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Favorite Salad Greens: What's the best choice?

by Mary Ellen Bingham, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. 

Looking to load up on tasty salads this season? Leafy greens can fill you up without filling you out.

Spinach and arugula may be top picks on this list of common greens but if you want even more variety, taste some kale, Swiss chard or a mesclun mix and savor the flavor.

Greens Cal.*

Other Notables*

Dietitian's Take
Spinach 7
1 g
30 mg calcium; 0.81 mg iron; 167 mg potassium; 8.4 mg vitamin C; 58 mcg folate; 2,813 IU vitamin A; antioxidant-rich A TOP PICK! A nutritional powerhouse, spinach is a great source of vitamins C and A, plus other antioxidants.


1 g
11.3 mg vitamin C; 2,729 IU vitamin A; 64 mcg folate; antioxidant-rich A close second behind spinach, romaine offers a delicious and nutritious choice, often used in Caesar salads.
0.6 g
0.68 mg iron; 131 mg potassium; 1,822 IU vitamin A Packed with vitamin A, this tender leaf is a great option with a mild flavor.
Arugula 4
0.4 g
32 mg calcium Easy to find in grocery stores, arugula provides a unique peppery taste.
Red Leaf
 0.3 g
2,089 IU vitamin A; antioxidant-rich Add some color to your dish while also getting loads of vitamin A.
0.9 g
Limited vitamins and minerals Iceberg is the most common lettuce. While low in nutritional value, it is convenient and adds texture to your salad or sandwich.

* Per 1 cup, raw (equals one serving)
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

Registered dietitian MARY ELLEN BINGHAM, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., is a nutrition counselor in New York City.

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