Lettuce leaves are one of the very low-calorie green vegetables. The vitamins and minerals in lettuce are plentiful, and lettuce also contains fiber and cellulose which fill you up and help improve digestion. Improving your digestion may not sound like a good thing for losing weight, but it is actually essential for long-term weight control. Choose romaine lettuce or spinach, if you can, instead of iceberg which has the lowest nutritional value.
Romaine has one of the highest nutritional values in the lettuce category. Romaine has less sugars and sodium, twice the protein, twice the calcium, three times the vitamin K, four times the iron, eight times the vitamin C, and seventeen times the vitamin A (nutritional data from USDA SR-21).
Spinach is an excellent source of manganese, folate, magnesium, iron and copper. It also contains higher levels of Vitamins A, B2, B6, C, E and K and minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, protein, and choline. Spinach is an excellent source of dietary fiber and makes salads more colorful. No wonder Popeye loved to eat it in the old cartoon many of us used to watch!
Add in some blueberries, strawberries, mandarin oranges, walnuts or almonds, low-fat shredded cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and lean grilled chicken and you have a heart-healthy lunch that is packed with nutrients that your taste buds will enjoy. When you are at the grocery store this week, take a peek at all the “lettuce” varieties and try something new!