Childhood obesity – bold and brave action

The UK Government’s Health Committee recently released their report “Childhood obesity – bold and brave action”. It calls for urgent action on treating obesity and it’s consequences, which costs the government £5.1bn every year, and has suggested a number of recommendations.

New UK Government on childhood obesity

Did you know that one fifth of children are overweight or obese when they begin school, and this figure increases to one third by the time they leave primary school?

The report goes onto highlight that the most deprived children are twice as likely to be obese than the least deprived, therefore childhood obesity is a significant contributor to health inequality.

Recommended actions to tackle childhood obesity

The report calls on a number of areas where further action is required from the top to reach the most vulnerable individuals:

⦁ Tougher controls on price promotions and advertising of unhealthy food and drink
⦁ Taxation of high sugar and fat food
⦁ Product reformulation of foods high in fat, salt and sugar
⦁ Nutrition standards in schools (which is already happening – see Scottish school nutrition regulations)
⦁ Greater powers for local authorities to help families affected by obesity
⦁ Improved education and information on the importance of a balanced diet

This is just a quick summary of some of the recommendations and for anyone that is interested in the detail you can download the report for some bedtime reading.

Our thoughts to tackle childhood obesity

At Eat Balanced, if we were to support one of these initiatives it would be product reformulation of high fat/salt/sugar food and drinks. We aim to improve children’s nutrition by reinventing kid’s favourite foods, like pizza, into tasty, balanced meals.

What do you think?

If you’re involved in the food and drink industry, we’d love to hear you’re thoughts @eatbalanced and tell us what how you would go about tacking childhood obesity.

The healthyliving award for the food service sector

The healthyliving award is a national award for the food service sector in Scotland. Eating out plays an important part in people’s lives and what people are increasingly looking for is good healthier food.  We’re delighted that our Pizza Power Kids’ range ticks all the boxes for the healthyliving award.

Putting Caterers and Parents on the Podium

Caterers can now rest assured that they can let kids eat their favourite food, and parents will be glad to know that it is actually improving their health.  Pizza Power Kids, means that children can eat a pizza which is a complete balanced meal.  One small pizza provides 15% of all the nutrients a child aged 5-10 needs for good health.

Food of the future for our future generation

There is no denying that children love pizza. It regularly tops their list of favourites.  However with Scotland having one of the highest levels of obesity in the world, with almost one third of Scottish children classed as overweight, parents and caterers are, quite rightly, are careful in how often the average pizza is served to kids because of the high calorie, salt and fat content.

That’s why Pizza Power Kids have been designed to look and taste like a normal pizza but has secret nutritional ingredients inside, and that’s why we call it ‘health by stealth’.

How can Pizza Power Kids help with the healthyliving award?

These revolutionary new pizzas have seaweed instead of salt, are lower in fat and are high in vitamin C and vitamin A with more fibre than many other foods for children. Parents can enjoy peace of mind that their children are getting all of the 27 nutrients they need in the right proportions, equating to a complete balanced meal. For children, they can still enjoy one of their favourite meals with all the same great taste.

If you are in the food service industry and would like to find out more about the Pizza Power Kids range, please get in touch and we’ll send you a brochure and some yummy samples.


Becoming a Good Food Nation – Scottish Government

The Scottish Food Commission states that making Scotland a Good Food Nation is a challenging task, however, if we all strive to achieve this common goal, the result will follow shortly.

2015 was the Year of Scotland Food and Drink and Scotland presents the world with undeniable high quality produce due to our clear waters, fresh air and rich soil.

The main question is; why when Scotland’s local products are so fresh and delicious is the nation’s health suffering?

Consequently, health is one of the core values outlined by Good Food Nation in addition to prosperity and sustainability. The main idea of the campaign is to significantly improve our food culture by 2025.

We summarised several steps set by Scottish Food Commission:

1. Educating consumers: making them interested in fresh and local food that is really good for them.

2. Motivating the public sector to be an example, as it has a huge influence. For instance, schools providing tasty and balanced meals for kids. It goes without saying that educational institutes are one of the most important targets as it might take a generation to alter the perception of healthy food and transfer ignorance to knowledge.

3. Making sure that people have easy access to good food.  We can start this for ourselves and our families by focusing on eating a balanced diet. However, as more families eat outside of the home, the key would to make healthy food available in places like leisure centres, stadiums, and other family venues at an affordable price.

5. Supporting local food and drink businesses to make Scottish products even better!

6. Making food companies an appealing place to work by offering more work experience and apprenticeships.

7. Making the most of the campaign: promoting  Scottish food and drink internationally, let it be one of the reasons to visit our beautiful country.

Let us know your thoughts and suggestions, we are always open for conversation @eatbalanced or get in touch with us!

Pizza Power Kids and Food for Life Award

Food for life

We’re often asked how Pizza Power Kids fit with the Soil Association’s Food for Life Award?  In terms of what we are actually trying to achieve, we have quite a lot in common with the Food for Life Award.

What are Eat Balanced trying to achieve with Pizza Power Kids?

It’s simple, we want to make it easier for kids to enjoy a balanced diet.  How we do this is by reinventing kid’s favourite foods with innovative, high quality ingredients into tasty, nutritionally balanced meals.

What are the Soil Association trying to achieve with the Food for Life Award?

Making healthy, tasty and sustainable meals the norm for all to enjoy, reconnecting people with where their food comes from, teaching them how it’s grown and cooked, and championing the importance of well-sourced ingredients.

Pizza Power Kids and Food for Life

Despite being a prepared product, Pizza Power Kids carries a lot of benefits compared to making from scratch and other prepared pizzas, such as:

  • Eat Balanced are a Scottish start-up based in Glasgow
  • Our products are manufactured in Glasgow
  • We work with a Professor of the University of Glasgow – Professor Mike Lean – to verify our recipes (which are lab tested to prove they are nutritionally balanced)
  • Salt is replaced with a special powdered seaweed from the Isle of Lewis in Scotland
  • They are low in sugar
  • Psyllium husk is used for added fibre which means the base is lighter in colour and texture to wholewheat bases
  • Roasted red pepper puree is blended into the sauce for added vitamin C and vitamin A

Our pizzas are suitable for the Bronze Food for Life Award being free from the undesirable additives, trans fats and GM ingredients.

For Silver and Gold, as they are points based standards, our pizzas also carry points under the making healthy eating easier category.  This includes:

  • Reducing salt
  • Having meat free days
  • Cutting plate waste
  • Supporting eating well
  • Monitoring against food and nutrient based standards
  • 50% of bread on offer is wholegrain

We agree that the Food for Life programme achieves amazing results for schools, nurseries and hospitals and we’re delighted to be supporting the healthy eating message.

Youngsters trial world’s first healthy kids pizza

Youngsters attending Enchanted Forest Nursery in Thornliebank will be the first in the UK to ‘taste test’ the world’s first nutrionally balanced pizza for children, due to be launched to market later this year by Glasgow company, Eat Balanced.

The Southside nursery has been selected following discussions  between owners, husband and wife partnerships Bernie and Mariessa Devlin with award winning company Eat Balanced who launched what many are describing as the ‘world’s first healthy pizza’ back in 2012 and which is currently available in Sainsbury’s and website retail giant,

The new 7inch round and 15inch x 9inch slab healthy kids pizza, available in Cheese and Tomato, will be taste-tested by a group of 25 youngsters, aged from 3-5 years, on Friday 8 November at the award winning nursery in Spiersbridge Business Park in Thornliebank.

Donnie Maclean, founder of Eat Balanced notes;

“There is no denying that children love pizza, however, quite rightly, parents are careful in how often this is served to youngsters, because of the high calorie, salt and fat content. Creating a nutrionally balanced range for children was the next logical step for our brand and setting up these trials with Enchanted Forest Nursery is an exciting opportunity for us to get instant feedback from our target market.”

Eat Balanced new kid’s pizzas have been designed for Food Standard Association guidelines for primary age children, including all the main nutrients, including important vitamins and minerals. It contains almost half the calories and less than 60% fat to other frozen pizza brands and is the first to include seaweed in their base.  This is healthier because its sodium level is just 3.5% compared with 40% in salt used by other brands. Eat Balanced use all natural ingredients with no fortifications.

Mariessa Devlin, co-founding Director of Enchanted Forest Nursery adds;

“Within the nurseries, we are vigilant about providing healthy lunches and snacks to our youngsters so currently pizza is not on the menu. When Donnie explained that a nutrionally balanced range was being created for children, we consulted with our Parents’ committees and agreed to assist in the taste trials. This could be the ideal way for us to offer pizza to the children, without the guilt!”

The Eat Balanced healthy kids pizzas will be sampled by children attending Enchanted Forest Nursery in Greenock later this month.

Get in touch with Donnie Maclean, founder and managing director, if you’re interested in the healthy kids pizzas 0141 366 3669,

Is 5 a day campaign all lies?

The 5 a day challenge sits within 25 countries, across three continents, urging people to eat more fruits and veggies, and some people are more likely to purchase a food item if it has the 5 a day message on it.  But what does the 5 a day logo really mean for our health?

5 a day lies

The big worry with the 5 a day scheme, is that it has not been properly regulated and provides an open playing field for food companies.

McDonalds, the official sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics,   I hate to point fingers, but come on, a fizzy ‘healthy’ kid’s drink they’re flogging as one of your five a day portions, yet has 12 teaspoons of sugar in it!  No chance.  Parents need to remember that fruit juice – while being high in Vitamin C – is also full of sugar.

Keep it above board

The official logo, shown below, is regulated by the Department of Health and can only be displayed on foods that don’t contain added salt, sugar or fat.  But this logo is rarely seen in the supermarkets.  Instead food companies have created their own versions, which is not subject to the same regulations.

Analysis of the 5 a day campaign

One ready-meal bearing a ‘one of your 5-a-day’ logo contained almost 8 grams of salt – more than the recommended allowance for the entire day.

Your health

Even if you do get your five 80g portion of fruit and vegetables that doesn’t mean you’re getting all the right nutrition for good health.  People are convinced that fruit and vegetables are a particularly good source of vitamins and minerals.

There are 14 vitamins and 17 minerals that our body needs and fruit is good for only one of each, vitamin C and potassium.

Vegetables offer some vitamins – vitamin C and the vegetable form of the fat-soluble vitamins A and vitamin K1 – but your body will be able to absorb these only if you add some fat, such as butter or olive oil.

So what I’m saying is that there’s a lot more to good nutrition than just your 5 a day and when buying packaged foods, even if it does have a portion of your five a day, one you can’t be certain this is true, if not labelled with the official logo, and two you need to watch out for salt, sugar and fat levels.

Eat Balanced Views

So the 5 a day mantra is not the be-all-and-end-all of healthy eating, it’s just part of a balanced diet.  We’ve chosen to stay clear of using the 5 a day logo.  Our products can provide so much more than just this!  And we’re proud to be different!

Food labels on nutrition – confused?

Are you fed up with misleading food claims and back of pack nutrition information?  According to market research by Neilson, 60% of consumers worldwide are confused by food labels.  With the weekly food shop becoming a dreaded task. more work is needed to help people understand the pros and cons of the nutritional information.

Misleading food labels


Food labelled as organic, is perceived to be healthier according to research.  In a comparison test, participants thought organic labelled food tasted lower in calories and fat, and perceived the foods to be higher in fibre.  The non-organic labelled food was in fact, almost identical in terms of calories, fat and fibre.

The result of this is what’s called the ‘health halo’ affect and marketers use this to make foods seem better for you.  So what other tactics make you think a food tastes healthier?

Green Vs Red

In the highway code, the colour green means GO and the colour red means STOP.  But researchers have found these colours have a similar meaning in the food world.

People were shown images of chocolate bars labelled red and green, containing  information about the  nutritional value of the product, and asked to choose the least calories. The subjects felt that the green label indicated a more healthful product, rather than red, although the number of calories contained in them was the same.


Food Labels – Green Vs Red

This has huge implications on nutritional labelling as junk foods can hide behind green labels.  In the US, M&Ms and Snickers have green front of pack calorie flags, a dirty tactic which consumers are more vulnerable to at the checkouts.

What food labels mean?

We looked at different food labels with terms such as low fat, high fibre, low salt and what they mean in terms of your nutrition.


[table]Food Labelling term, What does it mean?
Reduced Fat, Less than half gram of fat to its original
Light, 50% less fat/sodium than the original product
Zero Trans Fats, Less than half a gram of trans fat per serving
Cholesterol Free, Less than 2mg of cholesterol per serving
Lean, Less than 10g of fat; 4.5 g of saturated fat; & 95 mg of cholesterol per 100 g
Low Fat, 3g or less of fat per serving
Good Source of, Minimum of 10% of RDAs
High Source of, Minimum of 20% of RDAs
Free Range, Animals allowed access to outside
Organic, 95% organic ingredients
Natural, No added colour; artificial flavours; or synthetic substances
Low Sodium, 140 or fewer mg of sodium per serving
Multigrain, More than one type of grain in the product
Whole wheat, Food with whole wheat flour[/table]

Hopefully we’ve managed to shed some light on food labels and what they really mean when it comes to your nutrition.