How many calories does 2 cups of shredded lettuce have?

Lettuce is a popular leafy green vegetable that is commonly used in salads and on sandwiches. It provides nutrients like vitamins A and K, folate, iron, and calcium, while being low in calories. Knowing the calorie content of lettuce can help with meal planning and meeting health goals. In this article, we will look at how many calories are in 2 cups of shredded lettuce.

Calories in Lettuce

The calorie content of lettuce varies slightly depending on the type. iceberg lettuce tends to be the lowest in calories, while romaine and green/red leaf lettuces are slightly higher. Here are some averages for calories in 1 cup shredded raw lettuce (about 1 large leaf) [1]:

  • Iceberg lettuce: 8 calories
  • Romaine lettuce: 8 calories
  • Green leaf lettuce: 9 calories
  • Red leaf lettuce: 9 calories

As you can see, the calorie differences are negligible. In general, 1 cup of shredded raw lettuce of any variety contains about 8-10 calories.

Calories in 2 Cups Shredded Lettuce

Using the above estimates, we can calculate the calories for 2 cups of shredded lettuce:

  • 2 cups iceberg lettuce: 16 calories
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce: 16 calories
  • 2 cups green leaf lettuce: 18 calories
  • 2 cups red leaf lettuce: 18 calories

So 2 cups of shredded lettuce contains about 16-18 calories, depending on the variety. This is an insignificant amount of calories from a nutritional standpoint.

Nutrition Facts for 2 Cups Shredded Lettuce

In addition to calories, here are some of the main nutrients provided in 2 cups shredded lettuce [2]:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 16
Protein 1 g
Carbohydrates 2 g
Fiber 2 g
Vitamin A 3308 IU
Vitamin K 171 mcg
Folate 64 mcg
Potassium 194 mg

As you can see, 2 cups of shredded lettuce provides a good amount of vitamins A and K. It also contains some folate, potassium, and fiber. And all for just 16 calories!

Lettuce Calories in Context

16 calories is an incredibly low calorie food. To put the calorie amount into context [3]:

  • It’s the same calories as in 1/3 cup of blueberries or 1/2 a plum.
  • It’s less calories than in 1 baby carrot (25 calories) or 2 dried apricots (17 calories).
  • It’s only 4% of a standard 400 calorie meal.

So the amount of calories in 2 cups shredded lettuce is miniscule compared to other foods. It ranks very low in calorie density. Adding lettuce to your plate can help provide more volume and nutrients for very few calories.

Benefits of Lettuce

Beyond the low calorie content, here are some key benefits lettuce provides:

  • Nutrients – As shown earlier, lettuce contains vitamins A and K, folate, iron, potassium, and more.
  • Fiber – The fiber in lettuce can help promote fullness, digestive health, and heart health.
  • Water Content – Lettuce is 96% water, allowing it to hydrate the body.
  • Low Carb – With 2g net carbs per 2 cups, lettuce can fit into low carb eating plans.
  • Crunchy Texture – The crunch and crispness of lettuce can provide enjoyment of food.

In addition to sheer low calories, lettuce offers benefits making it a very nutrient-dense, health-promoting choice.

Downsides of Lettuce

There are a couple potential downsides to consider about building meals around lettuce [4]:

  • Low in Protein – With only 1 gram protein per 2 cups, lettuce lacks satiating protein.
  • Low in Healthy Fats – Lettuce has minimal healthy fats that can help absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Can be Low in Calories – Eating large salads without additions may provide too few calories by itself.
  • May be Exposed to Pathogens – Lettuce has risk of contamination from polluted irrigation water.

While lettuce has excellent nutrition for the calories, eating it alone may not provide complete nutrition or be fully satiating. Balance lettuce with healthy protein sources, fats like avocado and nuts, and safe growing practices.

Ways to Enjoy Lettuce

Here are some healthy and delicious ways to enjoy lettuce:


Lettuce shines as the base for healthy main or side salads. Top lettuce with ingredients like:

  • Chicken, salmon, or tofu
  • Avocado
  • Eggs or beans for protein
  • Chopped vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, broccoli
  • Nuts and seeds like almonds, sunflower seeds
  • Low-fat cheese, Greek yogurt
  • Olive oil and vinegar dressing or vinaigrette

Sandwiches and Wraps

Crisp lettuce enhances sandwiches and wraps. Add it to:

  • Turkey, chicken, or ham sandwiches
  • Veggie sandwiches and wraps
  • BLT sandwich
  • Tuna or egg salad sandwich fillings

On Burgers

A few lettuce leaves can add crunch and moisture to your favorite burger, like:

  • Beef burger
  • Turkey burger
  • Black bean burger
  • Veggie burger

As Roll Ups

Use lettuce leaves as unique low-carb roll-ups for fillings like:

  • Turkey and cheese
  • Tuna salad
  • Egg salad
  • Chicken salad

On Tacos

For low-carb tacos, use lettuce leaves instead of taco shells. Fill with favorite taco toppings.

Tips for Adding More Lettuce

Here are some simple tips for enjoying more shredded lettuce:

  • Keep bags of pre-washed and shredded lettuce on hand for easy use.
  • Add lettuce as filler to any wrap, sandwich, burger, or taco.
  • Mix lettuce into grain bowls and buddha bowls.
  • Use lettuce leaves instead of tortillas or buns for low-carb options.
  • Boost lettuce nutrition by topping with avocado, tomato, olive oil.
  • Enjoy big lettuce salads as a first course or side dish to meals.

Lettuce is so versatile and easy to use in many dishes. Taking advantage of its low calories can help bump up nutrition in your meals.

Does Lettuce Help With Weight Loss?

Given its low calorie content, can eating lettuce help with weight loss? Here is what the research shows:

  • Low Calories and High Water – The combination of very low calories and high water content means lettuce provides a lot of food volume without a lot of calories, which may help with reducing calorie intake.
  • High Fiber – The fiber in lettuce helps satisfy hunger and promotes feelings of fullness after eating, which can assist with weight management.
  • Low Energy Density – Because of its high water content, lettuce has a low energy density of 0.15 calories per gram. Low energy density foods have been associated with weight loss.
  • Nutrient Rich – Lettuce provides many important nutrients for very few calories. Eating nutrient-rich, low calorie foods may make it easier to cut calories without deprivation.

Overall the evidence indicates lettuce and other non-starchy vegetables can be an effective component of a weight loss diet. But lettuce alone is unlikely to lead to significant weight loss without also reducing overall calories. The best approach is a balanced diet focused on whole foods including lean proteins and healthy fats, along with an active lifestyle.

Downsides of Eating Lettuce for Weight Loss

While lettuce is great for reducing calories, there are some downsides to focusing on it too much for weight loss:

  • Low Protein and Fat – Lettuce lacks the protein and fat that provide lasting fullness and metabolic benefits.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies – Eating only lettuce could lead to deficiencies in protein, carbs, healthy fats, and other nutrients.
  • Lack of Cooking – The lack of cooked foods and their extra nutrients could become problematic long-term.
  • Lack of Variety – Focusing solely on lettuce could lead to boredom and lack of meal enjoyment.

To prevent potential issues, it’s best to include lettuce as part of a varied weight loss diet with plentiful vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats from foods like olive oil and avocado.

Healthiest Ways to Eat Lettuce

Here are some of healthiest ways to enjoy lettuce as part of your diet:

Salads with Lean Protein

Build salads with 2 cups shredded lettuce plus cubed chicken breast, salmon fillet, or plant-based proteins like chickpeas, edamame, or tofu. The protein provides staying power.

Lettuce Leaf Tacos

Swap taco shells for lettuce leaves and fill with lean ground turkey, shrimp, beans, and veggies for a lower calorie taco.

Lettuce Wraps

Use lettuce leaves instead of tortillas or buns for healthy wraps with turkey, chicken, tuna salad, egg salad, or hummus and crunchy veggies.

Veggie Lettuce Burgers

Place sautéed mushrooms, onions, and peppers between large lettuce leaves for a hearty lower calorie veggie burger.

Lettuce Topped Snacks

Top sliced apples, celery sticks, or rice cakes with lettuce, turkey, hummus, peanut butter, or tuna salad for extra nutrition.

Shredded Lettuce Bowls

Fill bowls made from shredded lettuce with chicken fried rice, chili, or soups for an edible holder.


To wrap up, 2 cups shredded lettuce contains about 16-18 calories and provides vitamins, minerals, fiber and water. While lettuce is very low in calories, focus on eating it with protein, healthy fats and other whole foods as part of a balanced diet for optimal nutrition. Lettuce can be a great addition to meals and snacks for a nutrition boost without excess calories.

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