Meal planning might seem daunting at first, but it need not be. It does not have to be a science project either. Whether you subscribe to Dr. Karen Becker’s, Dr. Judy Morgan, Dr. Jean Dodds, Dr. Billinghurst or Dr. Lonsdale feeding guidelines, or the many other leading thinkers in this field, you will find that there are several common philosophies and guidance that apply.
In essence, you have available to you today:
- Deep frozen ground meal packs (whether flat packs, sausage style or pre-packaged in containers), that provide various protein sources;
- Pet mince from various outlets;
- Your butcher;
- Whole carcass, necks, wings & bones;
- Wild caught deep ocean sardines unique to our country;
- Lots of options for fruits and veggies.
What have we learned about nutrition and diet for our fur kids to date:
- Puppies & kittens require a balance to calcium and phosphor, in addition to protein (see our post about the growth phase);
- Adults and seniors have similar requirements, and protein is key (see our post about the senior phase);
- Working dogs require more good fat in their diets (including lactating bitches) (see our post about working dogs);
- Balance over a period of time is what drives the meal plan;
- Carbs are not required for glucose, a good source of protein and fat is mandatory (see our post on the carb debate);
- Not all supplements are created equal, and if you retain balance in the plan, little supplementation will be required (see our post on supplements);
- Protein rotation is good as it avoid a potential protein sensitivity in future (see our post on protein in the diet);
Fooding indexes are guidelines, and guidelines only, each fur kid is uniquely individual, and you will need to find the optimum weight index for your fur kids to determine their specific meal rations (see managing your fur kids weight).
We cannot continue to think about our pets’ nutritional requirements the same way as we think about our own in terms of components and ingredients. In principle, what must apply is the concept of whole, but for example, lean beef contains virtually no fat, and so the beautiful upper chicken breast as part of your Weighless Diet, but good fat is required by our pets, and necessary. The same goes for offal – just because we have been over educated that “fit for human” is the mantra here, it actually might not be. Many of the parts being rejected for human consumption, whether due to being truly unfit (4-D), or just because our nutritional needs have been influenced by convenience and yucky-ness (or lack thereof):- heart, liver, kidney, spleen and tripe (to name a few); are actually key to your pets nutritional needs.
Today, you have access to good and wholesome protein base in South Africa through partners such as Raw Love Pets, Doggobone, Simply Pets, PaleoPet Pure, Carniraw, Chefs4Pets As Nature Intended and Dogmatters:
- Tripe (lamb, beef, pork and venison).
To help make feeding your pet as easy as it should be, there is a extremely important concept that you need to embrace. It is probably the most difficult part of preparing your pet’s meal plan, because it requires you to change the way you have been taught to date.
If you can teach yourself this lesson, you’re well on your way to planning, preparing, easy nutritious stress-free meals for your fur kids!
Clean your mind and take a deep breath. Ready? Here it is: Stop focusing on exact “percentages” of ingredients of the meal plan. Huumans who have been feeding their pets from cans or bags have gotten used to feeding their pets “percentages” of nutrients. But, we ourselves, don’t eat this way. We don’t feed our huuman children this way. We don’t prepare meals for our own families this way – using exact percentages of nutritional components to ensure a balanced diet. There is no reason to food your fur kids this way either. Remind yourself that you don’t eat this way, and that wild dogs and cats, certainly don’t eat this way.
Think “food groups” and “balance” instead. The general proportions of foods that you feed your fur kids are important. But don’t torture yourself over it, because it’s not that difficult to get right. Sure, the food might be in a form slightly different from what you would eat, but basically, think of planning and preparing your fur kids meal as preparing a normal home made meal for a person. It doesn’t need to be any more complicated.
Sample meal plans
Below is a sample of a rotational meal plan with eggs and sardines added in if you are not using any Omega supplements. The meat balance doing meals this way is 4 – 5 chicken, 4 – 5 turkey, and 5 beef (or game when available) – assuming you feed two meals a day.
We suggest that you add eggs and sardines to meals if you are not using any Omega supplements in the diet, or alternate these with your supplements. Alternatively, it also adds a bit of spice to the meal plan. Eggs obviously contains a lot of goodness and so does sardines. We believe it makes better sense to spread the eggs and sardines through the week if you choose to include them into your meal plan. Though nutrients from fat (the vitamins and fatty acids from these foods) can be stored by the body, it’s probably better to ingest them more than once a week.
In case you are wondering why we put eggs in the morning and sardines at night – it’s only because many of the pet parents also eat their eggs in the morning.
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7|
|AM||Beef||Chicken||Beef + Egg||Turkey + Egg||Chicken||Chicken + Egg||Beef + Egg|
|PM||Turkey + Sardines||Beef||Chicken + Sardines||Chicken||Beef + Sardines||Turkey||Turkey + Sardines|
In the real world it is often more convenient to food one protein source several days in a row. This is also acceptable. Consider adding the eggs and sardines into your rotational meal plan and mix.
Additional Articles and Videos
Good reference articles & videos further reading available at.