Food & Recipes

Nutritionist: Pizza Can Be A Healthier Breakfast Choice Than Most Cereals

What a great way to start the day!

As our moms and our doctors have been telling us for years, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Missing it or eating the wrong foods in the a.m. can mess with your metabolism, focus and energy.

“Breakfast helps to prime the body for the day ahead and helps to prevent lunchtime binges,” says Kelly Houston, MS, RDN, LD. “Skipping breakfast can leave you with a brain fog. Your brain gets hungry after fasting all night.”

Unfortunately, many people opt for foods like cereal, which lack the proper fuel your mind and body need to kickstart the day.

cereal photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

In its place, registered dietitian and nutritionist Chelsey Amer surprisingly suggested having pizza. But is her recommendation too good to be true?

According to nutritionists, a healthy meal any time of day includes a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Conveniently, pizza checks all the boxes.

“While pizza is not the healthiest form of carbohydrates, protein and fat,” Amer later told Simplemost, “it does contain all three of these important nutrients to keep you full and satisfied. Plus, you get bonus points for topping with extra veggies!”

But there are some potential downsides. Houston points out that most delivery pizza can be high in sodium and fat.

However, not all pizza is automatically junk food. To ensure your pizza is packed with nutrients, Amer shared a few recommendations.

pizza photo
Getty Images | Tim Boyle

First, start with a whole wheat or a cauliflower crust for fiber. Then, opt for red sauce over white. Red sauce adds an antioxidant boost and contains less saturated fat. Next, pile on the vegetables, and limit the fatty meat and fried toppings. Additionally, chicken, turkey sausage or Canadian bacon are good lean meats, according to registered dietitian Paul Salter.

Holistic nutritionist Rebecca Cafiero agrees that a better pizza can still include cheese as long as it’s dairy-free. She recommends an almond milk cheese.

That’s not all. If you’re going to eat pizza, it’s better to grab a slice earlier in the day. “I like to follow the European way,” says Amer. “I suggest eating your largest meal at breakfast or lunch because you’re more active throughout the day to use the energy you consume.”

RELATED: Check out these brothers’ pizza tossing skills:

For many of us, the very first thing we consume in the morning is coffee (even before the pizza!). But you don’t have to rely on caffeine to put some pep in your step. Many breakfast foods can help energize you for the day ahead.

RELATED: Study Proves Eating Pizza Could Help You Lose Weight

Oatmeal, for example, contains fiber and protein, which help to keep you full until lunchtime. Oatmeal also has carbohydrates. But that’s necessarily not a bad thing: In fact, one study found that people who ate a breakfast high in carbs reported feeling more alert than people who ate a high-fat breakfast.

oatmeal photo
Flickr | becarella.

Greek yogurt is another alertness-boosting breakfast option. Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt, and it contains probiotics, which can increase your energy.

greek yogurt photo
Flickr | SodanieChea

However, it’s best to steer clear of common breakfast foods like pancakes, waffles and donuts, which are among the worst things you can eat in the morning. They may taste good, but they’re loaded with empty carbohydrates and refined sugar.

pancakes photo
Flickr | numb3r

While they’re not sweet, bagels with cream cheese don’t make for a nutritious a.m. meal, either. Bagels are packed with energy-draining refined carbohydrates. If you must have one, opt for a whole-grain version with a moderate amount of cream cheese.

bagel and cream cheese photo
Flickr | bert_m_b

Do you think pizza could be the breakfast of champions?