You’ve been scolded for starting the day with a cold slice of pizza in the past. But it turns out it might not be as bad an option compared to a big bowl of cereal or granola. So, is pizza healthier than cereal or is the idea just a pie in the sky (pun intended)? According to Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CDN, founder of a virtual nutrition counseling practice and consulting business, they’re pretty much equal when it comes to calories. But it turns out that pizza has greater nutritional benefits.
“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,” Amer told The Daily Meal. Furthermore, most cereals contain a lot of carbs with little fiber and protein, meaning they’re often not robust enough to keep you full or energized in the morning to begin with. Pizza, on the other hand, has protein-rich cheese. “Pizza packs a much larger protein punch, which will keep you full and boost satiety throughout the morning.”
Many popular cereals also contain a sneaky amount of sugar. While there are certainly more nutritious breakfast options out there, a slice of pizza is definitely a more balanced meal than a bowl of sugary carbs, Amer points out. “Plus, a slice of pizza contains more fat and much less sugar than most cold cereals, so you will not experience a quick sugar crash.”
Although we’re by no means telling you to eat a fat slice every day of the week, don’t beat yourself up if you sneak one every now and then. In the meantime, you can figure out a few ways to make your morning cereal a little more nutritious.
First of all, it should be fortified and contain at least 4 to 5 grams of fiber. It’s even better if it’s made with whole grains. Some cereals also boast protein, which is even more of a foolproof way to stay full until lunch. (Psst: If your favorite cereal doesn’t have a ton of protein, have it with Greek yogurt instead of milk to make it more satisfying.) Adding fruit to cereal can also give you a boost of vitamins, minerals and fiber. And here’s another pro tip: If you’re looking for a new healthy cereal to bring home, turn your gaze to the top two shelves in the supermarket cereal aisle—that’s where better-for-you options tend to be.