I tripped over this thought when I messed up some whole wheat pasta I was cooking. For some odd reason this particular batch of pasta was sticking together after I had drained it after cooking it for a batch of Chop.
In order to correct that, I needed to drizzle some oil in the pasta so it would separate. Normally I would use olive oil if I was making the pasta for myself or my friends. But this batch was for my birds’ food and I wanted to use a bird heathy oil instead of olive oil.
So I grabbed a bottle of flax seed oil and used that instead.
Bingo! I thought, “Well, I just boosted this food’s nutrition by layering the oil onto the pasta. It’s not just separating the pasta shapes, it is contributing to the nutritional level of this batch.”
So I started thinking of ways I could boost the nutrition of their food. How could I make something in their Chop that much more, well, “Muchier” to quote the Mad Hatter from Alice In Wonderland.
The idea of layering is simple really. You cook something with something else that it good for them. You add an ingredient that your bird may not be aware is there, such as the flax seed oil on the pasta.
There are about as many ways of doing this as your imagination can take you. For instance, cooking pasta with a healthy non-caffeinated tea is a way of infusing the goodness of the tea right into the pasta. Toss it with some healthy oil and you’ve added another layer of nutrition.
It’s a triple win!
Using a healthy oil when making bird bread is another idea. Simply use coconut oil and you’ve done it again.
Bake a sweet potato, mash up the flesh and shape it into balls. Roll the balls in flax seed or hemp seed and you’ve got it baited for birds that might be fussy about the potato but would like the seed and you’ve got the layering idea as well as baiting the food going on at the same time.
If you added some pureed, cooked carrot to the sweet potato, you’ve upped the level of carotenoids which are antioxidants in the balls as well as the Vitamin K. Drizzle with some healthy oil and you’re layering up a storm.
Instead of using whole wheat flour for bird bread, trying using quinoa flour for the high level of protein and calcium.
If you’re making a Grain Bake, grease the pan with coconut oil. The omega-3 fatty acids will go down the hatch right along with the rest of the Bake. And try substituting water with a sodium-free vegetable broth.
If you have a recipe that calls for using cow’s milk, substitute almond milk. The goodness of that will up the nutritional intake of that recipe.
It’s not really that hard to come up with ideas like these. Instead of just serving cut-up vegetables, try adding some healthy oil, some pureed, canned pumpkin and a shake of hemp seed.
Want them to get in a mellow mood? Add some dry chamomile tea to their Chop along with a shake of red pepper flakes. My African Greys seem to really enjoy the spiciness of the flakes and will go for the chamomile flowers in the tea.
So when you go about making meals for this bird, simply try to think of ways to add a boost to their meal, be it with a healthy oil, a shake of healthy seed, a pureed vegetable or substituting one ingredient for a more nutritional one.
Just being conscious of this will get more nutrition into their food and into their systems, yielding a healthier and more nutritionally dense product.
I guess this is one time when “leaving well enough alone” is an idea worth rethinking.