Why pizza may be a more balanced breakfast than a sugary bowl of cereal

It's important to eat a balanced breakfast that's high in protein.

September 3, 2019, 11:39 AM

If you've ever eaten a cold slice of leftover pizza for breakfast, you're definitely not alone -- and according to one nutritionist, you may actually just be onto something.

When NYC-based registered dietitian Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, shared that a slice of pizza is a better choice than some other breakfasts like a bowl of sugary cereal, we wondered to what end that may be true.

"Surprisingly, pizza can be a more balanced breakfast option than many sugar-filled breakfast cereals," Amer told ABC News. "A slice of plain cheese pizza contains a balance of carbs, protein, and fat. A bowl of sugary cereal with low fat milk is largely sugar and extremely carb-heavy."

What we know to be true

Dr. Lauren Kelly, who works with the ABC News medical unit, said the point of Amer's "provocative statement that pizza is better than cereal is to highlight that cereal has poor nutritional value and people are eating it all of the time. Not that pizza is the best choice either, but people usually consider pizza a cheat food -- the opposite of a healthy choice."

While pizza still isn't a healthy food, the value of its ingredients may add up to a more balanced choice than some other breakfast options.

Amer added that she is "not recommending pizza as an everyday breakfast" but urging people to "focus on a balance of high fiber carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats to stay full throughout the morning."

Kelly said, "It's shocking to know that pizza is comparable to (if not higher in protein than) the food so many American kids are eating every morning for breakfast."

The takeaway

"The important take home is to be more mindful of what's in our food and to eat a balanced breakfast that's high in protein and minimizes carbs from added sugar and fried foods," Kelly explained.

"Additionally, it’s important to note that there are some great breakfast cereals on the market. Look for whole grains and less than 5g sugar per serving when checking the Nutrition Facts label," Amer advised.