Lettuce Nutrition Facts

Nutritional Value of Lettuce (Per 3 1/2 ounces raw or 2 cups):

Lettuce Nutrition Facts

Salad Green Calories in Lettuce Fiber (g) Beta Carotene (mg) VitaminC (mg) Calcium (mg) Iron (mg)
Arugula 25 1.6 4 91 160 1
Belgian endive 17 3 trace 0 50 1
Bibb 14 2 0.6 8 35 2
Boston 14 2 0.6 8 35 2
Escarole 20 2.5 1 7 53 1
Iceberg 14 1.2 0.2 4 18 1
Looseleaf 18 1.6 1 18 68 1
Romaine 17 2 2 24 30 1
Watercress 11 0.5 3 43 120 <1

Lettuce Nutrition Facts

cartoon lettuce
As a general rule, the darker green the leaves, the greater the nutritional value of lettuce.

Romaine and looseleaf lettuce, for example, have up to six times as much vitamin C and five to ten times as much beta carotene as iceberg lettuce.

However, the calories in lettuce, regardless of type, are very low: 10-25 calories per 2 cups.

Lettuce Nutrition Facts: Lettuce (a.k.a., salad greens) can therefore be considered a "free food" or a nearly zero calorie food and can be used to help fill you up in place of more caloric foods!

Lettuce Nutrition Facts

You should buy organic lettuce!

That's because, like strawberries, apples, carrots, and celery, lettuce is listed among the "dirty dozen."

That's a list of the top 12 fruits and vegetables that have the highest pesticide residues on them.

You can wash and rinse all you want, and you may reduce levels of pesticides, but you'll never eliminate them entirely.

That's why you should prioritize buying organic lettuce.

Lettuce Nutrition Facts

While the calories in lettuce are certainly low, what you add to salads and what you dress them with can be nutritional nightmares.

A seemingly innocent salad can become the calorie equivalent of a Big Mac and fries if you're not careful.

Use my "stoplight" guidelines for building a healthy salad:

Green Light (5-25 calories per 1/4 cup or 1 heaping serving spoonful):

  • artichoke hearts
  • beets
  • bell pepper strips
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • celery
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • hearts of palm
  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • pea pods
  • radishes
  • spinach
  • squash, green or yellow
  • tomatoes
Yellow light(25-50 calories per 1/4 cup or 1 heaping serving spoonful):
  • baby corn
  • bean salad
  • corn
  • edamame (green soybeans)
  • garbanzo beans
  • kidney beans
  • peas
Red light (more than 50 calories per 1/4 cup or 1 heaping serving spoonful):
  • olives
  • potato salad
  • chopped egg
  • pasta salad
  • tuna salad
  • imitation crab salad
  • shredded cheese
  • feta cheese
  • bacon bits
  • nuts and seeds (ex: pumpkin seeds) (note: these are high in calories, yet "good for you," so use only a sprinkling

Lettuce Nutrition Facts: Choose Salad Dressing Wisely

  • Use unlimited amounts of balsamic vinegar, salsa, lemon juice or lime juice (these are nearly zero calorie foods).
  • Use oil and vinaigrette sparingly. (Serve in a dish on the side and "dip your fork.")
  • Try to avoid creamy dressings like Caesar, Ranch, and Blue Cheese.
  • Opt for nonfat dressings when available.

Lettuce Be Thankful for These New Serving Suggestions: (sorry...couldn't help myself)
  • Serve in courses: Eat salad on a dinner plate, then dinner on a salad plate. This will help you get more bulk in a meal.
  • Use romaine lettuce leafs to make lettuce wrap sandwiches.
  • Finely chop your salad for a whole new salad eating experience! It tastes soooo much better that way...I promise!
  • Compliment pungent greens (arugula, watercress, or escarole) with citrus fruit (orange or grapefruit sections) and toss with a lowfat raspberry vinaigrette dressing.
  • Add arugula or watercress to potato salad.
  • Chop arugula and blend into lowfat cream cheese to make a sandwich spread.
  • Add escarole to hot pasta.
  • Use Belgian endive leaves as "scoops" for dips.
  • Top Belgian endive with sliced fruit (apples or pears) and nuts (ex. walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds).
  • Serve arugula with crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese and sliced strawberries. Top with a citrus dressing.
  • Add cooked chilled vegetables such as asparagus, snow peas and green beans to salads.
  • Add fresh herbs to salads: parsley, chives, basil, dill.
  • Use light herbal vinaigrette dressings on bibb or Boston lettuce and bolder, mustard or garlic dressings on Romaine, escarole, and arugula.
  • Braise lettuce in broth for an unusual side dish.
  • Brush Belgian endive with a little oil and grill until soft and slightly brown.
  • Note: a chicken placed on a bed of lettuce leaves will stay juicy while roasting!

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