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
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!