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Forget cereal—dietitians say pizza is a healthier breakfast option

Today's Parent logo Today's Parent 2018-04-17 Kevin John Siazon

As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So why do we give our kids a bowl of cereal before dashing out the door?

Most cereal commercials mention that a bowl of cereal is part of a complete breakfast, and on the screen, you’ll see a bowl of cereal surrounded by whole wheat toast, fruit, a glass of orange juice and a glass of milk (although, who would want to drink OJ and milk in the same meal? And why would any drink a glass of milk when there’s already milk in your cereal? Confusing, but let’s move on).

Thanks to small tummies and the morning rush, a lot of kids barely finish a bowl of cereal, much less an entire breakfast spread. And most cereal isn’t very nutritious on its own (part of a complete breakfast, remember?). However, there’s another option kids will love that may be quicker to eat and more nutritional: PIZZA.

Wait, what? Pizza for breakfast?

According to an article from The Daily Meal, pizza is a much more balanced breakfast than a simple bowl of cereal. And while it isn’t the healthiest breakfast option out there, The Daily Meal says it’s got cold cereal beat in the nutritional department, with more protein and carbs to keep your kids feeling full until lunch.

But is it really true? Is pizza truly a better breakfast than cereal?

The Daily Meal asked dietitian Chelsey Amer to weigh in. She said that because a slice of pizza contains more fat and much less sugar, you’re less likely to experience a big sugar crash before mid-morning.

On the other hand, Cara Rosenbloom, a Toronto-based registered dietitian and owner of Words to Eat By, says the two options aren’t really that different. “Both are processed grains with some dairy—milk or cheese,” Rosenbloom tells Today’s Parent. “Cereal is higher in sugar, and pizza is higher in salt.”

Of course, the type of cereal and type of pizza make a difference when deciding what to feed your kids. “Is the cereal high in fibre and low in sugar? What’s on the pizza—and is it a whole grain crust?” she says. “Within the broad categories of ‘cereal’ and ‘pizza,’ you can get everything from healthy options to indulgent junk food.”

According to Rosenbloom, the perfect breakfast has protein, fibre and some veggies or fruit. So if you wanted to give your kid pizza for breakfast, the ideal would have fibre by way of a whole grain crust, topped with tomato sauce and veggies, and protein in the form of melted cheese. “It’s really not that different than toast with cheese and tomato,” she says.

OK, so that slice of ‘za might be only a bit better than a bowl of sugary cereal, but there are plenty of breakfast options that are actually good for you and the kids. Here are a few quick and healthy breakfast ideas to put into your morning routine:

Simple Homemade Granola © Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2018. Simple Homemade Granola

Don’t those look tasty?

Now we totally get that some mornings just don’t go the way you’d like, and those ideas may not be in the cards. But if you happen to have some leftover whole grain pizza from the night before, you don’t have to feel too guilty for letting your kids eat it for breakfast. As a result, the kids are probably happy to get their way (or at least think that they did) and more likely to cooperate for the rest of the morning. It’s a win-win in our books.

Read more:

10 easy pizza recipes

My family quit sugar: How we survived cutting out the sweet stuff

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