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

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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. The menu is built around Nando’s special recipe for marinating chicken with African Bird’s Eye Chili, also known as peri-peri.

Grilled chicken is the cornerstone of Nando’s food. 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).

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.

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

Most Nutritious Options

  • 1/4 Chicken Leg & Thigh

  • Nandinos Chicken Breast Fillet Sandwich

  • Mixed Green Side Salad

  • Corn on the Cob

  • Naughty Natas

  • LaCroix

Least Nutritious Options

  • PERi-PERi Chicken Bowl

  • Nandoca’s Choice

  • Ancient Grains, PERi-Tomato, and Chicken Salad 

  • PERi-PERi Drizzle Hummus with Pita Bread

  • Four High Carrot Cake

  • Hot Chocolate

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.

Most Nutritious Option

¼ Chicken Leg and Thigh (Plainish)

163 calories, 11g fat, 3g saturated fat, 93 mg sodium, 0g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 15g protein

Least Nutritious Option

PERi-PERi Chicken Bowl (Extra Hot)

874 calories, 38g fat, 7g saturated fat, 1789 mg sodium, 84g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, and 43g protein

Try looking beyond the regular menu. You'll find smaller (and milder) options on the “appeteaser” and "Nandinos" kids' menu. For example, an order of plain Grilled Chicken Breast Strips from the kids' menu is a mild choice and only 148 calories. 

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.
  • Extra Hot: Adds 98 calories and 6g fat.

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 & 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.

Most Nutritious Option

Nandinos Chicken Breast Fillet Sandwich

367 calories, 3g fat, 0g saturated fat, 804 mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, and 38g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Nandoca’s Choice

1090 calories, 59g fat, 15g saturated fat, 1007 mg sodium, 58g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, and 75g protein

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.

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. They can easily provide a meal’s worth of calories, and salad dressing can be high in fat and added sugar.

Most Nutritious Option

Mixed Green Side Salad

123 calories, 0g fat, 1g saturated fat, 485 mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 8g sugar, and 2g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Ancient Grains, PERi Tomato and Chicken Salad (Extra Hot)

1058 calories, 67g fat, 10g saturated fat, 3.36 mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate, 12g sugar, and 56g protein

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.

Most Nutritious Option

Flame-Grilled Corn on the Cob

90 calories, 1g fat, 0g saturated fat, 14 mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 3g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Hummus with PERi-PERi Drizzle and Pita Bread

1194 calories, 56g fat, 5g saturated fat, 1743 mg sodium, 139g carbohydrate, 6g sugar, and 33g protein

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.

Most Nutritious Option

Naughty Natas

210 calories, 8g fat, 0g saturated fat, 68 mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 16g sugar, and 4g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Four High Carrot Cake

930 calories, 64g fat, 0g saturated fat, 600 mg sodium, 78g carbohydrate, 58g sugar, and 10g protein

While tasty, Nando’s dessert menu options only add calories, fat, and sugar to your meal without adding any 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.

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.

Most Nutritious Option

LaCroix Seltzer Water

0 calories, 0g fat, 0 mg sodium, 0g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 0g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Hot Chocolate

215 calories, 10g fat, 6g saturated fat, 276 mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 22g sugar, and 7g protein

Avoid sugary drinks like hot chocolate, 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.

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:

  • Coleslaw
  • PERi-PERi Drizzle
  • Spicy Mixed Olives
  • Mixed Green Side Salad
  • Fries and Mashed Potatoes
  • Feta and Grilled Halloumi Cheese
  • Chicken Thighs, Breast, and Wings
  • Avocado, Portobello Mushroom, Corn on the Cob

Low-carb

  • Spicy Mixed Olives
  • Lemon and Herb Basting
  • Grilled Halloumi Cheese
  • Mixed Greens Side Salad
  • Flame-Grilled Chicken Breast, Thighs, or Wings

Diabetes-friendly

  • Chicken Livers
  • Kids' Menu Coleslaw
  • Lemon and Herb Basting
  • Mixed Greens Side Salad
  • Flame-Grilled Chicken Breast, Thighs, or Wings

Low-fat

  • Chilli Jam
  • Kids' Side of Veggies
  • Mango Lime or Lemon and Herb Basting
  • Chicken Breast Fillet Sandwich, Grilled Chicken Breast Tenders (Plainish)
  • Corn on the Cob, Grilled Pineapple, Portuguese Roll (plain), Portobello Mushroom

Low-sodium

  • Lemon and Herb Basting
  • Flame-Grilled Chicken Breast
  • Naughty Natas, Coffee, Hot Tea, Iced Tea, Sparkling Water
  • Grilled Pineapple Slice, Avocado, Corn on the Cob, Coleslaw, Kids' Apple Slices or Side of Veggies

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 quite a different take on chicken than 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 marinade. 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).

While Nando’s is known for its PERi-PERi chicken, vegetarians, vegans, and those adhering to a special diet will find a number of options on the menu as well—just keep in mind that these veggie-packed meals aren’t necessarily lower in calories, and larger portions may be higher in calories, fat, and sodium than Nando’s chicken dishes.

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