Should pizza be classified as a well-balanced meal? Let me guess - your brain is screaming “no,” but your stomach is trying to rationalize it – right? Well, maybe your stomach is onto something: pizza’s main ingredient is tomato sauce, which is made from a vegetable. The added toppings, such as pineapple, could be classified as a serving of fruit, the cheese could count as a much-needed serving of calcium and the crust could be a serving of grains. So then why does this feel so wrong?
Because it is! The two tablespoons of tomato paste hardly comes close to a serving of broccoli or carrots, there is minimal fibre, vitamin C and folate. Plus pizza has lots of added calories, fat, and sodium, which is never a good thing.
In November, the U.S House of Representatives announced that they will continue to classify pizza as a vegetable because it contains two tablespoons of tomato paste despite the U.S Agriculture Department (USDA) stating that a half-cup of tomato paste would be required to call a slice of pizza a vegetable. This debate came about during Michelle Obama’s campaign to combat childhood obesity. So, in other words pizza and french fries will stay on schoolchildren’s lunch menus because the U.S has decided to classify it as a vegetable!!! Wow!
Take away message – please eat a side of raw veggies with that slice of pizza and not assume that if you eat 7 slices of pizza you have met your daily recommended requirement for fruits and vegetables (which is 7).
Image courtesy of tomek.pl