Over the weekend, my friend and editor of The Daily Meal asked me why pizza may be a healthier breakfast option compared to cereal. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity to chime in with my opinion!
At first, I had to think about it… What does pizza have that cereal doesn’t? Could pizza really be the healthier option over Frosted Flakes, for example?
I quickly came to the conclusion that, yes, pizza can actually be a more balanced breakfast option than most breakfast cereals.
Yup, you read that right.
And apparently I shocked quite a few people with my statements.
But I didn’t say that pizza is a healthier option. However, I do believe that pizza can be a balanced breakfast (find out why below).
So sorry… I’m still not endorsing pizza for your daily breakfast consumption. Unless it’s a breakfast pita pizza perhaps…
And my point couldn’t have been further enforced than receiving a text (unprompted, for that matter!) like this (below) from a fellow dietitian…
… So maybe more people should be eating pizza for breakfast? At least over a bowl of marshmallows!
1. I think you should be able to eat what you want, when you want it.
So if you really want pizza for breakfast, I think you should eat it. Because eating a slice of pizza for breakfast when you’re really craving it, will prevent you from binging on an entire pie later. Ya know, intuitive eating basics.
USA Today got it right with these statements I told them…
Remember, we eat for enjoyment, in addition to nourishment! 🙌🏼
2. All foods can fit into a healthy, balanced diet… so why not pizza?
There’s no reason! One meal won’t make you unhealthy. One meal won’t make you gain weight. One meal isn’t going to make or break your health.
Your health is defined by the sum of your choices. The average of the foods that you eat. The overall lifestyle you live. And trust me, stressing over a slice of pizza is not worth it- for your health or sanity!
Multiple studies have found that stress (yes, over the food you choose to eat) can increase your risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease, dementia, and diabetes.
3. I looked at the facts.
Even though I don’t count calories, nor do I count my clients’ calories, when you compare the Nutrition Facts of a slice of pizza with a bowl of sugary cereal, the numbers don’t lie.
When studies find that one-third of ingredients in many popular cereal brands are SUGAR, how is cereal supposed to be a balanced breakfast? Along with a high sugar content, sugary cereals are notoriously low in protein… especially for the serving size listed on the side of the box! But who eats 1 half-cup serving?
I love cereal as much as the next person, but many sugary cereals contain as much sugar as a candy bar! I don’t know about you, but a sugar crash is not how I like to start my day!
But is this all cereal? Absolutely not!
I think this was misconstrued in some of the stories that were reprinted. I eat cereal on a weekly basis, but I make sure to choose high fiber, lower sugar options to prevent the effects I mentioned above.
Here are a few of my favorites (affiliate links):
- Barbara’s Bakery Puffins
- One Degree Organics Brown Rice Crisps (and their Cacao Crisps for a chocolatey snack or dessert)
- Bran Flakes (with 5g of sugar or less)
- Nature’s Path Organic Cereal, Smart Bran with Psyllium & Oatbran
Is pizza a health food?
Nope, that’s not exactly what I’m saying! But at least there’s more protein and fat to balance out the refined carbohydrate crust. Your blood sugar won’t spike and then crash in the same fashion as it would with a sugary bowl of cereal, which will leave you filling full and satisfied for a longer period of time.
So Is Pizza a Better Breakfast Option Than Cereal?
You won’t exactly find me munching on pizza nor cereal for breakfast on most days. You will find me reaching for a high fiber and protein-packed morning meal. This winning combo keeps you full, prevents a blood sugar spike, boosts your metabolism, and promotes satiety.
My #pizzaforbreakfast comments may have “caused a stir,” but as you can see, a slice of pizza for breakfast may be the better way to start your day…
What do you think? Pizza for breakfast?