Defying all the traditionally held notions about what constitutes healthy food, some nutritionists are giving a thumbs-up to pizzas and burgers for breakfast.
While what’s good for the palate is usually considered bad for health, it doesn’t always have to be that way. A new study claims that pizza is a healthier breakfast option than cereal, as a New York-based nutritionist says a slice of pizza contains more protein and less sugar than most cereals.
Explaining the rationale behind this thought, nutritionist and dietician Chelsey Amer says that a pizza is clearly a better choice over cereal for breakfast as a typical bowl of cereal has about 18 grams of sugar and zero healthy fats. Meanwhile, cheese, tomato, flour, water, salt, olive oil and yeast are generally used to make a pizza, whereas cereals are made of sugar and corn — so no surprises there!
Chef and nutritionist Rupali Dean informs, “Pizza is baked from fresh dough, so that puts it in a better position than cereals which contain preservatives. However, it is healthier if the base is multigrain and not of refined flour, topped with a nice margarita sauce and lots of vegetables and some protein. Similarly, in the Indian breakfast, fried urad dal vadas have a great amount of protein and vitamin B. It is a wonderful substitute for vegetarians.” Rupali adds, “Although it cannot be classified as healthy if deep fried, if you use an air fryer or bake it. Even pooris are a healthy option if it is made with whole wheat and flash fried.”
The logic of choosing pizza for breakfast comes across as partially sound to Dr Siddhant Bhargava, fitness and nutritional scientist at Food Darzee. “Pizza has a combination of fats and carbs which is not the ideal either. No doubt it contains protein but a much healthier pizza made from better flour and with a check on the total fat content is a good option. Likewise, for a grilled chicken burger, if you add a lot of veggies to it and have it on healthy bread, it it can be a very healthy choice,” explains Dr Bhargava, adding, “Even alcohol is considered bad for the health but if you consume red wine in moderate quantities (one glass a day), it can be very good as it contains the anti-oxidant, resveratrol.”
Interestingly, like pizzas, burgers, pooris and vadas, chocolates also fall in the unhealthy category for being high on calories. But chocolates can also be consumed for breakfast, says Suhasini Sampath, COO of YogaBar Chocolate.
“Chocolate makes for a great breakfast option in an energy bar or mixed with muesli, especially when blended with flax seeds, dates and nuts. Dark chocolate packs in many anti-oxidants which are great for you, while also helping to regulate stress hormones. The extra calories in chocolate can be a good boost of energy,” says Suhasini, adding, “Be careful not to overdo the chocolate and mix it with natural sugars for best results.”