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Salad Showdown: Comparing the Nutrition! - Dietetic Directions - Dietitian and Nutritionist in Kitchener/Waterloo
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Salad Showdown: Comparing the Nutrition!

Salad Showdown: Comparing Nutrition

Salad Showdown: Comparing the Nutrition!

Are you a salad enthusiast? I hope so, and if not, I anticipate you will be very soon!  After all, salad greens are awesome! They are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, folate, etc.  Furthermore, adding a salad to your meal(s) is a quick and easy way to increase your veggie intake since we know we are not getting enough!

 

Today’s blog inspiration came about after being reminded about the widespread demonization of foods. Who’s the newest food victim? Move over gluten, our newest target is none other than our dear friend the salad!   In a recent article published in the National Post, the author slams salads as offering no nutritional benefit and states they are essentially a waste of time eating and a waste of our natural resources.   Wow, talk about a conversation piece!

 

Salad

 

 

My blog today, is in defense of salads.  Let’s take a closer look and compare the nutrition for popular (and delicious) salad greens. I will also provide tips for making healthy salads at home – since this is a much healthier alternative to the calorie and fat-rich ones found at most restaurants.

 

Per 2 cup Serving Calories per serving Vitamin A (%DV)* Vitamin C (%DV)* Potassium(%DV)*
Romaine 16 162 6 6
Spinach 14 112 28 8
Kale 66 266 268 18
Arugula 6 8 4 2
Iceberg 16 14 6 4

*%DV = percentage of daily requirement or nutritional needs for adults

DYK: Kale contains 266% DV of vitamin A and 268% DV of vitamin C Click To Tweet

Nutritional Importance:

Vitamin A: Important to keep our eyes, skin and immune system healthy. Promotes normal growth and development. Salad greens contain carotenoids, which are a form of vitamin A and important for our vision.

Vitamin C: Helps in the growth and repair of bones, teeth, skin and acts as an antioxidant that may reduce risk of certain cancers and chronic diseases. Helps increase the absorption of iron and keeps immune system healthy.

Potassium: Critical for lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease by relaxing our blood vessels (vasodilatation). Defends against loss of muscle mass associated with aging.

 

Salad

Tips for Salad Lovers:

  1. Enjoy your salads and focus on consuming a variety of dark leafy greens!

 

  1. Buy local whenever you can to reduce the carbon footprint and to support our local farmers!

 

  1. Mix salad greens to get a blend of flavours. Try mixing romaine lettuce with arugula or kale to provide additional vitamins and minerals.   I also recommend adding fresh herbs such as fresh parsley to the mix (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!).

 

  1. Add delicious ingredients to your salads such as sunflower seeds, raisins or some feta or goat cheese. Nobody enjoys eating plain lettuce so make it special!  Try my Grape and Feta salad or Simply Spinach salad .

 

  1. Make it an entrée salad, by including fibre and protein!  Try using fresh fruits, whole grains like wheat berries, legumes like chickpeas or grilled chicken or canned tuna. These ingredients will help to keep you satisfied.
Find out some delicious ways to jazz up your salads! Click To Tweet

Bottom Line:

Stop food demonizing!  Let’s focus on increasing our vegetable consumption and enjoying our food along the way.  It’s not all about one food being the superstar and other foods being worthless, they all can fit and offer varying amounts of vitamins and minerals.  Enjoy your salads!

  • Paula

    After reading the National Post article on lettuce, I was confused as to how they could criticize or put doubt on the value of salad. Your blog clarifies the food nutritive value and the versatility of this unique vegetable. Thanks!

  • Andrea D’Ambrosio, RD

    Thanks for reading and commenting Paula! I’m glad you found my article provided clarification on this topic.

  • Melissa

    Very interesting blog post Andrea. I can’t believe National Post tried to downplay all of the benefits of salads. It’s clearly an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and helps to prevent over consumption of those calorie-rich foods we are all drawn to!

  • Andrea D’Ambrosio, RD

    Thanks Melissa! I am glad you enjoyed the article and found it a valuable counter-piece to the one in the Post. 🙂

  • Julia

    The comparison chart was very helpful in this blog post! Many pre-made salads are made with iceberg lettuce so I think it’s important to notice how much more nutritious dark leafy greens are.

  • Elizabeth

    I’m surprised by the limited nutrients in arugula as it is dark and green! Thanks for defending the salad! My current favourite is roasted sweet potato (or squash), pumpkin seeds and a little feta on mixed greens with a mission fig balsamic dressing. Divine!