When a group of us went into a Pizza Hut one day, we asked for some breadsticks (breadsticks are $5.95) while we discussed which pizza toppings to get. One of my friends specifically requested pineapple, and that sure started a heated debate on Healthy Toppings.
This “Hawaiian” pizza that combined ham and pineapple has been around since 1962, so it’s not exactly a new-fangled addition to pizzas that hipsters came up with. It’s not even Hawaiian in any sort of way. It was invented by a Greek immigrant in Canada.
One survey found that 35% of more than 6,000 respondents disliked pineapple on pizza. But the hatred is more than that. You’ll find stories of pizza makers refusing to add pineapple to the pizza out of principle, even if the customer specifically requested it. Even the president of Iceland back in 2017 said that he was “fundamentally opposed” to the idea.
But pineapple is just the tip of the iceberg. With the increased focus on healthy menu items. Even pizza joints are getting into the trend. There have always been vegetarian pizzas, but some of the newer additions may seem criminal, or even blasphemous.
Here are some examples of Healthy Toppings:
Yes, many adults know of Popeye and how the spinach gave him strength and muscles. In fact, some experts contend that spinach is just about the healthiest and most nutritional topping you can put on a pizza. Spinach reduces blood pressure and oxidative stress, and it might even help keep your eyes healthy.
But spinach doesn’t remain fresh when it’s blasted by the high heat of the pizza oven. The spinach loses its texture, and that high heat may even have obliterated the nutrients that made spinach healthy to begin with. All you do is turn your pizza into a slimy, icky mess that doesn’t make you want to eat it.
Sure, plenty of kids hate broccoli. But as we grew up and presumably grew brains, we learned to recognize that broccoli is a great food that’s terrific for our health. It contains plenty of antioxidants along with vitamins and minerals. You get that fiber as well, which makes you feel full and so you won’t be looking for snacks any time soon.
But when we eat pizza, somehow, we just turn back into kids who don’t care about health benefits. That’s why the very idea of broccoli on pizza seems like an atrocity.
It’s true that broccoli with cheese tastes good. The same goes if you partner broccoli with red sauce. Put broccoli on dough, and it’s a nice snack. But when you put them all together as a pizza, then everything goes to hell. It just doesn’t work.
Restaurants like Pizza Hut was actually one of the largest buyers of kale, before it became the trendy superfood that it is today. But Pizza Hut wasn’t putting the kale on their pizzas. Even Pizza Hut thought at the time that it would be too much. They already have pineapple on some of their pizzas.
No, at the time, Pizza Hut was using them for their salad bar. It wasn’t even for eating. Its presence for the salad bar was just for decoration.
Nowadays, you’ll find plenty of online articles extolling the virtues of kale. It’s everywhere, and now it’s even appearing on our beloved pizzas. Some people do try it, but many of us don’t even bother.
Many of those who tried it confirm what the rest of us already suspected. Kale on pizza just doesn’t taste all that great. If the kale was placed on top of the cheese, we just end up with crispy charred bits of kale. If the kale is under the cheese, the leaves end up soggy and bitter. You end up with pizza that you’d be forced to eat, and that’s not pizza at all.
Yes, you can and should eat healthy. With more than two-thirds of the US population overweight, healthy food is a priority.
But pizza is pizza. It’s different from other types of food. It’s like Zeus in the pantheon of gods—the most supreme of them all. Many surveys have pizza as the ultimate favorite food. If people are forced to eat only one type of food for the rest of their lives, then they’d go with pizza.
We enjoy pizza for the taste, and the wonderful way it fills us up. This is the ultimate fast food for diet “off days”. It has to be protected from these healthy toppings and ingredients, or else they won’t taste as good. And if pizza isn’t delicious—is it still pizza?