Eating well is one of the foundation stones for good health, especially in later life. If you can stick to a wholesome balanced diet, with a variety of foods in the right proportions, you’ll have more energy, find it easier to maintain a healthy weight and generally feel better all round.
One of the best ways to know exactly what you’re eating, and avoid many of the artificial additives and preservatives in pre-packed foods, is to cook plenty of your own meals at home. Older people are generally better at home cooking than younger ones, not having grown up in the ‘fast food’ and ‘ready meals’ era, but some people still shy away from the stove. There’s really no reason to, as many healthy and nutritious meals are quick and simple to prepare, and taste delicious.
This quick and easy recipe for ‘quattro stagioni’ (four seasons) pizza is from the NHS’s Change 4 Life website, which has lots of ideas for healthy and nutritious meals. Each quarter of the pizza is supposed to represent a different season of the year, but the great thing about pizzas is that you can customise the topping to your own tastes, leaving off any ingredients you don’t like and adding in the ones you do.
This easy-to-follow recipe is for a pizza serving up to four people and takes just 15 minutes to prepare and a further 15 minutes’ cooking time. Most supermarkets sell plain uncooked pizza bases ready to add your own topping, or if you feel adventurous you could make your own pizza dough. Click here to find out how.
- One pizza base (approx. 23cms diameter)
- 1g tomato puree
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 50g ready grated mozzarella (or other cheese)
- 1 tsp dried Italian mixed herbs
- 25g wafer thin ham, chopped
- 25g pineapple pieces in natural juice, drained
- 2 button or closed cup mushrooms, sliced
- 25g cooked chicken or turkey, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C) or gas mark 6
- Place the pizza base on a large baking tray, spoon the tomato puree on top and spread it evenly over the surface.
- Arrange the tomatoes on top of the whole pizza, scatter with half the grated mozzarella then sprinkle evenly with the herbs.
- Arrange the ham and pineapple over one quarter of the pizza, arrange the mushrooms over a second quarter, put the cooked chicken or turkey in the third quarter and leave the final quarter ungarnished.
- Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella over the whole pizza and place the baking tray on the middle shelf of the preheated oven.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling, the base looks crispy and the pizza is golden brown. Remove from the oven then allow to cool for a few moments before slicing and serving.
Tips: To serve more people just use extra pizza bases to make more pizzas, multiplying the ingredients as necessary. You could add other ingredients to suit your tastes and serve with a healthy side salad if you like. Ready-grated mozzarella is better for pizza toppings as the whole cheese is tricky to grate. If you can’t get grated mozzarella, then cheddar or other firm cheeses will suffice.
• Each portion (as per the recipe) contains: Energy 768kj/182kcal; protein 10.2g; carbohydrate 23g, of which 3.6g sugars; fat 5.1g, of which 2.1g saturates; fibre 2.1g; sodium 280mg, equivalent to 0.7g salt.