Richard Benjamin Shannon, who was also seen putting salad leaves in his mouth and spitting them out, was arrested last year after a "disgusted" customer recognised the 22-year-old on the internet.
Shannon was arrested after the irate woman went to a branch of Subway in Brownhills, West Midlands, and hurled a chair at him, Walsall Magistrates' Court was told.
The defendant, of Castle Street, Brownhills, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to a single charge of contaminating or interfering with goods with intent to cause economic loss, alarm or injury.
He claimed the incident, filmed by a friend on a mobile phone early last year, had been a prank and that the lettuce - which went back into a tray used to make customers' sandwiches - had been discarded.
But magistrates' chairman Elizabeth Baugh, who viewed the footage of the offence, said it had caused great anxiety and distress.
She told Shannon: "Despite your previous good character, your actions merit a custodial sentence. However, due to your early guilty plea and the fact you have shown remorse for your actions, we are imposing a community order."
Shannon, who had faced a jail term of up to six months, was also ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work for the community.
The magistrate said: "Your actions caused great distress, not only to the public who consume this food, but also to the company. I think you have learnt a very, very serious lesson. You have been extremely lucky - you have caused a lot of harm and distress to a lot of people."
Defence solicitor Sheila Hicklin suggested the offence, prosecuted under miscellaneous provisions in the Public Order Act, was a sign of her client's immaturity and said the prosecution and surrounding media interest had a profound effect on Shannon, who is now unemployed.http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20090311/tuk-food-bar-worker-put-lettuce-up-nose-6323e80.html