Pizza: Can It Be Considered a Vegetable?

Is pizza a vegetable? It's an interesting question to consider, especially as your browse the supermarket aisles. Among the shelves, you'll see fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños, black olives, mushrooms, red onions, and even pickles (which were cucumbers in their former lives). One thing we can say for sure is that all of these items certainly are vegetables. They're also toppings you can add when you build your pizza, customized at Hungry Howie's®. With so many veggies to choose from and a delicious tomato sauce as the base, many wonder, "Is pizza a vegetable"?

The question is complicated to answer, as there are many variables to consider. While pizza is not a vegetable, you may be able to meet the recommended daily intake of the food group by consuming the cheesy, delicious dish. That's right, according to experts, depending on your toppings, pizza may count toward your veggie-intake goals.

When people think of pizza, "guilty" food often comes to mind. Some may call it junk food, some call it a guilty pleasure and others consume it only on their diet's "cheat day." Pizza has a rep for being unhealthy and doesn't make the list of top nutritious foods, but pizza isn't all bad.

Keep reading to learn exciting facts about whether pizza is a vegetable and what may help the ingredients qualify.

Is Pizza a Vegetable: The Run Down

All foods fit into the classic pyramid diagram of food groups. There are grains (pizza crust), dairy (cheese), fruits and vegetables (tomato sauce and specific toppings), meat (think pepperoni or meatballs), and select fats and oils (such as brushed olive oil or butter Flavored Crust®. As you can see, pizza does check off many of the boxes of the food pyramid.

What's more, fruit and vegetables are the number one recommended category to consume. Most adults need 5 to 7 servings of these a day to fulfill their proper nutritional requirements. When asking, "is pizza a vegetable?" the answer is no, but it can still technically help you meet those goals.

Mainstream media outlets state, "Congress passed a revised agriculture appropriations bill...essentially making it easier to count pizza sauce as a serving of vegetables." The bill (cited in 2011), however, doesn't speak directly to pizza sauce as the headlines may claim. Instead, they evaluate the base of the sauce, tomato paste, and how much companies use when creating the sweet pizza base needs to qualify. While most pizza makers don't use the required amount of pure tomato puree to qualify as a serving of veggies, there are some important things to note.

Is Pizza Sauce a Vegetable?

The answer is that 1/8 cup of pure, unaltered tomato paste has just as much nutritional value as 1/2 cup of any other vegetable. Additionally, tomato paste provides consumers with more calcium and potassium content than raw apples. It also contains slightly more fiber and less sugar. So, pizza lovers, rejoice! Your pizza sauce may not be so bad for you after all.

However, it ultimately comes down to how much pure tomato paste your restaurant uses as their sauce's base, how much sodium and sugar they add, and more. Just as the sauce can be part veggie, it can quickly take an unhealthy turn. Be sure to check out the nutritional value of the items you're ordering before you decide to count your slice as a veggie serving.

Is Pizza Healthy to Eat?

If you're looking to incorporate pizza as a healthy part of your diet, as with all foods, moderation is key. Pizza itself is usually high in fat, sodium, and sugar. However, the occasional slice of pizza won't throw your diet off track. You're still getting calcium from the cheese, protein from meat toppings, and more veggies from select toppings. Pizza isn't healthy to eat every day, but when you're looking to create a more nutrition-friendly pie, there are a few tips to follow.

  • Opt for a whole wheat crust instead of the usual white flour dough when possible. Or, request a thin crust, minimizing your total carb intake.
  • Ask for light cheese or sauce. This can help reduce the amount of sodium you consume per slice.
  • Load your pizza with veggie toppings such as peppers, mushrooms, olives, and more.

While we don't recommend eating pizza daily, the occasional indulgence isn't likely to cause much harm and can make it possible to meet critical nutritional needs.

Order Hungry Howie's Today

Sadly, even though pizza is not a vegetable, you can still enjoy a pie that's topped with nutrients. Order take-out or delivery from Hungry Howie's® today. We offer the option of a thin crust and a wide variety of vegetable toppings to choose from, so you can make your pie a little healthier.

So, are pizzas vegetables? And should you eat pizza every day? The answer to both questions from a nutritional standpoint is no. But you can up your veggie game with just a few simple tips and toppings.