Mountain, or even go on a hiking excursion through the Lost Desert! Remember to stay hydrated and take breaks when you need them - challenge is healthy, but be careful not to push your Neopets too hard.

     Taking care of your Neopet's body includes watching for signs of illness or infection. Regular visits to the Healing Springs will usually take care of any unknown viruses within a few attempts, but if you notice your Neopet seems under the weather, take action sooner. A quick visit to the Hospital will help you identify your Neopet's illness and show you the cure - but you do have other options. Holistic medicines are available in Neopia, although potentially less reliable. At times, you may save neopoints by choosing these methods of curing illness, and they may be less hard on your Neopet. Cooling Ointment and Warm Amber Ointment will cure any disease, especially helpful if you're unsure about just what your Neopet has. Other holistic options, such as Kaylas Home Remedy or a Yellow Healthshroom, are also curatives across the board - just with slightly lower success rates. Certain illnesses may be cured in other ways, such as a few attempts with Minor Healing Ointment or Black Cherry Tea. Consult the helpful staff at Remarkable Restoratives, Lost Desert Medicine, or the Neopian Pharmacy to be sure you're making the right choice for your Neopet.

     Above all else, remember that the healthiest Neopet is a happy Neopet - remember to give your Neopet lots of love, affection, and fun. A treat now and then is important, too! Don't get too obsessed with health perfection. Health is about living a happier life, not a harder one. A healthier lifestyle will help your Neopets stay alert and energized to enjoy your time together.

 
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