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4 Reasons to Hit the (Salad) Bar: All the Nutrition Info Behind Your Favorite Greens

Supermarkets and salad bars offer an abundance of leafy greens, but which choice is best for dancers? According to Marie Elena Scioscia, a dietitian nutritionist who works with The Ailey School, you don't have to stick with one option—yes, it is okay if you're not obsessed with kale. Each of her top four picks has a variety of nutrients, so change it up, buy a bag of mixed greens or create your own plate at the salad bar. "It's all good," says Scioscia. Stats below are based on the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for featured nutrients. Here's what's worth noting in a two-cup serving of each of these greens.


Kale

Fresh wet green kale leaves on grey background

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Calcium: 20%

Vitamin A: 412%

Vitamin C: 268%

Vitamin K: 1,365%

Plus: 12% RDA of iron

Chinese Cabbage

fresh chinese cabbage on a white background

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Calcium: 14%

Vitamin A: 100%

Vitamin C: 100%

Vitamin K: 80%

Plus: Omega-3 fats to reduce inflammation

Arugula

A large pile of arugula

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Vitamin A: 40%

Vitamin K: 56%

Plus: Great cancer fighter

Spinach

Leaves of baby fresh spinach laid out on a white background

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Vitamin A: 112%

Vitamin C: 28%

Vitamin K: 362%

Plus: 30% RDA of folate (a B vitamin important for cell health) and 10% RDA of iron

Top It Off With...

  • walnuts or chia seeds for extra protein and omega-3 fatty acids
  • dressings with heart- healthy olive oil or flaxseed oil, which has essential fatty acids

What About Iceberg?

With its high water content, iceberg lettuce is low in nutrients, says Scioscia, but that doesn't mean you should avoid it. Add a small amount to other greens, she suggests. "If this is the only green you have in your fridge after a long dance day, you should definitely make a salad rather than not," she says. You'll get about 1.8 grams of dietary fiber per 2-cup serving.

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