Iceberg lettuce is a very low-calorie food that is free of fat and cholesterol. It is low in sodium and rich in fiber. Originally known as crisphead lettuce, its name changed to iceberg in the 1920s. Use in a salad requires caution, as many dressings add empty fat calories.
A full cup of iceberg lettuce contains 8 calories. While kale provides more fiber and other nutrients, a similar sized serving has over three times the number of calories found in lettuce. Kale is also bitter and requires cooking before serving, while lettuce requires little preparation. Other nutrients in the popular salad green include potassium, protein, vitamin C and folate. It also provides vitamin K and beta carotene.
Iceberg lettuce is a popular raw vegetable often found in salads. Cooks sometimes cut it into a wedge and serve it on a plate with dressing as a wedge salad, but it's more commonly used as the base for a tossed salad.
When selecting iceberg lettuce, shoppers should choose heads with compact centers and clean, fresh outer leaves. Once they get the purchase home, they should rinse it in cool water and pat the leaves dry using paper towels. When stored in plastic bags, lettuce remains fresh for about a week in the refrigerator.