Good Thinking

A tasty, healthy frozen pizza from Glasgow?

A tasty, healthy frozen pizza ...
Eat Balanced nutritionally balanced pizzas won the 2012 "Best New Idea" award at the 2012 UK Food and Drink Expo
Eat Balanced nutritionally balanced pizzas won the 2012 "Best New Idea" award at the 2012 UK Food and Drink Expo
View 2 Images
Eat Balanced nutritionally balanced pizzas won the 2012 "Best New Idea" award at the 2012 UK Food and Drink Expo
1/2
Eat Balanced nutritionally balanced pizzas won the 2012 "Best New Idea" award at the 2012 UK Food and Drink Expo
The Eat Balanced line of pizzas includes several styles, and the line is expanding rapidly
2/2
The Eat Balanced line of pizzas includes several styles, and the line is expanding rapidly

Pizza. An oven-baked flat, round bread covered by a combination of tomato sauce, cheese, and other toppings. Despite this rather clinical description, pizza is arguably the most scrumptious item in the ever-widening field of junk foods ... but must pizza be a junk food? Two people, appropriately named Maclean and Lean of Glasgow, Scotland had an idea for making it healthier.

Donnie Maclean, the founder of Eat Balanced, had a common enough experience with pizza - he ate a pizza, felt guilty afterward, and wished that pizza was not as unhealthy as it is. Unlike most of us, however, he didn't let the thought go, but set out to make and market such a pizza.

One day, Donnie was introduced to Mike Lean, a professor of human nutrition at the University of Glasgow, and described his pizza dream. Just imagine if you could have a pizza, as tasty and satisfying as any other, but which gave you everything you needed in terms of nutrition for a complete meal - and nothing else. They decided to take on this challenge.

How did they approach this problem? Normal pizzas, regardless of details, are too high in salt, fat, and calories. It is not unusual for a single personal-sized pizza to have as much salt as you need in an entire day, two-thirds of your daily requirement of fats (and a whole day's limit of saturated fat), and over 1,000 calories. Pizzas also tend to be low in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

The Eat Balanced line of pizzas includes several styles, and the line is expanding rapidly
The Eat Balanced line of pizzas includes several styles, and the line is expanding rapidly

In contrast, Eat Balanced has developed a line of frozen pizzas that contain one-third of a day's complete nutritional requirements with no excess salt, fat, or calories. Fortunately, Eat Balanced has reportedly kept the wonderful experience of eating pizza firmly in sight during the process of seeking nutritional balance. How did they accomplish this? Through choice of ingredients.

One surprising example is the reduction of salt. This was accomplished by removing half the salt, and replacing it with seaweed, which provides the salty taste required for a proper pizza experience while only containing 10 percent of the actual salt content. Seaweed also provides other important vitamins and minerals needed in the daily diet, but which are scarce in normal pizza ingredients, such as iron, iodine, and vitamin B12.

The U.K. dietary guidelines state that you should have 20 percent of your daily nutritional requirements at breakfast, 30 percent each from lunch and dinner, and 20 percent from snacks. Eat Balanced took this as the goal for their balanced pizzas, each of which provides 30 percent of all your required daily nutrients without exceeding the dietary limits on any of the bad actors, such as salt and saturated fats.

The Eat Balanced line of frozen pizzas will be in U.K. supermarkets before long, featuring combos such as cheese and cherry tomato, juicy pineapple and ham, and spicy chicken with red peppers and green jalapenos. Unfortunately, those in the U.S. and other parts of the world will have to wait for these dietary lifesavers to be available locally. Speaking as an overweight pizza fanatic - I can't wait to give them a try!

Source: Eat Balanced

9 comments
Caimbeul
All it takes is going back to the roots of pizza = pissaladiere.
Stroll along the docks and warehouses of Marseilles at lunchtime, buy a slice or two from the kids delivering giant squares of pissaladiere on purpose-built bicycles.
Michael Mantion
I never understood people that A) call food junk food and b) would ever consider pizza bad? Cheese, sauce, bread, maybe some meat and veg??? What is wrong with that?
Scion
Michael, it is not so much the ingredients necessarily (though many pizzas have poor quality ingredients made from non-nutritious carbohydrate) but the quantity. The amount of cheese for example, as stated above, provides an overload of saturated fat. The meat usually has a lot of salt in it and so forth. Home made pizza is often far healthier than fast food chain pizza, though not always. These guys have just demonstrated your point: you can have pizza and your health at the same time. This is the same as hamburgers. A bit of meat and salad on a bun is not in itself unhealthy, but the ingredients and quantities used in typical take away restaurants are.
ElSmurf
The biggest problem with industrial food in general, and frozen pizza in particular, is that the quality of their ingredients is based on number crunching, which in most cases means low quality carbs like Michael mentioned. These processed starched wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels, and add to that the low quality saturated fats, they make up a perfect recipe for obesity, diabetes and other nutrition related illnesses.
And not entirely on topic, but most national nutritional guidelines are hopelessly outdated, and are based on science from the second half of the 20th century.
JPAR
Yep, commerical pizza is full of rubbish - and all about cheap ingredients that can 'mimic' the true ingredients. But then this can be said for the majority of commercial/processed food, so lets not single out pizza. Unless you/we are prepared to put in some graft in the kitchen to make fresh meals with 'real' ingredients, then we'll forever be fed a diet of cheap trash. make your own decisions - personally I prefer to spend time in the kitchen and buying fresh local produce where possible.
pmshah
How about somebody coming up with seaweed in packages as common salt substitute? Would be a boon to all those blood pressure patients. Low sodium (high on potassium) salts are worse than the common salt as you need a whole lot more for the same saltiness. Substituting sodium with high dosage of potassium is not necessarily healthy.
Additional benefit of vitamin B-12 would be greatly welcome for vegetarian people like me.
Heikki Kääriäinen
The problem with most pizzas is the base. The base is made out of wheat. Wheat is a cheap and nasty ingredient, good for bakers because of high gluten content. Wheat is also easy to grow so there iis such a oversupply of it to be used in most processed foods. I have eaten a rye based pizza. Once in a cafe in Brisbane and I used to make rye pizza myself when I lived in Finland. 100 % rye is much better in taste and the nutritional value is suberb compared to wheat. The problem is that majority of the World population have been brainwashed to like white wheat bread. White bread in my old country Finland is for babies and elderly without teeth. Wheat flour is perfect for junk food! Replace it with rye flour and you get a healthier pizza.
Eric Osterman
Do you know is there any way to get this pizza in the United States?
windykites
Eric, you could try getting the recipe and making it yourself. This could be even healthier than buying the professional product, as has been indicated by other people here.
My daughter recently made pizza with rectangular flatbread, and another daughter used a tortilla wrap as the base (you can't get much thinner than that). Obviously the tastiness comes from the toppings, so it is fairly easy to work out how many calories.There are such products as vegetarian pepperoni, and salami, which presumably are lower in fat than the originals. Onions, chopped olives, and dried tomatoes are good ingredients, and you can get low fat cheese as well. Don't forget the tomato puree.You can add salt to your personal preference.
I am now making myself hungry!