A Guide to Spring Lettuces
Lettuce is an extremely healthful food. It is almost 90 percent water, so it hydrates your body as it nourishes. Darker lettuces contain folate, beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, and certain flavanoids (those feel-good, disease-fighting natural chemicals). And, because they’re so water-rich, lettuce is practically a calorie-free food: 4 oz (which is plenty of lettuce) only costs you 13 calories.
I know what you’re thinking: “The lettuce isn’t my caloric problem, it’s the gloppy, creamy dressing I smother my salads with that’s my downfall.” My response to that is, get better lettuce! If you think outside the iceberg and choose lettuces that are flavorful as well as convenient delivery vehicles for heavy dressings, you’ll dress them less and savor them more.
So, think of dressing as a complement to the lettuce, not a cover-up of it. And rejoice: a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice brings the benefits of a “good fat” (which studies show can actually help your body absorb the nutrients in some vegetables) and…well, take your pick for the health benefits of lemons!
Not sure which lettuce to choose? Here’s a guide to some of the pretty leaves that await you at your grocery store, farmer’s market, or backyard garden.