The Real Reason You Should Avoid Iceberg Lettuce At Restaurants

Iceberg lettuce is one of the cheapest, longest-lasting greens around and it's always available, but when it comes to flavor and nutrition, iceberg doesn't offer much value. Aside from a cup providing 17.4 mcg of vitamin K, based on data from Verywell Fit, iceberg lettuce lacks any other substantial amount of vitamins and minerals.

Not to mention, iceberg lettuce is over 90% water. Depending on your lifestyle, you might view this as a good thing, considering how iceberg can help you stay hydrated and cater to healthy weight management. For those reasons, you might want to keep a head or two in the fridge at home, but spending money on an iceberg lettuce salad at a restaurant just isn't worth it.

At the end of the day, it's not necessarily fair to say iceberg lettuce is bad for you. Unless it's not thoroughly washed or it's "slathered with blue-cheese dressing," as Jillian Michaels puts it, iceberg lettuce isn't going to hurt. It's just that there are better options if you're looking to maximize nutritional value.

3 leafy greens that are better than iceberg

Everyday Health ranked 14 healthy salad greens in a list from most to least nutritious, and iceberg lettuce placed last. Almost any other green is a better option. If it's the vitamin K that has you holding on to iceberg, Swiss chard may be an ideal upgrade as one cup has twice the daily value. Swiss chard is rich in vitamins A and C, and a cup only has 7 calories.

A cup of spinach also has just 7 calories and boasts 20% of your daily value of vitamin C. Spinach is rich in fiber, too, which is good for proper digestion. Registered dietitian Kelly Kennedy noted that cooked spinach offers a good deal of folate, which helps turn food into energy and boosts blood cell production, per Everyday Health.

Kale reigns as the healthiest leafy green, according to Everyday Health. The only downside for salad lovers is that the benefits are boosted when it's cooked. It has 19% of your daily value of vitamin A which is ideal for eye health and 23% of vitamin C. It also tops the list as richest in vitamin K as one cup equals 4 times the amount the average person needs in a day.