Is Pizza a Vegetable?

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Good morning! Happy Cyber Monday! Are you planning to scour the internet for deals? I actually might do a little online shopping later today. I don’t do the whole Black Friday thing, but I can get behind Cyber Monday!


I ate an AWESOME breakfast this morning! Even Mal loved this one. (I always use him as a measure because if something tastes “too healthy,” he’ll let me know!)

Last night, I made an Apple Omelet and reheated it this morning for breakfast. I topped it with maple syrup and a scoop of Greek yogurt. So delish!

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Apple Omelet

Recipe inspired by Taste of Home


  • 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp soy (or cow’s) milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 large apple, thinly sliced
  • Cinnamon to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375*F.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, eggs, soy milk, lemon juice, and sugar in a large bowl. Mix well with a whisk.
  3. Pour mixture into a shallow baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange apple slices on top and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 18-20 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut in half.
  5. Serve with your favorite toppings”” maple syrup, yogurt, etc.

Makes 2 servings


I also drank a cup of Starbucks French Roast with a splash of eggnog””and I used my new Keurig machine to brew the coffee!

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I love this thing! I’ve always loved Keurig machines, so it’s fun to have my own. I remember, however, that some K-Cup varieties end up producing really watery coffee, even when you brew them on the strongest setting. I’m happy to report that the Starbucks French Roast is full-bodied and wicked strong! A+ brew!

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Is Pizza a Vegetable?

Ok, Congress didn’t declare pizza to be a vegetable, but they did pass a bill that essentially makes it easier to count pizza sauce as a serving of vegetables. Right now, tomato paste gets special treatment under school lunch regulations: an eighth of a cup of tomato paste is credited with as much nutritional value as half a cup of vegetables. Sounds crazy, right? Well, it is”¦ sort of.

Check out this side-by-side comparison from Ezra Klein of The Washington Post:

If you stack one-eighth of a cup of tomato paste up against a half-cup of some pretty common fruits and vegetables, the paste actually doesn’t do so badly. Here are nutrition facts for one-eighth of a cup of tomato paste (left) versus a half a cup of apples (right):


Interesting, right? The nutrition facts look really similar””minus the sodium in the tomato paste, but it does better in terms of calcium and potassium content. It also does a little bit better with regard to dietary fiber and a lower amount of sugar, but how will it be served? Loaded with greasy cheese? Probably. Plus, it’s canned tomato paste versus an apple in whole form.

Question of the Day

What do you think about this whole “pizza is a vegetable” thing?



  1. Hmmm..the nutrition facts are pretty good..but it still baffles me what schools count as a “vegetable.” (I mean french fries…really?) I watched Jamie Oliver’s food revolution when it aired a while back, and it made me SO angry about all of the stupid technicalities that go along with school food – and it’s SO crappy! p.s. I’m SO jealous of the new coffee machine – awesome! 🙂

  2. Discounting the fact that tomatos are not vegetables (they’re fruits!), the issue isn’t that they nutritionally similar – it’s the delivery. An apple is served as an apple in it’s natural form; tomato sauce/paste goes on pizza. They’re not just putting a blog down on the plate. Especially since this was made at the bequest of numerous packaged pizza producers and flies in the face of recent recommendations for whole grains, I find this really upsetting.

  3. Glad you’re loving the Keurig! My office has one and I love using it, despite not drinking coffee. The teas are delicious and even when I use my own tea, I find the water is the perfect temperature. You should try the apple cider – delicious!

    I heard about the Congress/pizza thing the other week. As a Canadian, I can only look at this completely baffled: first, tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable and second, it is easier for Congress to come to an agreement on pizza as a serving of vegetables but can’t get behind a deal to reduce the debt? Really?

    I saw a clip on the news this morning about arranged dog marriages in India (no joke) and they featured a pug! So adorable and apparently quite lonely as he isn’t having much luck finding a mate.

  4. As a pizza blogger, I love it 🙂 But really, these sorts of studies are so particular and focus on the most minute details that I don’t give them much credit, ya know?

  5. Depending on how the pizza is made, I think it can be a healthier meal choice. I am not sure I would call it a “vegetable” per say… but I make my own pizza 3 or 4 times every month and have no problem eating it!

    We get whole wheat crust .. and then I top mine with sauce.. very little cheese (I am just not a fan) and a ton of broccoli or spinach. Iuse one serving of dough and make it into a mini pizza. I have no problem eating pizza on a regular basis when I prep it this way. I don’t think I could stomach some of the grease filled pizza from shops though!

  6. I’ve never heard of an apple omelet before! This looks delicious! I’m going to have to try it. 🙂

    I think pizza can be a healthy food option depending on how it’s made and what toppings are on the pizza. I don’t necessarily thinkg that it should be called a vegetable.

  7. Hmm, I agree that the sauce might be equivalent nutritionally to veggies, but I feel like those benefits are probably outweighed by the fat and grease that comes on a typical pizza! I think this just gives people an illusion and excuse to eat more of it!

  8. I love tomato paste, but schools don’t serve tomato paste in its healthy form. If I remember correctly, school lunch pizza was a grease bomb – and choices were cheese (a thick layer) or pepperoni, never veggie or lean meats.
    If we are going to compare “apples to apples” maybe we can compare pizza to apple pie…nope – neither is a veggie, not even close.
    If they want to amp up their sauce with chopped or pureed carrots, peppers, onions and put it on whole grain pasta or crust with healthy toppings, I’ll get behind that.

  9. I don’t really think that it should be considered as good as an apple because most kids will eat the apple straight up so it will “stay” nutrient-rich. However, school pizza takes the nutrition of the paste and “waters it down” due to the other nutrient-poor items such as white crust and fatty cheese in the pizza. I would prefer to see the paste used in a nice vegetable soup or marinara sauce to be served over whole grain pasta!

  10. Hmm very interesting statistic! I would definitely never consider pizza a vegetable because in most cases, the pizza sauce is not JUST tomato paste. It’s packed with water, sugar, salt, and other preservatives. I heard about this whole ordeal a couple weeks ago, and I find it pretty ridiculous.

  11. Heeeell to the no! Pizza is NOT a vegetable. When I saw that I wanted to gag and barf everywhere all over congress and my TV. It’s more along the lines of — seriously?? What happened to fresh fruits and vegetables? Now you have to boil it down process it mix it with other nasty stuff in tomato sauce and douse it in cheese and grease? No gracias. I much prefer to have micronutrients in tact and flavor not covered up by trans fats.

    My kids can have grape tomatoes in their school lunch, thanks.

  12. Will quinoa flour work well instead of whole-wheat flour? I don”t know how that would translate.
    (I wonder if you put this in a microwave in a ramekin, would it come out as a muffin?).

    Also, how much yogurt did you plop on top? I sometimes marvel at how quickly I go through a tub of yogurt and wondering if I’m too extreme!

  13. Nope. Plus most people don’t eat pizza without the cheese and fatty meats. I’ve NEVER seen a person just eat a thin crust without cheese and load on the veggies.

    I think people try and justify what they want to eat. I remember in college we used to joke that chocolate was a vegetable because it came from a plant, etc… Ha

  14. When I first heard that Congress was considering pizza as a vegetable I thought it was absurd. The comparison of the apple and the tomato paste is very interesting but the huge difference is, for the most part, you eat an apple raw (except during Thanksgiving when you have apple pie!) whereas tomato paste is always added to a recipe in order to make a meal, ie: pizza. And when you compare pizza and an apple there is a huge difference. That is where the disconnect is in this whole conversation!

  15. I read an interesting article on NPR abou this as well.. The thing is, for a slice to be considered a vegetable, it has to basically be swimming in tomato paste to therefore have all of the ample nutrients that would make it somehow considered healthy. I mean, I definitely think pizza can be chock full of nutritious qualities, but as having worked at an elementary school in LA, I observed firsthand kids getting served pizza that definitely did not look good for them, and definitely not coated in tomato paste to give them enough vitamins.

  16. Does that mean that since there’s a “vegetable” on the pizza, no veggie side is needed? I dunno. I’m down for kids eating pizza every now and again, but I don’t want them getting the wrong idea. Don’t tell them it’s a well-balanced meal just because it has pizza sauce.

  17. I love my Keurig coffee maker! I am dying to try the Starbucks k-cups. I love the Dunkin Donuts ones. Sometimes I brew it onthe smallest size setting so that the coffee is stronger.

    Your apple omelet looks so yummy!

  18. i think pizza is a very general term… our “standard” american pizza is definitely not a vegetable in my opinion, but if you use a thin (maybe even wheat) crust with a moderate amount of cheese, lots of veggies and maybe some lean protein, it is definitely healthy!

  19. I agree with a lot of the other comments about how the difference is the delivery, but I think it is important to keep in mind the motive behind this whole debate. I remember before STAR-testing in elementary school my school tried to supply some form of breakfast to all of the students because they knew a lot of kids were coming to school hungry. So what did they give us? . The point is that a lot of lunch programs at public schools provide lunch to children from very low-income families, and fresh produce is expensive. I love the blog world, but I think that sometimes it blinds me from how most of America eats. It is incredible just how expensive it is to eat *somewhat* healthy, let alone to eat lunch from the hot bar at Whole Foods. I agree that tomato paste on pizza is certainly not the best way to get some vegetables into their diets, but I think we owe a positive account of what would be a nutritionally-superior, yet cost-effective (or at least feasible), alternative.

  20. I am not sold on it still! I think you can of course get some of your veggie servings from the toppings on the pizza but I cannot call pizza a vegetable with the cheese and crust which can be unhealthy. I always still have a salad with my pizza!

  21. Hm. Interesting. Not sure what I think about that, even though the science is there.

    I’m the same re: shopping. I’m thrilled to take advantage of the Cyber Monday sales, but you could not have paid me to head to the mall on Friday.

  22. It makes me sad how poor our food choices are in the schools, but the comparison is better than I would have thought. I would really like to see us encouraging students to make healthy food choices though and pizza is definitely not going to help things. 🙁

  23. Every time I see that stuff about pizza qualifying as a vegetable, it takes me back to my early years where I had a teacher tell us about how pizza has all the food groups! Granted, a lot has changed in the past 20+ years as far as diet and exercise, childhood obesity, etc. But wow. 20 years ago someone told me that, now I struggle with it ALL THE TIME.

  24. pizza is not a vegetable, I can deepfry green beans, should that be a vegetable to serve kids? It won’t belike a homemade pizza, with a thin crust and tons of vegies on top but a big nutritionally useless processed flour concoction with cheese and pepperoni and then that small serving of “vegetables”. Its just a wayto not spend on better lunches for our kids. It really disturbs me. When dietitians reccomend kids eat more vegies they are well aware that they already eat pizza, so this is not why they are talking about. Sorry but this just makes me so upset.

  25. I wish the government would quit looking for loopholes and just mandate nutritious meals in schools for our children. If we lay a foundation for healthy eating now, we will save billions of dollars later in health care costs.

  26. I think sometimes you have to pick your battles. Do I eat pizza when I’m low on veggies? No, but if you serve a kid a scoop of mushy peas he or she will probably not even touch it. However, a slice of pizza – w a whole grain crust, heavy sauce, and light on the cheese – he or she will probably eat. You can even load up your sauce with pureed veggies. I do it to my picky eater 28-yr-old bf all the time 🙂

  27. I’m not at all convinced by this study. Taking on of the least used ingredient in pizza (theres way more dough and cheese than there ever is sauce) and trying to write it off as nutritional solely to make school lunches seem better is bogus. There are plenty of much healthier options to serve young children that are just as inexpensive as making pizza. Any way food is prepared in a school setting is going to be with chemicals, and in pizza’s case, a lot of grease. It doesn’t matter that the sauce (on the thick dough, covered by globs of cheese, and hot grease) has 6.4 grams of carbs, because 33mg is nothing to dismiss easily. Rather then doing research on how to make bad foods look better, why not put money and energy into innovative school lunches that are beneficial to the health of young kids.

  28. While I wouldn’t count the sauce itself as a vegetable, I definitely try to load up my pizza with veggies as TOPPINGS to get some more in my daily intake. Nothing better than a big ol’ pizza (light on the cheese) with broccoli, spinach, red peppers, mushrooms, even artichokes. MMM!

    Your apple omelet looks incredible, thanks for sharing the recipe!

  29. Made the apple omelet this morning for Jesse and he loved it! I’m glad you’re an early riser/breakfast maker/blogger, this is a winner over here.

  30. I really can’t believe congress did this. No, I don’t believe it’s a vegetable! For one, a tomato isn’t even a vegetable but that’s not really the point. The point is it’s still a junky food. If pizza’s a vegetable..then french fries and chips would technically be vegetables, too.

  31. The pizza served at my daughter’s school would definitely not count as a vegetable. I haven’t seen the school pizza, but according to my 4th grader, you can see the grease sitting on top. Yuck! I advised her to blot the pizza slice with a napkin next time. What school uses tomato paste as the sauce? Unless you pile on the veggies I don’t think it counts!!!

  32. I think my daughter would call pizza a vegetable any day of the week. But she’s 8. When is the government going to wake up and call veggies and fruits what they are and let contrived foods be contrived foods? Did you watch 60 minutes last night on the Flavor people who create flavors in labs from actual fruits and veggies, but never use any part of the real food? Crazy!

  33. I feel like even though the tomato pasta is fine in comparison to an apple, its the whole combination that can be unhealthy. To me, it’s like saying apple pie is healthy because it contains apples.

  34. It’s so frustrating the decisions being made by politicians regarding school lunches. I’m appalled that they could count pizza and french fries as vegetables. This is a disappointing step backwards.

  35. pizza is definitely not a vegetable…but you can load it up with veggies to get your share. when i think of pizza though, i think loaded with cheese and other not-so-good-for-you items..just the way i like it 🙂 definitely not a vegetable though.

  36. It’s interesting to see the actual nutritional comparison and see that it’s not actually THAT far off. But I do think the major problem is how these things are served, since it’s not like the kids are eating a can of tomato sauce on their own. It’s kind of sad and ridiculous, unfortunately. And it really makes me mad sometimes. Hopefully the more people talk about it, though, the more Congress will be forced to change this stupid policy.

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