Think you mix a mean salad? While we applaud everyone for getting their greens, not all salads are created equal!
Comparing iceberg and romaine is a little easier than comparing, say, apples and oranges. In general, leafy greens are rich in fiber, calcium, iron and vitamins A and C, among other essential nutrients.
"No matter what type it is, it's going to offer you some nutrition," says Rachel Berman, R.D., director of nutrition at caloriecount.com. It's also worth mentioning that leafy greens don't contain some of the biggest nutrition offenders, namely fat and sodium. "You get a lot of bang for caloric buck," says Berman. "By pairing any meal with a side salad, you're helping yourself become satiated on fewer calories."
Keep in mind that no salad is complete without at least a little fat. A study from earlier this year found that the nutrients in greens and other veggies are best absorbed when eaten with a bit of (healthy) fat, like that in avocados, nuts or olive oil.
But creating the best base is important, too. That's why we asked Berman to share her thoughts on the best and worst picks for salad greens in the slideshow below. Although a blend of a few different greens is probably the healthiest bet of all, she says; that way you get the various benefits of a few different options.
Of course, the size of your salad will affect the amount of nutrients those greens deliver. The typical side salad is likely around two cups or 100 grams, says Berman, but, especially with the popularity of chopped salads, yours could pack up to four cups of leafy greens.
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