Iceberg Lettuce from Best and Worst Salad Greens Slideshow

Best and Worst Salad Greens Slideshow

Flickr/joana hard

Iceberg Lettuce

Because it’s crispy, has a very mild flavor, and is cheap, iceberg lettuce is perhaps the most popular salad green in America. It also has a reputation for being a lettuce without any nutritional value. Although it is not without some nutrients (it has seven percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin A and three percent of vitamin C), iceberg lettuce is the least nutritious salad green.


Romaine lettuce has more vitamin A and C than iceberg and bibb lettuce has more than four times the vitamin K. Also, most of the 10 calories per one cup comes from carbohydrates so make sure to add more nutritious greens into your diet than iceberg lettuce.  


Green Leaf Lettuce

Green leaf lettuce may be the ultimate low calorie food because it has only one calorie per serving. But while it’s very low caloric value is a point in its favor, it doesn’t fare very well against romaine or red leaf lettuce when it comes to nutrients. Romaine has more vitamin A and folate than green leaf lettuce, while red leaf lettuce has almost three times the vitamin K.  

Salad Suggestion: Herb Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette.



With its long leaves and crisp texture, romaine lettuce is popular in both salads and sandwiches. Romaine lettuce is a good source of vitamins A and K and has some folate and vitamin C and is only one calorie per leaf (one outer leaf is about six grams). But romaine lettuce also provides almost no minerals and has more water than bibb lettuce. 

Salad Suggestion: Grilled Hearts of Romaine.

Flickr/Happy Sleepy

Red Leaf Lettuce

Part of a category of lettuce known as loose leaf, red leaf lettuce is distinguished from green leaf lettuce by its red, almost purple, tips. A serving of red leaf lettuce only has three calories and it is a better source of vitamin A and K than romaine and unlike romaine it also has some calcium, iron, and magnesium. But bibb lettuce has more iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium than red leaf lettuce.

Salad Suggestion: Alice Waters' Baked Goat Cheese Salad. 


Bibb Lettuce

Bibb lettuce is part of the butterhead family. With its subtle favor and buttery leaves, bibb lettuce is a very popular salad ingredient. It has only seven calories per cup and is a good source of vitamin A, C, and folate. It also provides a whopping 70 percent of our daily recommended value of vitamin K. And unlike romaine lettuce, it provides a decent amount of minerals such as potassium, iron, and manganese.

Salad Suggestion: Bibb Lettuce and Watercress with Lemon-Mint Dressing.



With its small, flat leaves and peppery, bitter taste, arugula is a perfect salad green. Related to radishes, arugula has only has six calories per cup, provides 10 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A and 6 percent of vitamin C. It also provides more vitamin K and A per serving than Romaine and is good source of calcium, magnesium, and manganese. Because of this, arugula is a better choice than Romaine lettuce or bibb.

Salad Suggestion: Shaved Asparagus, Arugula, and Parmesan.



Related to cabbage, broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts, watercress has a peppery and bitter bite. It also happens to be one of the most nutritious salad greens. It is only four calories per cup and has significantly more vitamin A, C, and phosphorus than arugula. Watercress also provides all the vitamin K you need for the day. It is also more nutrient dense than romaine, green leaf, or red leaf lettuce. 

Salad Suggestion: Avocado and Mint Dressing



It probably comes as no surprise that spinach, a member of the goosefoot family that includes beets and chard, is one of the most nutritious salad green. One cup has only seven calories and it provides almost twice as much vitamin K as recommended. It also has a lot of vitamin A, C, and folate. And unlike a lot of popular salad greens, it is an excellent source of minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, and magnesium. Next time you order a salad or make one at home, make sure that spinach is a prominent part of this salad.

Salad Suggstions: Spinach, Fennel, and Asparagus Salad



Just when you didn’t think a salad green could get more nutritious than spinach, along came kale. Part of the same plant family as watercress and cauliflower, kale has only recently become a popular salad ingredient. But this newcomer is by far the best greens for your salad.


It has about three times the amount of vitamins A and K, and calcium as spinach. It also has almost ten times the amount of vitamin C and is a better source for iron and potassium. Although still a low calorie food, kale does have 33 calories per cup, while spinach only has seven. But the very few extra calories are definitely worth it.

Recipe Suggstion: Kale Crisps

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Best and Worst Salad Greens Slideshow