Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

You can make friends with salad

6 Comments

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In the wake of the hate on almonds, kale, and countless other vegetables comes the defamation of salads. And dietitians everywhere wept into their leafy greens.

Now, while the author is proclaiming that “salad vegetables are pitifully low in nutrition” his real points wilt down to derision for two things: lettuce and fast food salads.

The problem with lettuce is that it contains very few nutrients and uses a lot of water to grow. The problem with fast food salads is that they’re often packed with calorific ingredients like candied nuts, deep-fried croutons, and creamy dressings while containing few vitamins and minerals as they’re predominantly lettuce-based. No argument here. Let’s look a little closer at the first claim though.

Yes, lettuce is not exactly an outstanding vegetable in the land of superfoods. That doesn’t mean that we should quit it entirely. It does contain some nutrients and precisely because it contains relatively few calories it can be a great choice for anyone who’s trying to manage their weight. Four cups of romaine lettuce contains only 40 calories! For one of the very reasons that the author eschews lettuce many people choose to eat it. The water in that lettuce also contributes to your hydration; it’s not like it’s just going to waste.

Even if lettuce isn’t the greatest. That’s no reason to dismiss salads entirely. Lettuce is not an essential salad ingredient. If you want some nutrient-packed salad greens go for spinach, kale, or shredded brussels sprouts. Salads can include loads of nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits, everything from apples to zucchini. You can include grains, nuts, seeds, cheese, meat. The salad combinations are endless, delicious, and nutritious. Salads are so much more than just lettuce.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

6 thoughts on “You can make friends with salad

  1. I have heard the nutrient value of uncooked Kale is very low, is it still good to add to my smoothies and have as a salad. I love Kale

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    • There are pros and cons to raw and cooked vegetables. Cooking makes some nutrients more bioavailable while destroying others. That’s why it’s best to enjoy a variety of vegetables prepared in a variety of ways :)

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  2. Pingback: How to own your next homemade salad | dietitianeats

  3. Great post. We are enjoying massive amounts of kale this season using that new recipe I found online. In fact Don and I had kale salad as our main dish the other evening, along with a big hunk of whole wheat bread. Very satisfying. It seems that every food has something wrong with it, and if we listened to all the comments, we’d end up starving to death!

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  4. Still eating all the green salads :)

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