What to Eat at Nando's: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

chicken on a grill
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Nando’s PERi-PERi Chicken, often just called Nando’s, is a fast-food restaurant with a global presence. In the United States, Nando’s has locations in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Illinois.

While it is fast food, Nando’s inspiration comes from traditional Portuguese food, so don't expect the typical burger-and-fries meal. The menu is built around Nando’s special recipe for marinating chicken with African Bird’s Eye Chili, also known as peri-peri. The chicken is marinated for 24 hours, then basted and grilled to order. While marinades make for juicy, flavorful chicken, they can also contribute calories and a lot of sodium.

Nando’s recipe, however, is different from most fast-food fare; most chicken dishes on its menu are actually lower in sodium compared to similar eateries (though still higher in calories than plain chicken).

What Experts Say

“Nando’s offers vegan and vegetarian options as well as a variety of whole grain and veggie-inclusive dishes. While there are plenty of nutritious menu items to satisfy a variety of tastes, the sodium levels are high for most dishes. Make sure you opt for lower sodium dishes at other meals to help balance your intake if you eat here regularly.”

Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Navigating the Menu

While there are many healthy options to choose from Nando’s, large servings mean calories can easily add up when you're dining out. To avoid losing track, pay close attention to the menu's portion sizes.

You can view and download a PDF of Nando’s menu before you go, as well as a separate chart containing all the relevant nutrition information. Evaluating options before you go will help you choose the meal that best suits your individual dietary needs and preferences.

You can even use Nando’s online nutrition calculator to get an estimate of the calorie, fat, carbohydrate, sugar, sodium, and protein content of your order.

Most Nutritious Options

  • Quarter chicken leg & thigh (Mains)

  • Nandinos chicken breast fillet sandwich (Sandwiches, Pitas, & Wraps)

  • Heirloom tomato, halloumi, and chicken salad (Salads)

  • Corn on the cob (Appetizers & Sides)

  • Naughty natas (Dessert)

  • LaCroix sparkling water (Beverages)

Least Nutritious Options

  • PERi-PERi chicken bowl (Mains)

  • Nandoca’s choice (Sandwiches, Pitas, & Wraps)

  • Ancient grains, PERi-tomato, and chicken salad (Salads)

  • PERi-PERi drizzle hummus with pita bread (Appetizers & Sides)

  • Four high carrot cake (Dessert)

  • Rosé sangria (Beverages)

Mains (PERi-PERi Chicken)

At the heart of its menu is Nando’s spicy PERi-PERi Chicken. It's also one of the most customizable items in terms of taste and serving size. Unless you're getting food for group or party, stick to the single-serve options and avoid platters. With multiple servings packaged into one order, it's harder to determine the nutritional content of a single portion.

Nando’s chicken is grilled with the skin, but if you want to reduce the calories and fat of your meal even more, remove the skin before diving in.

You'll decide on your preferred level of spice (and therefore marinade) when you place your order by using Nando’s “PERIometer.” In addition to taste, you may find it helpful to let the nutrition info of the basting guide your choice. Extra calories and fat will be added to your meal depending on the amount and flavor of the basting you choose.

  • Plain...ish: The mildest option available, grilled with no added spice
  • Mango and Lime: Adds 29 calories and 1g fat
  • Lemon and Herb: Adds 44 calories and 1g fat
  • Medium: Adds 29 Calories and 2g fat
  • Hot: Adds 49 calories and 3g fat
  • Xtra Hot: Adds 98 calories and 6g fat

Most Nutritious Option

The quarter (1/4) chicken leg and thigh ordered "Plain…ish" comes in at 163 calories, 11g fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, 15g protein, and 93mg sodium.

For more options, try looking beyond the regular menu. You'll find smaller (and milder) options on the “appeteaser” and "Nandinos" kids' menus. For example, an order of plain grilled chicken breast strips from the kids' menu is a mild choice with only 148 calories. 

Least Nutritious Option

The PERi-PERi chicken bowl "Xtra Hot" provides 874 calories, 38g fat, 7g saturated fat, 84g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, 43g protein, and 1,789 mg sodium.

Sandwiches, Pitas, & Wraps

Nando’s also offers an array of pitas and wraps made with grilled chicken. You’ll also find some meatless options, including a veggie burger, roasted veggie wrap, and portobello mushroom with halloumi wrap.

But you won’t necessarily save calories by choosing a meat-free sandwich or wrap: Nando’s vegetarian wraps and pitas have just as many calories (if not more) than the regular sandwiches. Without the chicken, they also don’t offer as much protein.

Most Nutritious Option

The Nandino chicken breast fillet sandwich offers 367 calories, 3g fat, 0g saturated fat, 42g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, 38g protein, and 804mg sodium.

If you’re looking for a more substantial sandwich than what you’ll find on the kids’ menu, but don’t want to add too many more calories, the regular menu offers a pita made with chicken breast and packed with veggies for 426 calories.

Least Nutritious Option

The Nandocas' choice ordered "Xtra Hot" comes in at 1,090 calories, 59g fat, 15g saturated fat, 58g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, 75g protein, and 1,007mg sodium.

Salads

Salads often seem like the obvious choice for a healthy meal when you’re dining out, but fast-food salads and those created at restaurants are often served in large portions with lots of extras and dressings. The entrée salads easily provide a meal’s worth of calories, and salad dressing can be high in fat and added sugar.

With the exception of a simple side or meatless Caeser salad, Nando’s salads are actually higher in calories and fat than many meals on the chicken menu. Doused in dressing and topped with extras like feta cheese and croutons, many salads are also higher in fat and sodium.

Most Nutritious Option

The heirloom tomato, halloumi, and chicken salad ordered "Plain...ish" offers 587 calories, 28g fat, 11g saturated fat, 32g carbohydrate, 16g sugar, and 1,284g sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

The ancient grains, PERi tomato, and chicken salad ordered "Xtra Hot" comes in at 1,058 calories, 67g fat, 10g saturated fat, 51g carbohydrate, 12g sugar, 56g protein, and 3.36mg sodium.

Appetizers & Sides

Nando’s also offers “appeteasers” and sides. While the choices go beyond standard fast-food fare, sides like red skin mashed potato, Portuguese rice, garlic bread, and mayo-based coleslaw are still high in starchy carbs and add avoidable calories to your meal.

Most Nutritious Option

A regular serving of the flame-grilled corn on the cob provides 90 calories, 1g fat, 0g saturated fat, 17g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, 3g protein, and 14mg sodium.

A close second for the most nutritious side is the mixed green side salad which comes in at 123 calories, 0g fat, 1g saturated fat, 11g carbohydrate, 8g sugar, 2g protein, and 485mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

Surprisingly, the hummus with PERi-PERi drizzle and pita bread ordered "Xtra Hot" is by far the most calorie-packed of the sides with 1,194 calories, 56g fat, 5g saturated fat, 139g carbohydrate, 6g sugar, 33g protein, and 1,743 mg sodium.

Menu Tip

Forgoing extra sides or appetizers is an easy way to avoid adding extra calories to your meal. However, if your main dish isn’t enough to satisfy your hunger and you want to round out your meal with a little something more, look to the kids’ menu instead of the regular menu. You can order half an ear of corn on the cob for 45 calories or a side of veggies for just 28 calories.

Desserts

Nando’s doesn’t offer many options for sweets, but its limited dessert menu ranges quite a bit in nutrition. The lowest calorie option is a traditional Portuguese sweet, but Nando’s also offers its own take on classics like brownies and cheesecake.

While tasty, Nando’s dessert menu options only add calories, fat, and sugar to your meal without adding valuable nutrition. If you are going to have a treat, split with a friend to keep your portion small.

If you want a little something extra that’s naturally sweet, consider grabbing some apple slices from the kids’ menu for 123 calories and 22g sugar.

Most Nutritious Option

The naughty natas, a traditional Portuguese tart, offer 210 calories, 8g fat, 0g saturated fat, 30g carbohydrate, 16g sugar, 4g protein, and 68mg sodium.

Some locations also offer Dole whip which comes in with 180 calories, 0g fat, 42g carbohydrate, 40g sugar, 0g protein, and 20mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

Nando's four high carrot cake provides 930 calories, 64g fat, 0g saturated fat, 78g carbohydrate, 58g sugar, 10g protein, and 600mg sodium.

Beverages

You’ll find a small selection of hot and cold drinks at Nando’s, including LaCroix sparkling water, tea, and coffee which add zero calories to your meal. Nando's also offers alcoholic beverages including sangria, spiked lemonade, beer, and wine.

Most Nutritious Option

As always, good old water is the healthiest option when it comes to drinks, but if you're in the mood for something a little more, consider LaCroix Seltzer Water or fresh-brewed Honest Tea both of which offer hydration and flavor with 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, 0g protein, 0mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

The rosé sangria, which is house-made with slices of peaches and mango with a splash of Schnapps, provides the most calories per serving among the beverage list at 218 calories.

When treating yourself to a Nando's meal, try to avoid sugary drinks like soda, lemonade, and Nando’s menu of alcoholic beverages, all of which can easily add hundreds of extra calories to your order.

Diet-Specific Options

Compared to other fast-food restaurants, you’ll likely find several options to enjoy on the Nando’s menu even if you’re adhering to a special diet. Nando's offers choices for gluten-free, low-carb, and vegetarian diets, but offers little for people following a low-sodium or low-FODMAP diet.

Reviewing the nutrition information and ingredients lists beforehand will prepare to you customize your order not just in accordance with your tastes, but any specific dietary needs you may have.

Gluten-Free

Many items on Nando’s menu are gluten-free, however, the restaurant itself is not free from gluten and wheat-containing ingredients. Nando’s online menu, as well as those printed and available in-store, use icons to identify which menu items do not contain gluten.

Gluten-free options at Nando’s may include:

  • Chicken breast strips
  • Grilled drumstick & thigh
  • PERi-PERi wings
  • Flame-grilled corn on the cob
  • Macho peas
  • Mixed green side salad

Low-Carb

  • Spicy mixed olives (4g carbs)
  • Lemon and herb basting (1g carbs)
  • Grilled halloumi cheese (1g carbs)
  • Mixed greens side salad (11g carbs)
  • PERi-PERi wings plain..ish (1g carbs)

Vegetarian & Vegan

While Nando’s prominently features its special chicken, it also offers some options for vegetarian and vegan customers.

Vegan options at Nando's include:

  • PERi-PERi nuts
  • Spicy mixed olives
  • Mixed green side salad
  • Spicy rice, garlic bread, fries
  • Hummus with PERi-PERi drizzle
  • Pineapple, avocado, portobello mushroom, corn on the cob

In addition to the vegan-friendly menu items, vegetarians can also enjoy several other meat-free dishes at Nando's, including:

  • Garlic sticks
  • Veggie burger
  • Mixed green side salad
  • Feta, avocado, and chickpea salad
  • Grilled cheese sandwich (Kids' Menu)
  • Feta, avocado, and ancient grains wrap
  • Portabello mushroom and halloumi wrap
  • Naughty natas, four high carrot cake, raspberry cheesecake, barely baked brownie

Remember: Nando’s does use a lot of animal products to create its menu, so there’s always a chance the ingredients used to make your meal have come into contact with these products during storage or prep.

Food Allergies and Safety

Nando’s menu contains many common food allergens, including milk, eggs, meat, wheat, gluten, soy, sesame, peanuts, and tree nuts.

Nando’s Food Allergy FAQ

“We want to make sure everyone can enjoy their Nando's experience with us. In every restaurant, we have a 'Food Allergy and Nutritional information' book, which tells you all the ingredients in every product we have (it's a pretty big book!). If you do have an allergy, please let us know when you order so we can make double sure your meal is prepared with the utmost care to minimize cross-contamination.”

Nando’s UK

Always exercise caution when dining out of you have a food allergy. Even if you order a menu item that does not contain an allergen, cross-contamination is still a risk. Ingredients that do not contain an allergen may be produced, transported, and stored near allergen-containing ingredients or prepared using shared equipment.

A Word From Verywell

Nando’s offers a different take on chicken compared to most fast-food restaurants. You can customize the nutrition of your meal by selecting different portion sizes, and since Nando’s chicken is basted and grilled to order, you can also control how many calories of your meal come from the chain’s famous spicy marinades. Nando’s also offers sides, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. While these can add a lot of extra calories and fat to your meal, you can choose smaller sizes (such as those found on the kids’ menu).

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