I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but I just love vegetables. I have many moments where I just crave vegetables in all their simplicity – fresh and raw.
I know this may sound bonkers, but one of my go-to-snacks when I’m feeling peckish is lettuce.
I don’t just nibble on lettuce leaves like a bunny, I like something a little more exotic. I jazz up my Cos (Romaine) and little gems ‘boat’ leaves by filling them with avocado, grated carrot and chopped coriander and a sprinkle of ground cumin. Chicory (Belgian endive) I like to embellish with olive oil, sea salt & freshly ground pepper - so understated, but yet so satisfying.
Lettuce is the perfect nutritious treat. Unlike a Mars bar or chocolate cookie which is all fat and sugar with few nutrients, 2 cups of the green stuff contains 4% of your daily requirement of calcium & 217% of your daily requirement of vitamin K (to strengthen bones), 7% daily requirement of potassium (to regulate heart rate and water balance - bananas aren’t the only source!:), 32% daily requirement of folate (for DNA synthesis, prevention of neural tube defects and blood building), plus 45% daily requirement of vitamin A & 30% of your daily vitamin C requirement (for eye and immune health). It also contains traces of molybdenum, manganese, copper, vitamin B1, B2, B5 & B6, iron, omega 3, chromium, phosphorus and magnesium.
The best part is, 2 cups of lettuce is a paltry 8 calories, so it’s the ideal weight loss snack (aside from being low in calories, it does not raise glucose levels or the output of the 'fat storage' hormone insulin)
It’s also rich in water (95%) and fibre, so is an effective laxative to get the bowels moving…Perfect if you find yourself bored at work and need the distraction of a toilet break:)
But if lettuce alone doesn’t really grab you and you want something that stimulates the taste buds a little more, then try tossing your chicory with sliced pears, walnuts, green olives and parmesan shavings or pieces of blue cheese.
NB: When storing lettuce, it should be kept away from fruits that emit ethylene, such as apples and bananas. Ethylene is a gas that hastens the ripening process of certain fruits and will cause lettuce to decay much faster.