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. I think the whole pizza thing is ridiculous. Personally, I don’t think school cafeterias should be serving things like pizza and french fries, regardless of the “nutritional benefits” of a serving of tomato paste covered in, as you said, grease and cheese. The goal of school lunches is to provide a healthy, balanced meal, something students might not get at home. And I’d bet a good portion of them are probably already getting more pizza and french fries than they need at home.

  2. I think they could come to a happy compromise and include at least ONE vegetable on top of the pizza as well. Broccoli, mushrooms, something. I also want to count cookies as a vegetable. Not for schools, but for me.

  3. Hi Tina,

    Quick question – what size did you brew for the Starbucks k-cups? I just ordered the k-cups online and wanted to know what size i would need to brew to get the full bodied effect 🙂


  4. I recently saw a picture of a woman eating a pizza with the caption “This salad is awesome!” Which kinda sums up my feelings: frozen, mass-produced, school cafeteria pizza is not a serving of vegetables.

  5. I really don’t think that pizza should be counted as a vegetable…unless of course it is loaded up with veggies as toppings! Even if tomato paste is nutritionally equivalent to fresh veggies, I think that by allowing pizza to take the place of fresh vegetables in school lunches, schools are missing out on an opportunity to introduce kids to healthy foods that they may or may not be getting at home. So many of our food preferences are determined during childhood!!

  6. The problem with school lunches is that they try to appeal to the junk food monster that lurks within most kids. Here’s the menu for today at my kids’ school. A choice of hamburger or hot dog on bun (white bread, high fat, high sodium), lettuce & tomato (which the kids don’t take and is the veggie), baked beans (likely high in sugar and sodium), fruit (a fresh choice and a fruit cup, guess which one the kids pick), elf grahams (these are on the menu at least once a week). When I go to school to eat with my kids, a lot of the food on their friends’ trays goes into the trash. I pack lunches for my kids 4 days a week and let them buy once, but most of their friends buy every single day.

    Recently, they have been adding some whole grain items, but I’m suspicious about how much whole grain is in the breadstick that they serve with the spaghetti. I guess it’s a start. As to whether Pizza is a veggie?? At my house, maybe; at school, no way.

  7. There are some really yummy chai latte K cups you should try! Also, the apple cider is pretty darn good, too. Not the same as the real thing, but for an off-season alternative, it’s one of the best I’ve had!

    I’m also really disappointed in this idea that tomato paste being considered a vegetable. First of all, tomatoes are FRUITS. Minor fact. But we should be teaching kids to eat REAL foods, not processed ones. And the biggest issue is how the kids will be getting the food. Tomato paste will be used in foods like pizza (which is ok every now and then), but with childhood obesity on the rise, kids need to be aware of whole fruits and vegetables and how to make smart food decisions. This just seems like a cop out to me.

  8. I think kids should be presented with more ideas of what actually constitutes a vegetable! Most Americans get their vegetable servings from potatoes (French fries!) so it seems a little irresponsible for schools to actually deem pizza sauce a vegetable. Besides, pizza sauce is never eaten alone–it’s always eaten with bread and greasy cheese. Bad call by Congrees, IMHO.

  9. I get that tomato paste alone is healthy, but everything else that comes on the pizza (aka the greasy cheese) counteracts it completely! I just think it should be a bonus, not considered one of the necessary servings. I’m all for more veggies!

  10. Ketchup is a vegetable, pizza is a vegetable, and I’m sure french fries (fried) regarded as vegetables are pretty common…whatever happened to carrot sticks and good old fashioned apples or bananas for kids. As a mom, I wish things would just get back to basics!

  11. Yummylicious!! That breakfast sounds amazing 😀 And my fiance always tells me the truth, but gently, if I need some feedback on recipes and stuff. It’s awesome!

    And I’ve heard about this pizza deal! Hmmmm I still don’t think it should be considered a VEGETABLE! I’ve worked with kids for a while, and they always tell me that they actually want something more “real tasting” and healthy! This is coming from 4th graders btw 🙂 And the sauce itself isn’t bad for us, but we still do need fresh produce in our meals. Now, kids would survive by eating anything really, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re healthy and being taken care of. If they CAN eat healthily, then why not?

  12. I’m super jealous of your Keurig machine; I want one so bad!! There’s one at work and I find it so convenient. I only a cup of coffee in the morning and sometimes one in the early afternoon and I hate having to use my big coffee maker and measuring everything.

  13. The Barista Prima KCups are amazing, especially for iced coffee. They are very bold and strong, which I think makes the best iced coffee! Hooray for Keurigs.:)

  14. My husband and I eat pizza every Monday because it is only $3 at a place up the street from us and we are living on one salary. If anyone is going to say it is a vegetable I am TOTALLY on board. Makes me feel a whole lot better about my Monday nights!!

  15. Good to know that the sauce is healthier than I thought, but kids need more veggies that just the sauce. They should put some fresh veggies on top too!

  16. as someone not crazy about veggies but who loves pizza, I am all for counting it as a veggie, had some last night. 🙂

    also, I love my keurig! so easy and I don’t have to worry about making a whole pot when I am the only one who drinks it, and I either make it too watery or strong, so this is always just right!

  17. I love my Keurig! I’ve had one for several years now and I’ve never had any problems. I usually buy my K-cups with one of those 20% off Bed Beth & Beyond coupons they always send in the mail. I live alone so it is super convenient to be able to make just one cup of coffee whenever I want one. By the way… that newer Keurig model you have there kind of puts my old one to shame! haha.

  18. I can’t see how pizza can pass as a vegetable based on sauce alone, especially when it comes to vitamins. I mean, does tomato sauce have as many vitamins as fresh vegetables, or when compared to fruit? I think pizza would definitely be a vegetable if it was topped with onions/peppers/tomatoes/broccoli/etc. That way you get your vitamins too, which is key in vegetables, plus it makes pizza even better 🙂

  19. I think it’s ridiculous to count pizza as a vegetable! Yes, pizza can be nutritious when it’s homemade and doesn’t have lots of fat and salt, but the kind of pizza served in schools are probably super unhealthy. I thought the goal was to help make the population healthier, not to add to our existing health problems? 😛

  20. Interesting comparison….I guess if that’s the only vegetable that kids are going to get, then it’s better than nothing, but I still think it’s a bit of a stretch.

  21. The apple omelet looks amazing…I might make that tomorrow with some apples I have that are going bad…And pizza is only a vegetable if ice cream counts as a low-fat dairy serving!

  22. I feel like people are developing a stigma towards eating raw veggies and fruits…if it’s not fancy or fun, it’s not worth the time. In truth, there’s nothing more crisp than an apple straight from the tree or sweet than a carrot from the Earth. I feel like if people slowed down and ate thoughtfully, they’d really taste and understand how good ”simple” foods are.

  23. Something else to think about: 1/8 cup of tomato paste = 1 serving of vegetables? But tomatoes are fruit…
    Doesn’t congress have better things to do?? And the grease and oil outweigh any healthy things from the tomatoes!

  24. tomato paste is just made form tomatoes isn’t it, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t count. It’s just in a different form! I actually eat it by the spoonful, so I’m glad to see it’s being counted 😉

  25. First, I love the Keurig! I use mine everyday & can’t imagine life without it.

    Second, on the topic of “is pizza a vegetable”: this question kills me. I’ve read many articles on the bill & I just don’t get it. Tomato paste out of a can may have nutritional facts close to those of an apple, but what happened to good ol’ tomatoes. I see so many children that don’t eat fruits & veggies these days; they receive their caloric intake by inhaling tons of processed foods. I think it’s sad & I am so happy to have the knowledge I have so that I can pass it to my own son.

    Thanks for sharing!

  26. Tomatoes are one of the few vegetables or fruits that are actually better for you when cooked. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant and is stronger in cooked tomato products(marinara, tomato paste) than in raw tomatoes alone! I don’t think we should include it as a vegetable per se but it does have its place in the diet. Now, if we are loading the pizza up with copious amounts of greasy cheese and refined white flour crust, then that is a different story. The paste can be used in combination with lighter cheese, whole wheat crust(which schools have to start including anyway considering it will be law in 2 years for all grains served in schools to be whole grains) and other vegetables served on top of the pizza. I am a senior in nutrition and dietetics and believe me, this is a hot topic for us!

  27. Yum, breakfast looks so good. I wish I checked this e-mail before I baked cookies, because I would of rather baked your breakfast and take it to work for tomorrow. I shall do that tomorrow evening!

    Pizza, no not a vegetable, pizza sauce, yah I guess so, it’s just tomatoes in a can, great comparisons. Is a veggie pizza a vegetable? Probably, as long as you get it with no cheese and it’s baked in an oven and not on one of those conveyor belts. Then I would count it as a serving of vegetables. But regular fatty pizza, NO!!!

  28. I guess it depends on how it’s made. If it’s natural then the sauce can count as a vegetable portion (tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic etc. add/delete as you see fit!). I would like to see the ingredients for the mass-produced “tomato paste” they use in schools. I bet the “cheese” is even better: loads of preservatives and nasty E-numbers and very little cheese!!

  29. The side by side comparison is very interesting! I guess it depends on the quality of ingredients in the pizza. I love my Keurig but I do find that some of the flavored K-cups are too watery for me. Try Donut Shop and the Newman’s Special Blend!

  30. Just goes to show you that a topic as important as nutrition should not be left up to politicians or the FDA. I doubt there is even an eighth of a cup of tomato sauce on a slice of pizza. maybe the whole pie. The tomato sauce has probably been sitting in a can on a shelf for a year leaching toxins into the sauce. And then it sits atop a crust of wheat which a lot of kids are allergic to. An then there is high fat cheese on top of that. Kyla is right, there is more lycopene in cooked tomatoes, but still…..

    Look, I love pizza more than anyone but I think of it as a treat (the gluten free kind) and would never eat a slice and think I got a serving of vegetables out of that.

    I think this sends kids and their parents the wrong message.

  31. Tina, I really appreciate your fair look at the tomato paste debate. I feel like as a healthy living blogger it would be easy for you to fall into over-simplication for health purposes, so I just think it’s awesome that you posted this info with a discerning eye. I think it’s really unfair that people are saying Congress said “pizza is a vegetable” – which is a bit sensationalizing. No one is saying pizza is a vegetable – they are saying that tomato sauce used – in a certain amount – counts as a serving of vegetables (just as you would a V8, or a pureed soup). A certain number of tomatoes has to go into that canned tomato sauce for it to count, and the pizza has to include the requisite amount of sauce – and that’s how you get those nutrients. The biggest takeaway here from my perspective is that there are always good ways and not so great) ways to get your veggies (think broccoli smothered in cheese sauce – which is another way cafeterias serve veggies)! And at the end of the day, it’s up to parents to make sure their younger kids eat right. Thanks again!

  32. School lunch today at where I was student teaching? A little rice, a little chicken on top of it, and gravy. Where are the vegetables?! 🙁

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  35. God, school lunches were the worst.

    Besides, a tomato is a FRUIT, not a veggie!

    There’s just no way to win. Parents: if you can, please please please pack your kids a lunch with halfway decent food then! *cough* no Lunchables*

  36. I tried to bake this in a glass dish that I thought I sprayed very well. It ended up, well, sticking very well to the bottom of the pan. Good thing I planned on eating the entire thing to begin with, I just stuck a fork in the pan and started chowing down!

    It was so incredibly delicious; I only wished I doubled the recipe for my own self to eat at one sitting. (eek!) Next time, I’ll use a non-stick baking dish.

    Thanks for the recipe!

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