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

Nando's

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Nando’s PERi-PERi Chicken, often just called Nando’s, is a fast-food restaurant inspired by traditional Portuguese food. 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.

While marinades make for juicy, flavorful chicken, they can also contribute calories and a lot of sodium. If you choose to eat here often, make sure to balance your meals with healthy vegetables and whole grains. When choosing your menu items, which range anywhere from $10 to $15 per meal, remember that most chicken dishes on the Nando's 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 nutrition guide. Evaluating options before you go will help you choose the meal that best suits your individual dietary needs and preferences. You can also use Nando’s online nutrition calculator to get an estimate of the calorie, fat, carbohydrate, sugar, sodium, and protein content of your order.

What to Order & Avoid at Nando's
Most Nutritious Options  Least Nutritious Options
Quarter chicken leg & thigh (Mains) PERi-PERi chicken bowl (Mains)
Nandinos chicken breast fillet sandwich (Sandwiches, Pitas, & Wraps) Nandoca’s choice (Sandwiches, Pitas, & Wraps)
Marinated tomato, halloumi, and chicken salad (Salads) Ancient grains, PERi-tomato, and chicken salad (Salads)
Flame-grilled corn on the cob (Appetizers & Sides) PERi-PERi drizzle hummus with pita bread (Appetizers & Sides)
Naughty natas (Dessert) Carrot cake (Dessert)
LaCroix sparkling water (Beverages) 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.

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.

Nando's PERIometer

  • 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

Quarter Chicken Leg & Thigh

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

While this dish is low in sodium, calories, and carbohydrates, it does deliver in healthy protein. For additional nutritious 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. 

PERi-PERi Chicken Bowl

The PERi-PERi chicken bowl "Xtra Hot" provides 787 calories, 38g fat, 7g saturated fat, 84g carbohydrate, 43g protein, and 1,789mg sodium.

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.

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.

Nandinos Chicken Breast Fillet Sandwich

The Nandino chicken breast fillet sandwich offers 367 calories, 3g fat, 0g saturated fat, 42g carbohydrate, 38g protein, and 804mg sodium. Low in calories and fat, but packed with carbs and protein, this kids menu-sized chicken sandwich makes for a flavorful and nutrient-dense meal.

Nandoca’s Choice Sandwich

The Nandocas' choice ordered "Xtra Hot" comes in at 1,003 calories, 53g fat, 15g saturated fat, 52g carbohydrate, 75g protein, and 1,006mg sodium.

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

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.

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.

Marinated Tomato, Halloumi, and Chicken Salad

The heirloom tomato, halloumi, and chicken salad ordered "Plain...ish" offers 587 calories, 23g fat, 11g saturated fat, 28g carbohydrate, 49g protein, and 1,094g sodium. While it's high in sodium, this salad is the lowest-calorie and highest-protein salad option.

Ancient Grains, PERi-Tomato, and Chicken Salad

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

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.

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.

Flame-Grilled Corn on the Cob

A regular serving of the flame-grilled corn on the cob provides 90 calories, 1g fat, 0g saturated fat, 17g carbohydrate, 3g protein, and 14mg sodium. This simple side is available seasonally, so note that it may not be available year-round.

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.

PERi-PERi Drizzle Hummus with Pita Bread

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 carbohydrates, 33g protein, and 1,743mg of sodium. With calorie and nutrient counts that make this dish more of a main than an appetizer or side, consider splitting it with a friend or saving half for later.

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.

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.

Naughty Natas

The naughty natas, a traditional Portuguese tart, offer 210 calories, 8g fat, 0g saturated fat, 30g carbohydrate, 16g sugar, 4g protein, and 68mg sodium. This classic tart, which includes a cinnamon sugar topping, can satisfy a sweet craving for a relatively low-calorie intake.

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

Carrot Cake

Nando's four high carrot cake provides 930 calories, 64g fat, 26g saturated fat, 78g carbohydrate, 58g sugar, 10g protein, and 600mg sodium.

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.

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.

LaCroix Sparkling Water

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.

Rosé Sangria

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 219 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 31g carbs, 0g protein, and 20mg sodium.

When treating yourself to a Nando's meal, remember that sugary drinks like soda, lemonade, and Nando’s menu of alcoholic beverages, can easily add hundreds of extra calories to your order. Consider ordering a smaller size or sharing with a friend.

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

For a gluten-free dish, order the chicken breast strips with a side of corn on the cob or a mixed green side salad for a full meal.

Low-Carb

Nando's does not have a ton of low-carb options to choose from, so if you're following a low-carb diet, keep in mind that there isn't much that you can eat.

Low-carb options at Nando's include:

  • 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)

Mix and match appetizers to put together a low-carb meal at Nando's. Combine the PERi-PERi wings, prepared plain...ish, with the grilled halloumi cheese, and a mixed greens side salad.

Vegetarian

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

  • 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

Pair a veggie burger with a feta, avocado, and chickpea salad for a veggie-packed and nutritious dish.

Vegan

Vegans, meanwhile, can enjoy several other meat-free dishes at Nando's, including:

  • 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

When ordering from the vegan menu, opt for the mixed green side salad with avocado, portobello mushroom, and corn on the cob.

Nando’s uses 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. If you have a food allergy, you should always exercise caution when dining out at Nando's.

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.

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

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).

Was this page helpful?