In a city that’s known for its pizza, it’s no surprise that nutritionists are talking about the nutritional value of NYC’s favorite dish. According to this New York-based nutritionist, pizza is healthier than cereal for a fast, convenient breakfast. (1)
Pizza Healthier Than Cereal For Breakfast
According to registered dietitian Chelsey Amer, that leftover slice of pizza could have more nutritional bang for your buck than a typical bowl of cereal. She admits that pizza is not your healthiest breakfast option, but it offers you a lot more than most cereals, even when they’re combined with milk. (1)
“You may be surprised to find out that an average slice of pizza and a bowl of cereal with whole milk contain nearly the same amount of calories,” she explained.“However, pizza packs a much larger protein punch, which will keep you full and boost satiety throughout the morning.” (1)
She points out that pizza is higher in fat but much lower in sugar than most breakfast cereals. (1) This means that you won’t experience a sugar crash a few hours later, which will leave you either wanting a nap or more likely digging through the cupboard for snacks and treats to pick you back up.
Even supposed “healthy” cereals like Raisin Bran pack a whopping 18 grams of sugar per serving. This is only seven grams less than your daily recommended sugar intake. They also contain zero healthy fats. (2)
Pizza Still Isn’t A “Healthy” Breakfast
Of course, the headlines sound great, but she reminds us that just because a slice of pizza is more nutritionally balanced than a bowl of store-bought cereal doesn’t mean it is a healthy breakfast option that you should be having all of the time. After all, particularly pizza is still cheesier and greasier than eggs and toast or Greek yogurt with fresh fruit. (1)
That being said, if you are a die-hard cereal lover, there are ways to make your bowl better for you. Registered dietitian Cynthia Sass says to be mindful of ingredients and always read your labels.
“A cereal made with whole grains, nuts or seeds, and fruit with organic grass-fed milk or plant-based milk is a better choice over a grease-laden pizza made with processed meat like pepperoni on a white flour crust,” she says. (2)
If the better-for-you store-bought cereals are out of your price range, consider making your own at home. Oats are pretty inexpensive, and there are plenty of recipes online for low sugar, healthy, homemade granolas, and mueslis.
How To Make Pizza Healthier
If breakfast pizza is really your jam, again, you can also consider making your own. Then you can use whole-grain flour, load it up with healthy toppings, and monitor how much cheese goes on top. (3)
“If you’re choosing a conventional crust, opt for a thin crust pizza because that will lighten the load, and put on lots of toppings that add nutrient density, like chicken or turkey, broccoli and mushrooms,” says Naturopathic doctor Quinn Hand. “Your ideal breakfast pizza will include toppings that will satisfy you, give you nutrients, and provide flavor reward.” (4)
However, Dr. Hand cautions against the belief that even good-for-you pizza should become a staple breakfast food. You wouldn’t eat it every day for dinner, so you shouldn’t have it so frequently in the morning, either. (4)
Other Healthy Breakfast Options
Thankfully, there are plenty of incredible breakfast choices to start your day off right.
- Homemade oatmeal (avoid store-bought or if you buy it, stick with plain)
- You can make oatmeal “sweet” by topping it with fruit and nut butter, or you can make a savory version with veggies, avocado, and egg
- Eggs and whole grain toast
- Whole grain toast, add in some sauteed spinach or kale with your eggs for extra punch
- Frittata or omelet
- Fruit and Greek yogurt, top with homemade or low-sugar granola if desired
“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,” says Sass. (2)
It is generally best practice to start your day with something healthy. The right foods will set you up for an energetic, focused, and typically craving-free day. A slice of leftover pizza from last night’s shenanigans every once in a while? Also not a bad thing. Life is about balance, including breakfast.
- “Pizza Is a Healthier Breakfast Than Most Cereals.” Daily Meal. Holly Van Hare. January 26, 2018.
- “Pizza Is a Healthier Breakfast Than Cereal, According to a Nutritionist.” Health. Julia Naftulin. February 26, 2021.
- “Is Pizza Really a Healthier Breakfast Than Cereal?” WebMD. SALLY KUZEMCHAK, MS, RD. March 4, 2019.
- “Reality check: Is pizza a healthier breakfast choice than cereal?.” Global News. Marilisa Racco. January 31, 2018