Why Some People Say Pizza Is A Healthier Breakfast Than Cereal

Adults with hangovers, college students pulling all-nighters, and ten-year-olds with a passion for Papa John's will likely be overjoyed to hear the news that some nutrition experts say pizza is a healthier breakfast than cereal. While pizza being touted as a better breakfast choice than cereal is certainly a tantalizing headline — don't scarf down those cold slices with extra pepperoni just yet.

Chelsey Amer, the founder of Chelsey Amer Nutrition, explained to The Daily Meal in 2018 that "an average slice of pizza and a bowl of cereal with whole milk contain nearly the same amount of calories. However, pizza packs a much larger protein punch, which will keep you full and boost satiety throughout the morning." Amer backs this up by explaining that compared to the high amounts of sugar in many breakfast cereals, pizza is the more well-rounded of the two options. 

While there is some truth to this statement, when you take a deeper dive into the deep dish — it's apparently not quite that clear cut.

How pizza and cereal compare nutritionally

Registered dietitian Sally Kuzemchak tells WebMD, "As with everything, you need to read past the headlines." She goes on to say, "It's true that some cold cereals pack a lot of sugar and are made with fiber-poor refined grains, giving you a quick, sweet lift — and leaving you hungry an hour later. On the other hand, pizza does have some protein (and fat) to keep you satisfied."

Kuzemchak goes on to point out that there are a wide variety of pizza ingredients, some of which will be healthier than others. For instance, she explains that a whole wheat crust pizza topped with vegetables will deliver more fiber and vitamins than a pizza made with white dough and topped with various kinds of meat.

The same goes for cereal. There are many overly sweet varieties lacking in protein and vitamins, while whole grain cereals are chock full of vitamins and minerals and become even healthier when topped with fruit. If you're a cereal-eater looking to keep your sugar down, Kuzemchak recommends that you check nutrition labels and go for a cereal that contains 6 grams or less of added sugar.

But if you wake up and you're only in the mood for pizza, indulging in the occasional leftover slice for breakfast won't hurt if that's what you feel you truly "knead" to start your day.