Lovers of pizza can rejoice: a new study has shown that when it comes to healthy eating, pizza is a better breakfast option than most commercial breakfast cereals.
That’s not to say it’s a healthy choice for breakfast. Pizza is high in fats and carbohydrates, which makes it known as junk food. But it’s also surprisingly high in protein.
When you factor in the cheese and pepperoni or other meats, pizza actually contains a lot more nutrients than you might think.
This means it has staying power. Protein-heavy meals keep you feeling full longer and therefore, less susceptible to mid-morning sugar crashes.
“You may be surprised to find out that an average slice of pizza and a bowl of cereal with whole milk contain nearly the same amount of calories,” says Chelsey Amer, a nutritionist. “However, pizza packs a much larger protein punch, which will keep you full and boost satiety throughout the morning.”
This is in strong opposition to breakfast cereal, which tends to be pretty poor when it comes to actual nutrition.
Pure grains won’t stay in your system long, so you’re likely to feel hungry after just an hour or two. What’s more, many types of cereal are loaded with sugar. This means they’re not just unhealthy for your system and your teeth — but they’re also unlikely to sustain you long and will leave you prone to sugar crashes right as your day starts kicking into gear.
“A slice of pizza contains more fat and much less sugar than most cold cereals, so you will not experience a quick sugar crash,” says Amer.
But she’s not advising anyone give up their cold cereal for pizza, exactly.
Amer says that breakfast cereal doesn’t have to be off the table as long as it is low in sugar and includes something that will keep you better powered throughout your day, like fruit and nuts.
So ultimately, pizza lovers and cereal lovers alike might be disappointed.
And Americans really love both of these foods. It’s estimated that the average American eats 10 pounds of breakfast cereal — or about 160 bowls — every single year.
Unfortunately, their top choices for cereal are pretty high in sugar, too.
Among the 10 most popular cereals are Frosted Flakes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Froot Loops, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Life, and Fruity Pebbles.
That’s a lot of cereal — and a lot of sugar.
Americans love their pizza, too. Pizza is the most popular fast food in the United States, outstripping hamburgers, French fries, tacos, and other types of quick meals. Roughly three billion pizzas are bought annually.
What’s the best way to measure American pizza consumption?
In acres, of course. Americans eat about 100 acres of pizza every single day. That’s 350 slices every second. On a yearly basis, every person eats approximately 46 slices of pizza.
So, it’s safe to say that when it comes to sugary and savory treats, the country loves both pizza and cereal.
But it’s also safe to say that neither of those makes a particularly nutritious breakfast. So, what are some better options than eating a cold slice of leftover pepperoni pizza or pouring yourself a bowl of Lucky Charms?
One of the absolute best breakfasts you can have is simple and quick to make: eggs.
Eggs are loaded with protein and other nutrients, so you will stay full for longer and they take mere minutes to make. If you’re on a tight schedule, you can even cook them in the microwave.
A healthier alternative for people who really love cereal is oatmeal. It’s full of special fiber that makes you feel satisfied, giving it the reputation of a “stick-to-your-ribs” food.
There are lots of breakfast options that are healthy and satisfying. But if you’re addicted to a morning slice of cold pizza, just tell yourself you’re eating healthy by avoiding cereal.