Pizza is usually a no-no (or at the very least, a rare splurge) for those watching their caloric intakes, however a Eat Balanced Ltd.,company in Scotland, has created a line of pizzas that employ a few unconventional ingredients to deliver not just the flavor expected of a pizza, but also they healthy benefits of a complete meal.
The pizzas, developed by University of Glasgow scientist Mike Lean and entrepreneur Donnie Maclean, are fortified with seaweed and red peppers. Locally grown seaweed is blended into the dough to deliver magnesium, potassium, folate, and vitamin A, decreases sodium levels and provides vitamin B12 and iodine, while red peppers in the sauce provide vitamin C, according to Mr. Maclean.
The pizzas were developed using nutritional guidelines from the UK Food Standards Agency and according to Eat Balanced, contain the correct proportions of calories, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, salts, sugar, fiber, vitamins and minerals that humans need in a balanced meal. Each individual pizza has been formulated to provide about 30% of the recommended daily nutrient amounts.
Mr. Maclean said that he and his colleague sought to create a healthy food option that took care of the nutritional guesswork for the consumer. “The concept of a balanced diet is well established in people’s minds. However, it’s not easy to make sure that you are getting exactly the right balance of what you need from each meal,” he said. “I set up Eat Balanced to try to make it as convenient as possible for people to achieve the balanced diet they know they should be getting. I wanted to prove that a balanced meal could still be properly tasty, by choosing one of the nation’s favorite foods.
To create the pizzas, Eat Balanced studied many products and recipes to figure out where the meals fell out of nutrient balance. Then the company redesigned the meal to correct shortfalls and maximize nutrient values, while maintaining taste and texture. The pizzas, according to the company, are made using traditional methods, with the bread base slowly fermented overnight, and then nutrient-packed toppings are hand-applied on top of fresh, ripe tomato sauce. The pizzas were then re-analyzed to ensure the cooked product still contained all of the important nutrients. Feedback from taste testing panels helped fine tune the final products.
Professor Lean said the pizzas are “a clever idea that clearly demonstrates that a balanced diet can be achieved with a convenience food. By eating a nutritionally balanced meal, it is far easier to get on the right track towards a well-balanced diet.”
He went on to add that though it was a technical challenge, the Eat Balanced pizza effectively removed the junk food stigma from pizza and returned it to its nutritionally sound origins. “Having reviewed the full nutritional analysis, I can formally confirm that this is a complete, nutritionally balanced meal,” he said. “In our department, we have just analyzed a range of popular ready meals from the five main supermarkets. They were nutritionally chaotic. Not one is remotely balanced and some could actually be dangerous. The Eat Balanced pizza range is a triumph!
The Eat Balanced pizzas use all-natural ingredients to preserve a classic pizza taste. The flavor range currently spans Cheese and Cherry Tomato, Juicy Pineapple and Ham, and Spicy Chicken with Red Peppers and Green Jalapenos, all in nine and eleven inch sizes. There are also two children’s pizzas: Cheese and Tomato and Cheese and Chicken, both available in seven and nine inch sizes.
Food scientists at Eat Balanced are currently trying to extrapolate the convenient healthy food concept into other foods and are working on creating nutritionally balanced curries as well as healthy fish and chips.
As for the pizzas, they are not yet commercially available but after introducing its healthy pizza concept to the UK food trade at Food and Drink Expo in Birmingham, Eat Balanced picked up a "Best New Idea" award and has subsequently begun fielding interest from specialty health shops, supermarkets and catering companies in the UK. Mr. Maclean said the company has received at least one commitment from a major UK supermarket to launch later this year, and hopes to partner with US manufacturers in the near future.
For more information about Eat Balanced healthy pizzas, click this link.