A Scottish duo has developed a healthy version of one of the nation’s favourite junk foods.
The nutritionist behind the ‘nutritional’ pizzas says they contain a third of the recommended daily amount of calories, protein and carbohydrate for an adult. And overall they provide 30 per cent of an adult's RDA of vitamins and minerals.
Professor Mike Lean of Glasgow University and businessman Donnie Maclean worked together to create the healthy pizzas, after growing frustrated with the unhealthy pizza offerings available on the market.
“If you go along to a supermarket or a restaurant and buy a meal, then somebody should have thought about it nutritionally,” said Prof Lean, who works at the university’s human nutrition department.
“We've recently studied ready meals produced by the top five supermarkets in Scotland - common foods eaten in huge numbers - and they're hopelessly unbalanced,” he continued.
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“They contain as much salt as you should have in a whole day or more. They contain as much saturated fat as you should have in a whole day or more. The nutrients we need every day are absent from these meals. Nobody has thought about it. So I got together with Donnie [Maclean] to try to do this.”
The pair worked on creating a recipe that that included more nutrients into a pizza.
“I researched the market and found that seaweed was an interesting new ingredient being used in artisan bread,” said Maclean.
“So we used that as a way of reducing the salt level. The sodium content of seaweed is about 3.5 per cent compared to 40 per cent in salt. There's iodine in there, vitamin B12, all sorts of things. And the flavour is excellent as well.”
Red pepper is also mixed in with the tomato base to give the pizza extra vitamin C. As well as these nutrients, each pizza contains magnesium, potassium, folates and vitamin A.
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“The way the guidelines are set out, you have 20 per cent of your nutrients and calories from your breakfast, 30 per cent from your lunch, 30 per cent from your dinner, and an extra 20 per cent for snacks,” Maclean explained.
“We focused on pizza being a lunch or a dinner option. Each pizza gives a complete meal, with all the nutrients in it, for 30 per cent of your day.”
One major British supermarket chain has indicated it will stock the healthy frozen pizzas, and Maclean is in talks with other supermarkets and catering suppliers.
Since developing their new pizza Maclean and Prof Lean have set their sights on other classic junk foods. They are already testing a recipe for a nutritionally balanced curry and will then tackle fish and chips.