It only takes a quick stroll down the colorful cereal aisle of your supermarket to realize most of those boxes don’t contain anything worthy of starting your day with. Most options are basically candy in disguise. In fact, according to the Environmental Working Group, many favorites—including Froot Loops and Cap’n Crunch—are made up of nearly 50 percent sugar (yikes). But I have good news for you: A better way to start your day can actually be—wait for it—with pizza.
Because pizza contains protein, carbs, and veggies—not to mention way less sugar!—word has been spreading that those drool-worthy slices typically thought of as junk food actually beat out most cereal options on store shelves in terms of nutrition. It might seem too good to be true to be able to devour a slice o’ pie to fulfill the so-called “most important meal of the day,” but it actually kinda checks out—if you choose the right ingredients, that is.
“Comparing pizza and cereal really depends on which cereal and which pizza you’re looking at,” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in New York. “With breakfast cereals, some contain no sugar and some contain so much added sugar. Some are fortified with lots of vitamins and minerals, as well as protein-offering ingredients, while some do not. So if you’re talking about a veggie-loaded whole-grain pizza with plenty of protein and not a lot of saturated fat compared to a sugar-loaded, low-protein cereal, that can absolutely be a healthier choice for breakfast.”
Not only are the ingredients more beneficial, but having that healthy combo can also help you get through your day without hitting any walls. “Many breakfast cereals are loaded with refined carbohydrates and sugar, and low in protein and fat,” says Whitney English, MS, RDN. “While this may initially give you a jolt of energy in the AM, you’ll quickly crash due to the blood sugar rollercoaster created by this unbalanced, low-protein, low-fiber, and low-fat meal.”
Instead of waiting for your next pizza night, make one—or all!—of these healthier pizza options for breakfast.
Want pizza for breakfast? These 4 combos are nutritionist-approved.
1. Hummus pizza
“I like to make hummus pizza for breakfast. You simply top a whole-wheat pita with some Sabra hummus, veggies, and herbs. I’d recommend having two of the pita pizzas for breakfast, and if you want additional protein, you can pair it with a hardboiled egg.” —Amy Gorin
2. Cheeze pizza
“I like to use whole-grain pita bread to make single-serving pizzas topped with plant-protein, veggies, and a little dairy-free mozzarella cheese from Daiya, which is super melty. The fiber from the whole grains—combined with belly-filling unsaturated fat and protein—will help fuel your day and keep you feeling fuller longer. Plus, fitting in veggies first thing in the morning makes it more likely that you’ll hit the recommended amount of 5 to 7 servings of produce per day.” —Whitney English
3. Mushroom, tortilla, or egg white pizza
“When it comes to making a healthier pizza, the first thing I recommend is replacing the crust with a better-for-you alternative. Three great pizza base replacements are a big grilled Portobello mushroom cap, a high-fiber tortilla, or an egg white omelet. From there, add sauce, sprinkle on a little cheese or dairy-free cheese, and then pile on your favorite yummy veggies. I’m partial to broccoli and sliced mushrooms on my breakfast pizza.” —Ilana Muhlstein, MS, RDN, creator of 2B Mindset
4. Sweet potato pizza
“Use a whole-wheat crust or a whole-wheat pita as a base, then get creative about what you top it with, like sweet potato purée for satiating fiber. Finish by loading your pizza up with lots of veggies, and add a sprinkling of fresh arugula on top.” —Amy Gorin
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