Pizza eaters could be better off than cereal lovers when it comes to a nutritious breakfast.
It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for: We have permission to eat pizza for breakfast, hurray!
Ok, ok, of course it’s not that easy. But comparing the nutritional value of some kinds of pizza to that of some kinds of cereal is definitely good food for thought. Because sometimes, cereal is a nightmare. Consider this: Environment and health watchdog, Environmental Working Group, did a comprehensive analysis of more than 1,500 cereals, and found that, for example, a child who eats a bowl of cereal daily for a year ends up eating 10 pounds of sugar during that time. They found that a number of cereals contain more than 50 percent sugar by weight.
Which leads to the question: What’s healthier for breakfast, pizza or dessert disguised as cereal?
Julia Naftulin at Food & Wine tackled the question with nutritionist Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CDN, who indeed suggested replacing cereal with a slice of pizza. “A slice of pizza contains more fat and much less sugar than most cold cereals, so you will not experience a quick sugar crash,” says Amer. She notes that pizza has more protein than a typical bowl of cereal, “so it can satisfy your appetite for longer and prevent snacking between meals.”
While Amer, sadly, says that we shouldn’t be eating pizza for breakfast every day, she does admit it’s a more balanced option that sugary cereal.
And that said, one can certainly opt for a healthier pizza. A thin whole-wheat crust for complex carbs and nutrients, tomato paste for those beautiful phytochemicals like lycopene, some cheese for protein and calcium, and some vegetables to top it all off – what’s so bad about that? You can even go a step further and make it breakfasty by adding some avocado and an egg.
And suggesting a trick from my family’s “we like dinner better than breakfast” playbook, Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD chimes in with a pizza alternative: “Even a second helping of dinner set aside from the previous night can make a healthy breakfast if it’s chock full of veggies and balanced—for example, a generous portion of veggies sauteed in EVOO with herbs tossed with a lean protein, or chicken breast or lentils with a small scoop of quinoa.”