Among all the types of lettuce, my favorite has always been iceberg lettuce. When I began my keto diet, I dreaded the thought of having to let it go.
After all, what may seem healthy can be a prohibited food in the world of keto. So, I knew I had to research before I continued enjoying my favorite crispy vegetable.
Is iceberg keto? It is an excellent addition to a keto diet because it is low in both net carbs and calories. In fact, one cup of it only has 1 gram of net carbs.
Let’s delve deeper into this question so that you can make the judgment of introducing the vegetable into your diet yourself.
What is Iceberg Lettuce?
Before you begin deconstructing the question about whether or not is iceberg lettuce keto-friendly, let’s start by understanding what iceberg lettuce is. Considering the different types of lettuce, it is easy to get confused if you aren’t obsessed with this vegetable as I am.
Iceberg lettuce is the crunchy lettuce that is often included in salads and burgers. It is grown the same as cabbage and is made of pale green leaves. Compared to romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce has a significantly milder taste – which is what I like the most about it, but if you like the bitterness of romaine lettuce, you might not prefer this one.
Benefits of Eating Iceberg Lettuce
There is a prevailing misconception that iceberg lettuce does not have a lot of nutritional value. I have often heard people call it an “empty” vegetable. A quick research showed me that this was anything but true.
However, in reality, the vegetable has a significant concentration of Vitamin K, A, and C. It also provides you with folate, potassium, and calcium.
One of the key benefits of eating lettuce stems from it having fibre, which helps in ensuring healthy bowel movements. Although compared to other items, its fibre content is low, it still adds to the benefit. Additionally, the mentioned vitamins and minerals help in improving the immune system and bone health.
One cup of chopped lettuce usually has about 9 calories! Hence, for those who are on a diet, munching on a salad containing iceberg lettuce won’t adversely impact their diet much. But is this enough for it to be keto, is the question!
Is Iceberg Lettuce Keto Friendly?
Let’s reiterate the question I posed early on – is iceberg lettuce keto? And if so, what makes it keto? It is imperative first to understand what a keto diet truly is. After this, I am sure you will reach a conclusion about this question yourself.
A keto diet calls for reducing your carb intake and increasing your protein and fat consumption.
While usually, the body burns carbs for energy, in its absence, it has no option but to resort to burning fat for deriving energy to function. By limiting carb intake, you can basically rewire the energy breakdown process.
Hence, as a rule of thumb, in a keto diet, you need to ensure that any food you eat has low net carbs and a high protein or fat content.
As a side note, you can use this to answer all questions similar to “is iceberg lettuce keto”. For any food item that you are concerned about, see if they help promote ketosis or not. If they do, they are keto. If not, it is time to say goodbye.
Here comes Iceberg Lettuce!
As iceberg contains very low net carbs, i.e. carbs that are available for energy breakdown by the body, it is considered to be a keto-friendly food.
You need to restrict your net carb consumption to at most 30 grams a day to achieve ketosis. And since 1 cup of the vegetable only has 1 gram of net carbs, you can rest assured that you won’t ruin your keto by munching on some crispy leaves.
After all, it is highly unlikely that you will end up overeating it, unlike some of the other snacking items! At the end of the day, it is still a green vegetable that you grow tired of after consistent eating.
Iceberg Lettuce: Nutritional Profile
For those of you who are still tempted to believe those who say iceberg lettuce isn’t a healthy vegetable, I am here to back up my case with undisputed data (Sorry for being such a geek about this!). These numbers further give credibility to everything I have said about iceberg lettuce.
According to USDA, 100 grams of iceberg lettuce has the following nutrients:
- 95.5 grams of water
- 14 kCal of Energy
- 0.74 grams of protein
- 0.07 grams of fat
- 3.37 grams of carbohydrates
- 14 milligrams of calcium
- 0.03 milligrams of Iron
- 6.3 milligrams of magnesium
- 19 milligrams of phosphorous
- 139 milligrams of potassium
- 16 milligrams of sodium
- 0.056 milligrams of thiamin
- 0.17 milligrams of zinc
- 1.2 grams of fibre
- 29 micrograms of folate
How to incorporate Iceberg Lettuce into your keto diet?
The best way to incorporate iceberg lettuce into your keto diet is by adding it to your salad with other keto-friendly food items. Here are some of my recipes that have lettuce in them.
To make this salad, you will need one head of iceberg lettuce, eight slices of cooked chopped bacon, two cups of grape tomatoes, half a cup of diced red onions, blue cheese crumbles, and 1.5 cups of blue cheese dressing.
Begin by cutting the iceberg lettuce head in half and cutting the half again into two halves to create four wedges. Make sure to cut off the core from the bottom. Then, proceed to cut the four wedges in half again to get 8 wedges.
Place the iceberg wedges on a plate and add three tablespoons of the blue cheese dressing over them. Top it up with a slice of chopped bacon, tomatoes, red onions and the blue cheese crumbles. You can also choose to add black pepper as a seasoning on top. Voila, your wedge salad is ready.
I love this recipe because the star of it remains the iceberg lettuce and the protein and other vegetables add to its flavours.
The 7-layer salad
While the Wedge Salad makes for a great lunch, I don’t think it has the dinner potential. At least for me, it is not satiating enough. When it comes to iceberg lettuce-infused dinner, I put my bets on the 7-layer salad.
To make this recipe, you will need four hard-boiled eggs, 1.5 iceberg lettuce heads, bacon that has been cut into smaller bite-sized pieces, chopped green onions, cherry tomatoes, a cup of chopped carrots, a chopped red onion, shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, chopped large cucumbers, full-fat sour cream, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, and salt.
Begin by cooking the bacon until they are crispy. Set them aside for later use but make sure to reserve some of them for garnishing.
Next, prepare the dressing by adding mayonnaise, salt, pepper, sour cream, and apple cider vinegar into a bowl and stirring them thoroughly until they are fully mixed together. Then, chop the iceberg lettuce head as well as slide the eggs that have been previously hard-boiled. Make sure to season it with salt and pepper for enhanced flavour. Prepare the cucumbers by peeling and slicing them and chop the green onions and red onions as well.
Now comes the layering time! Start with the topic of our discussion- the iceberg lettuce and add it to the bottom of the bowl. Then comes a layer of cucumber. Press it down gently onto the lettuce to make space for the other layers. Proceed by adding a layer of chopped green onions and red onions. Spread them as evenly as possible.
Add the next layer of cherry tomatoes and press them lightly and add the next layer of shredded carrots, followed by the boiled eggs. Finally, add the bacon pieces and ensure that it covers the entire layer in its entirety.
Now comes the dressing part! Add the dressing and the shredded cheese on top of the salad and cover it completely. Although optional, you can add a garnishing of some bacon, egg slices, and green onions on top. Your salad is ready to be devoured!
All in all, is iceberg lettuce keto? There is no question about it – it definitely is! Not only does it have very low net carbs, but it also doesn’t add much to your calorie intake. So, you can eat more food even after eating iceberg lettuce!
I don’t know about you, but I felt very happy after learning this. I hope I am able to pass on this feeling of elation to you too.
Is iceberg lettuce not “the” food you love and are concerned about? Well, then, maybe head on to some of my other guides. I make a point of writing about all food items that I have wondered are keto or not. Maybe you will find additional answers there.
For the rest, keep enjoying that lettuce. I am rooting for your keto diet to be a success. We got this!