If you’re like most pet parents, you’re tired of scanning the long list of ingredients that are hard to pronounce on commercial food packaging. Pet food manufacturers make eating healthy a lot more difficult than it needs to be for our furry friends. Pets can—and should—eat a lot of the whole foods normally reserved for the human household members.
Switch up your pet’s usual kibble with the following recipes for healthy meals and treats.
#1: Chicken and veggie rice bowl
Combine all your pet’s essential nutrients into one easy recipe! Boiled chicken is a great source of lean protein that’ll keep your fur baby feeling full until their next meal. Mixed vegetables offer a well-rounded variety of micronutrients that Fido might be missing from commercial pet food. A base of brown rice will add whole grains that help sooth tummy troubles.
Start by bringing water to a boil, tossing in the rice and simmering on low. Cook everything else together until the veggies are tender and the chicken is white all the way through. You can cook a pre-packaged frozen blend to skip some of the meal prep. Just don’t buy vegetables that include garlic or onions!
#2: Rainbow blend with noodles
Trade your furry friend’s commercial kibble for an all-natural blend of whole foods. Similar to chicken, turkey is another low-fat protein option for both cats and dogs. Sweet potatoes and carrots add fiber that eases indigestion and firms up loose stool. Macaroni noodles are an alternative to rice that’ll satisfy their daily carbohydrates. Toss in some zucchini and broccoli to complete the rainbow of tasty veggies!
Chop up the potatoes and vegetables, then pulse with the ground turkey in a food processor. Simmer in vegetable oil on the stovetop until the ingredients are tender and fully cooked. Prepare the noodles separately, then combine everything together and marinate in low-sodium chicken broth for extra meaty flavor.
#3: Diet-friendly liver biscuits
This next recipe has only three ingredients—wheat flour, eggs and beef liver. Cats and dogs alike go crazy for these liver-loaded treats! Plus, the simple ingredients list means you know exactly what’s going into your pet. A simple mixture of beef liver and eggs is high in protein and low in carbs, sugar and fat. Plus, these tasty biscuits don’t have any of the mysterious chemicals you’d find in commercial pet foods.
Toss the beef liver in a food processor and pulse until it turns into finely chopped pieces. Whisk the eggs separately, then combine all three ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spread the mixture flat on a baking sheet, pop in the oven, then set aside to cool. Shape the biscuits using bone or heart-shaped cookie cutters!
#4: Apple and sweet potato treats
Who could forget about dessert? Unlike commercial pet treats, this tasty homemade recipe is a high-value reward that’s easy on the tummy. Indigestion doesn’t have to mean cutting out sweets—applesauce without added sugar is still plenty sweet and has lots of fiber to bulk up stool. Add eggs for low-fat protein and every pet’s favorite ingredient: sweet potato!
Heat the sweet potato in the microwave, then remove the skin and mash. Mix with applesauce, whole wheat flour and eggs in a large bowl until dough forms. Roll out to half an inch thick, cut into adorable shapes, then bake in the oven until crisp. Allow to cool, then serve to your fur baby!
#5: Simple and healthy tuna bites
Kitties come running the second they hear you crack open that tuna can. Pet parents will enjoy that exact same reaction when they whip up a batch of these healthy tuna bites! Tuna and other cold-water fish are the best natural source of omega-3 fatty acids and low-fat protein. Pair with a bread crumb outer shell for a satisfying crunch that’s healthier than store-bought goodies.
Making the tuna bites is simple—mix vegetable oil, bread crumbs, eggs and low-sodium canned tuna in a large bowl. The oil will help all the ingredients stick together in little bite-sized pieces. Roll into balls and arrange on a baking sheet with space in between. Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy on the outside. Let cool and store for later!
These tasty yet healthy recipes are a good reminder that commercial pet food isn’t the only option. It’s possible to feed your furry friend a completely home-cooked diet and very easy to do so (as long as you refer to your vet for guidance). A lot of the ingredients you’ll need are already in your kitchen. Some of these recipes are even palatable to humans—set a table for two and dine alongside your pet!