Lunch salads for the week
For most peopleu2026 or, for most people in the USu2026 no.
,In the US, most salads have a base of iceberg lettuce, which is little more than water.
You could eat a whole head of iceberg lettuce every day with little nutritional effect, except for the folate and vitamin A.
Thereu2019s a reason why they specify u201cdark greensu201d instead of just greens.
,Romaine lettuce is a little better but still, itu2019s shining star quality is that u201cat least itu2019s not iceberg lettuce.
u201d Itu2019s probably the least nutritious of the various dark leafy greens.
To get the full nutritional u201cbang for your bucku201d you would want your salad to be based on a variety of darker greensu2026 spinach, kale, dandelion, Swiss chardu2026 I would say at minimum half the greens should be something other than Romaine.
,Incidentally, Iu2019m not a doctor.
But the people at Harvard medical school areu2026 Salad greens: Getting the most bang for the bite - Harvard Health8 ),The next thing to take into consideration is that the USDA link you provided is kinda vague.
Basically, they group all dark greens togetheru2026 broccoli with spinachu2026 but the leafy ones are less dense and you need to eat more to get the same amount of nutrition.
The general rule of thumb is twice as much.
u201cit actually takes about two cups of raw greens to make the nutritional equivalent of a one-cup serving of vegetablesu201d Vegetable of the month: Leafy greens - Harvard HealthSo if your only dark green veggies are leafy greens, you should be eating four cups per weeku2026 if itu2019s primarily Romaine lettuce, you should up that to 6u20138 cups per week.
If itu2019s iceberg lettuce, it doesnu2019t much count at all, as youu2019re missing out on five of the seven vitamins u201cexpectedu201d from a serving of dark greensu2026 Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium.
,You may be cool with that, I donu2019t knowu2026 but when doctors say to u201ceat your veggiesu201d they donu2019t mean iceberg lettuce and celery.
They mean the more nutrient dense ones.
,The other thing to take into consideration is that the USDA is primarily concerned with ensuring people get adequate nutrition, not optimal nutrition.
Iu2019m not knocking them for that but it often causes confusion.
For instance, they are the only organization that I know of that lets you count beans as either a vegetable or a proteinu2026 everyone else acknowledges beans as a protein only.
And the USDA sticks to the u201cfive a dayu201d model in a sort of last ditch effort to convince people to eat at least five servings or fruits and vegetables per day.
Apparently, even then, theyu2019re satisfied to let you choose which to focus on.
,For most major medical organizations, u201cfive a dayu201d is a minimum.
The Mayo Clinic puts the number at 4u20135 servings of each per day DASH diet: Guide to recommended servings while Harvard Health puts it at 3u20134 servings of fruit and 5u20136 servings of vegetables New thinking on daily food goals - Harvard Health.
So by all counts, you could easily bump that 4 cups per week of raw dark green lettuce to 8 cups per week and not only wouldnu2019t it be u201ctoo muchu201d but it would be healthier than just four cups.
Or two cups, as the USDA misleadingly implies.
,I suppose this is more info than you actually asked for.
I guess the key point is that the USDA is oftenu2026 constrainedu2026 by political pressure and they arenu2019t always as specific as they should be.
Two cups per week of dark green vegetables needs some explanationu2026 what counts as a dark green, what the difference is between dark greens and dark leafy greensu2026 and they should also be more clear that many of their recommendations come with the unwritten tag line u201cat minimum.
u201d,8 ),So eat as many salads as you want unless you are taking medicines that donu2019t interact well with Vitamin K.
,Peace be with you, my friend!