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All About Iceberg Lettuce: History, Nutrition, and Salad Ideas

Mother of 2 daughters and grandmother of 7, I strive daily to achieve an optimum level of health and happiness. Life is all about balance.

Salads come in wide variety of healthy options.

Salads come in wide variety of healthy options.

Name Origins, History, and Salad Trends

Iceberg lettuce acquired its name from the method by which it was shipped. This crispy pale coloured leafy green was packed in ice for shipping and thus acquired the name iceberg lettuce.

A century ago there was a distinct reason why iceberg was the popular choice in leafy vegetables. In the past consumers did not have much choice in the leafy vegetables available to them. Unless they grew their own vegetables or lived close to a farm, food choices were limited to those products which local supermarket carried. Without modern refrigeration methods, transportation of vegetables from the farm to the city was difficult and only the hardiest of lettuce could be safely shipped. Iceberg lettuce was just such a hardy lettuce.

Iceberg was the lettuce of choice for shipping because it could be packed in ice yet remain fresh and crisp until it arrived at its destination. Generally shipped by train from California to destinations around the country, it was able to reach grocery store shelves in relatively good condition. Other lettuces and green leafy vegetables were not quite so hardy and would instead reach their destination in unsaleable condition. Consumers did not have much choice in the lettuce they could select.

A century ago it was piled high on produce aisle shelves and consumers could not get enough of this crispy moist green lettuce. Today, however, the production of iceberg lettuce is dropping. Consumers now have a variety of choices and are choosing the darker leaf varieties instead. So what are the nutritional facts of iceberg lettuce that give this green such a bad rap in today's health-conscious society?


Nutritional Information

Iceberg lettuce has zero fat, zero cholesterol, and only 15 calories per serving. In this regard it is a dieter's delight.

However, when it comes to nutrition this lettuce is sadly lacking. Per average serving it contains only two percent of our daily Iron requirement, six percent of our vitamin C requirement, four percent of our daily requirement of vitamin A, two percent of our daily calcium requirement, and one gram of protein.

Not as Nutritious as Other Leafy Vegetables

Consumers are switching to other dark green leafy vegetables to acquire the additional vitamins and minerals per serving that iceberg does not offer. Now that consumers have a choice they are choosing nutrition over texture and purchasing more spinach, chard, romaine lettuce, as well as other dark red leaf and green leaf vegetables.

To meet the changing needs of consumers, farmers are reducing iceberg production and increasing their crops of spinach, Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, and other darker red and green leafy vegetables.

Of course iceberg does also have its own unique attributes when it comes to lettuce varieties. It has a nice crisp snap when you bite into it which cannot be replicated by other leafy vegetables. In giving up iceberg lettuce consumers are also giving up the wonderful crispy texture experience which only this salad green seems capable of offering.

Serve up a summer time favourite any time of year.

Serve up a summer time favourite any time of year.

Are We Really Eating Healthier?

Despite the fact that obesity rates are at an all-time high, society as a whole is taking a healthier view on the foods that they consume. It turns out that people are making healthier food choices to offset the not so healthy ones. So does it make sense that people are switching from iceberg to more nutritious leafy vegetables when they are still chowing down on fatty take-out food? Apparently it does.

There is the added benefit of knowing that by choosing highly nutritious ingredients in your salads you can feel a little less guilty about consuming your other not so healthy foods. Consumers are more than happy to add a few additional health benefits in one area of their diet if they are then able to relax a little in another.

Fortunately salads are never made from just one vegetable, and adding iceberg lettuce into the mix will give a crisp texture to a salad that only it can give. The moist crispness of an iceberg salad is delightful for picnics in the summer. In the fall and winter an iceberg salad adds a touch of class to the dining room table that just cannot be replicated by other side dishes. Its texture is irreplaceable.

Which is Your Favorite Green?

Iceberg Is All About Texture

With a few well chosen ingredients a crisp garden salad can add an attractive touch of class and romance to an otherwise basic meal. A salad served with a variety of vegetables can be a decorative addition to any table setting. No one has ever said that one lettuce is all that is allowed, so choose two or three to provide a variety of colours and textures to your salad.

For additional customization there are many vegetables, nuts, and seeds that pair well with greens.

  • Tomato
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Diced ham or turkey
  • Bacon bits
  • Boiled eggs
  • Cheese curds or chunks
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flax seeds

The number of available salad options is unlimited so be creative. Having one salad or 3 on the table is perfectly acceptable. You can also choose to set each ingredient out in separate bowls and allow family or guests to design their own.

© 2009 Lorelei Cohen

Do You or Don't You Eat Your Greens?

Lisa Bean from Nevada on November 27, 2018:

After reading this, now I am craving a salad for lunch! :)

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 13, 2018:

I know this aricle was written quite a while back, but it is still helpful today. My husband only like iceberg lettuce, but I turned to the other types of leafy lettuce several years ago. Interesting article.

Barbara Walton from France on July 18, 2016:

I have always been doubtful about the nutritional value of lettuce but have been too lazy to do the research. I must say that I use rocket or lamb's lettuce in salads more than lettuce, but I'll use the darker leaved veg from now on.

TapIn2U on September 07, 2014:

Great info! Thank you for sharing! Sundae ;-)

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on August 05, 2014:

I Like iceberg cut in half with blue cheese and bacon all over it. Oh well so much for the nutrition!! Thanks for all of the helpful facts :)

June Campbell from North Vancouver, BC, Canada on August 04, 2014:

Yes, I use iceberg lettuce as the base of all of my salads. I add other leafy greens to it -- spinach, broccoli and more. I don't see myself giving up iceberg any time soon.

Niktravelfit on June 29, 2014:

Nice lens with great content, Thanks!

Sara2901 on June 28, 2014:

We have switched from iceberg to romaine hearts. I like the crisp texture and romaine seems to last longer than iceberg.

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on June 24, 2014:

We eat lots of salads, and I always use iceberg lettuce, mixed with romain or spinach. To me, a salad just isn't complete without iceberg! :)

ologsinquito2 on June 20, 2014:

I love iceberg lettuce and I never believed it had little nutritional value. It's supposedly very good for our bones, according to an online health expert I follow.

happynutritionist on June 12, 2014:

Yes, though it was the favorite diet food back when and probably still is for many...I mean how much can you gain even if you eat a whole head of lettuce...since it has so little chlorophyll and green etc., it is less nutritious than other great things you have shared that also contain few calories but many nutrients.

sybil watson on June 03, 2014:

I still love a wedge of crisp iceberg with Thousand Island dressing, although I eat other greens too. There's room for all the vegetables in our salad bowl.

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on May 06, 2014:

I remember when I was in military that iceberg lettuce was all we could get when stationed overseas. That and many of the reasons you mention above have made it my least favorite of lettuces. I don't believe I see it much in the local stores either. It does provide a nice, background on which to display a more colorful salad arrangement. Great lens.

Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on April 21, 2014:

I hardly ever use iceberg because of how little nutrition it has although I do love the crunch it gives to sandwiches. My favorites are baby leaves and mizuna.

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on April 13, 2014:

Congrats on the Purple! Iceberg is my favorite, but I'm trying to eat less of it. I like to mix a bunch together. At least I add spinach to it (and most everything else). It's good to have the facts!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on December 08, 2013:

I very rarely eat iceberg anymore. My first choice is Romaine followed by spring mix. I've really gotten to love arugula lately and add it to the spring mix or to a baby spinach salad mix.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on September 12, 2013:

@sheilamarie78: Salad is very refreshing in the summer months. My husband really eats a lot of those months.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on September 12, 2013:

@flinnie lm: A blend of lettuce is most likely the healthiest way to create a salad. I used to eat spinach raw in salads but now just eat it cooked.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on September 12, 2013:

@Mobley5: I love the texture of iceberg lettuce too. When I wrote this article it made me realize that I choose a lot of my favorite foods by their texture rather than their taste. Funny how we judge things lol.

anonymous on July 09, 2013:

@lesliesinclair: Why do you feel guilty? If you enjoy it eat it. Do what makes you happy :)

Mobley5 on July 09, 2013:

Iceberg is probably my favourite lettuce for sandwiches because of the crunch. I always used mixed lettuce leaves for a salad.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on June 14, 2013:

@anonymous: Now that you mention it I also like how the flavor of other vegetables are mellowed by the addition of iceberg lettuce to the mix. I had not thought of that previously but you are right.

anonymous on June 11, 2013:

I like to add leafy greener types of lettuce to iceberg. I enjoy icebergs crunch and lighter flavor, it tames down some of the stronger flavors that some darker green lettuce can have.

Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on June 02, 2013:

Hi I don't use iceberg lettuce all that much. I like other varieties of lettuce for my salad.

Sheilamarie from British Columbia on May 31, 2013:

I'm not a big iceberg fan. I prefer the fuller flavor of other varieties of lettuce. Salad sure is a welcome part of a meal, however.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on May 31, 2013:

@Sylvestermouse: It is the crisp snappy texture of iceberg lettuce that I enjoy. Other leafy vegetables just don't give that nice crispness to the supper salad.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on May 31, 2013:

@lesliesinclair: Iceberg lettuce has always been my favorite salad vegetable as well. I enjoy spinach cooked but not so much in a salad.

lesliesinclair on May 24, 2013:

It's really my lettuce of preference, but I feel so guilty buying it now. Growing up, it was our mainstay, and i'm glad to see that it does have nutritional value.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on April 09, 2013:

My husband and I both enjoy eating Iceberg lettuce. I guess I never really gave a lot of consideration to the nutritional value of others by comparison when we simply like the taste of Iceberg :)

Leah J. Hileman from East Berlin, PA, USA on March 05, 2013:

I enjoy the texture of it, but I'm one of the people who has been using less and less of it now that I am more informed about nutrient density in other greens.

kabbalah lm on March 01, 2013:

I like iceberg because it's crispier than other lettuce

anonymous on January 25, 2013:

@sudokunut: Yeah!! Exactly what I was thinking - lettuce is good tasting and healthy and you con complete your nutritional intake with the rest of your meal; like you said, "....but honestly... ."!

anonymous on January 25, 2013:

@anonymous: wow I'm trying this - sounds delicious!

Brian Stephens from France on January 25, 2013:

I love Iceberg lettuce and I really don't know why it gets such a bad rap. Nothing wrong with it in my view, stores well, easy to slice a bit off when you just need a little and I really like the taste and texture. Guess you can deduct from this that I am a bit of fan. Great lens.

anonymous on January 19, 2013:

It's a good filler because purchasing salad greens can get expensive. It may not be high in nutrition but it's better for you than a burger

anonymous on January 12, 2013:


Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on December 21, 2012:

@Kailua-KonaGirl: I love the crispness of iceberg lettuce but in today's health conscious world many people are switching to dark green leafy vegetables instead.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on December 21, 2012:

@anonymous: I personally love iceberg lettuce but statistically it's sales have reduced and this because people are switching to healthier green leafy vegetables. When I researched this article I was searching for why iceberg lettuce got it's name and then switched the theme of my article to add in iceberg lettuce's nutritional component as well.

anonymous on December 20, 2012:

I only eat Iceberg because of its crisp, ability to soak up dressings, and I can't stand the feeling of any other lettuce (feels like weeds) as i chew. When used in Salads Lettuce should be the blank canvas and your dressing and other ingredients are the paint. When used on a burger or other foods like sandwiches lettuce should give a crisp and contrast to the soft breading and juicy meat, other lettuce does not have it. As far as eating lettuce only for Nutritional value, I disagree and argue that you're missing the reason and the point of the lettuce itself.

KonaGirl from New York on December 13, 2012:

I seldom use iceberg lettuce since the nutritional value is so low. I prefer the darker greens that are higher in vitamin and mineral content.

anonymous on December 10, 2012:

I love iceberg, I pair it with baby spinach, kidney or garbanzo beans, tomato green onion and a bit of feta or Parmesan. Delish!!

anonymous on December 07, 2012:

I'm lazy and use bagged iceberg/carrot/red cabbage salad. Also, it's so common to be included in restaurant salads. I do not, however, like iceberg on my sandwiches -- I use green leaf lettuce for that.

Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on December 06, 2012:

I like a mixture of lettuce in salads.

pumpum on December 04, 2012:

Wonderful lens, very informative.Love it!

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on November 29, 2012:

@srsddn lm: Iceberg lettuce is my favorite because of it's crisp snappy texture. We tend to add two types of lettuce to our salads - both light and dark green leaf so we still get a ton of nutrition.

srsddn lm on November 25, 2012:

Thanks for sharing and showcasing iceberg lettuce as green salad.

anonymous on October 12, 2012:

@jolou: Hi Joanne, I just thought you might like to know that your unusual surname has a southern France wine making chateau with your name on it. Very superior and rare wines, particularly fine rose. Probably impossible to find but worth seeking out. "Domaine Ott". Are you of French descent?

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on September 08, 2012:

@KandDMarketing: We eat a lot of iceberg lettuce here but that is largely because we love the crispy texture.

KandDMarketing on September 02, 2012:

Nah, it's not worth the expense or effort, especially considering it's less than spectacular nutritional value.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on August 09, 2012:

@RuralFloridaLiving: I like my spinach mixed into a baked dish rather than within a salad.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on August 09, 2012:

@Diva2Mom: My salads are also generally a combination of lettuces. When they are a single lettuce though I then use just iceberg lettuce. I like it's crisp texture.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on August 09, 2012:

@sudokunut: Iceberg lettuce really is my favorite of the lettuces but my husband and I often do up a salad with both iceberg and a dark leaf lettuce combines simply to insure a rich blend of nutrients.

Mark Falco from Reno, Nevada on August 04, 2012:

Yes, because it's the only lettuce I like. I know the others have more nutrients but honestly, it's not like lettuce is the only thing on my plate so I just ignore the naysayers. :)

Diva2Mom on August 02, 2012:

I love Iceberg lettuce because of its crispness and texture. It's a must-have ingredient for me when making salads. I just add my favorite veggies to make it more nutritious and voila, a perfect salad! Informative lens! God bless you!

whats4dinner on June 23, 2012:

I occasionally add Iceberg lettuce in my salads. Thank you for sharing the information.

Camden1 on June 17, 2012:

We use a variety of lettuces, including iceberg. For some things like tacos and burgers, iceberg can't be beat!

RuralFloridaLiving on June 05, 2012:

Not too often - I like romaine and spinach.

agoofyidea on June 02, 2012:

I grew up on iceberg lettuce. For a while I tried other lettuces, but now I eat iceberg. If I like it why do something different. Nice lens. I learned a lot about my favorite lettuce.

KimGiancaterino on June 01, 2012:

I adore Iceberg lettuce. A quarter head topped with Thousand Island dressing is sooooo good.

Anthony Altorenna from Connecticut on May 21, 2012:

I like romaine lettuce for salads, but the fresh crisp snap of iceberg lettuce is perfect for sandwiched -- especially my personal favorite: the BLT

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin on May 20, 2012:

I still love to eat iceberg lettuce over the other green salads. Even if it doesn't have much in nutrition.

Fay Favored from USA on May 02, 2012:

Iceburg lettuce has gotten a bad wrap I think. I like a mix in my salad, but love crisp, cold iceberg lettuce all by itself.

jolou on April 25, 2012:

Yes, I like iceberg along with other leafy greens. I try to eat a salad every day.

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on April 12, 2012:

I grew up with only Iceberg lettuce in my salads. Now I primarily make my daily salads with romaine, spinach, arugula, and other mixed greens. This was an interesting article. I appreciate your focus on nutrition.

anonymous on April 01, 2012:

Happy April Fools Day!

Blessed by a lettuce lovin' Squidoo Angel

anonymous on March 30, 2012:

I love salads with Iceberg lettuce. Thinking I need to put some of that healthy vegetable on my grocery list. - I just posted this to FaceBook in hopes other people will read your informative article. :)

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on March 25, 2012:

@TravelingRae: I have always thrown out my lettuce hearts and never thought of consuming them. This is something that I am going to have to do on my next lettuce head purchase. Thank you for that tip.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on March 25, 2012:

@Demaw: I believe a salad tastes so much better when you use a couple different types of lettuce. I like the crispness of iceberg lettuce but the health benefits of darker lettuce leaf is definitely obvious.

Demaw on March 13, 2012:

I still use iceberg lettuce. Like you stated, a salad is made from more than one type of vegetable.

TravelingRae on March 12, 2012:

I prefer Romaine; it just has more flavour. The hearts give me that satisfying crunch while the leaves are nutritious.

What I am finding amazing is that iceberg wedges are back in style at fancy restaurants: quarter an iceberg lettuce and drizzle it with a dressing. I've seen them at a number of restaurants for $5 or more. Crazy!

sousababy on March 11, 2012:

Oh yes, love having romaine and iceberg lettuce especially.

hntrssthmpsn on March 10, 2012:

Luckily, I love green and red leaf lettuce, romaine, and (my favorite!) spinach. I do toss in a little iceberg for crunch now and then, though. Lettuce is such a crisp treat on a hot day, and so easy and fast to grow in the garden... a plus when you're lazy like I am ;)

viscri8 on March 10, 2012:

Bless the salads, the writer of this article and all the readers of it -- also the salad consumers into the mix!

viscri8 on March 10, 2012:

I am still eating Iceberg lettuce -- keep it in the mix. Salads are indeed a precious supplier of vitamins of our daily necessary dietary intake. This lens is just reminding me to add more of the other greenery.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on March 07, 2012:

@MargoPArrowsmith: Many vegetables contain protein. Problem is that it is just in small amounts in most of them. But chow down on enough iceberg lettuce and you will get a little protein into your body ;)

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on March 07, 2012:

@RCGraphicsDesign: I am partial to the crisp texture of iceberg lettuce. I eat the darker leaf vegetables but really do prefer the crisp iceberg.

RCGraphicsDesign on February 29, 2012:

I l0ove all kinds of lettuce - in fact every night. Thanks for a great lens. I love Squidoo.

MargoPArrowsmith on January 18, 2012:

Lettuce has protein? I am bowled over

anonymous on January 15, 2012:

I remember my first visit here and being amazed with learning about iceberg lettuce, I thought I knew about it...and returning with some fresh angel dust to sprinkle on those salads....there is something about that special crunch and taste you can't get with anything else.

norma-holt on January 14, 2012:

You have done it again, Fantastic information on this produce. Grew some Iceberg's this year and they were delicious straight from the garden. There is nothing like their flavour to enhance a salad. Are you sure that cavemen stole eggs from dinosaurs? *Blessed* and featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012. Hugs

nephthys lm on January 11, 2012:

I never have any salad without it!!!!!

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on January 06, 2012:

Only when I'm cooking for a crowd. I love the crunch and taste of iceberg lettuce, mixed with spring greens, spinach, radishes and onions. Well, actually, mixed with almost anything, but I rarely buy it these days for the very reasons you state. I'm always looking for the biggest nutritional wallop I can get, along with taste and texture.

Lisa Auch from Scotland on December 16, 2011:

i love the crunchy clean taste of iceberg, It is my favorite!

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on November 25, 2011:

@choosehappy: U2. Hope you enjoyed your visit to my iceberg lettuce article and thank you so much for stopping by.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on November 25, 2011:

@KathyMcGraw2: I find that the best salads combine both a dark green leafy vegetable and the delightful crisp iceberg lettuce. Kind of gives us the best of both sides of the story in a salad.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on November 25, 2011:

@GabrielaFargasch: And I do so love my iceberg lettuce :)

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on November 25, 2011:

@wutz4tea: I had never thought of munching on iceberg lettuce as a snack food but it does make sense how it would satisfy the craving. We often crave the texture of a certain food and iceberg lettuce is crunchy alike many of our popular snack foods. Very interesting.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on November 25, 2011:

@miaponzo: Thank you so much for stopping by. It is fun to see that you and I are both fans of Iceberg lettuce. There really is no other green leafy vegetable quite like crispy crunchy iceberg lettuce. Love it!

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on November 25, 2011:

@LouisaDembul: I also love the crisp snap of iceberg lettuce in a salad and cannot imagine not having it in my salads.

LouisaDembul on November 19, 2011:

Iceberg lettuce is the best for certain salads. I like that crispy sound!

miaponzo on November 16, 2011:

Iceberg lettuce is my favorite and I love this.. AND the entire lens is my favorite color (chartreuse!!!)... :) Blessed!

wutz4tea on November 07, 2011:

Yes! No reason to leave it out entirely. I sometimes eat it as a snack, as one might eat potato chips...way better! It is also a sturdy scoop for your tabouli! I could never just forget about the iceberg. It has many practical uses.

GabrielaFargasch on October 14, 2011:

I love my veggies and I always try to eat healthy, but for whatever reason I was never able to actually 'like' iceberg lettuce.... I prefer rucula... :)

Kathy McGraw from California on September 24, 2011:

Interesting...I read the title and since I am one that has switched to roamine lettuce I wanted to know the facts about iceberg lettuce. You gave me enough info that I can happily serve iceberg instead. You are right, the others just don't taste the same....I like that crunch :)

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on August 18, 2011:

@kerbev: Wow I did not know that about iceberg lettuce. Thank you so much for that tip Kab.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on August 18, 2011:

@ColorPetGifts: Lol...iceberg lettuce is fabulous ;)

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on August 18, 2011:

@gottaloveit2: I made a huge salad last night. The had gigantic heads of iceberg lettuce on sale this week for 99 cents per head and they are beautiful. My husband went wild on the salad lol.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on August 18, 2011:

@choosehappy: Thank you so much for such a wonderful compliment on my lettuce article. You made my day.

Vikki from US on August 10, 2011:

Blessed by a squid angel ;) Have a wonderful week!

gottaloveit2 on August 02, 2011:

I love a wedge of iceberg lettuce with balsamic vinegar and a drop of olive oil. Great lens.

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