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 prepared 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. To avoid losing track, pay close attention to the menu's portion sizes.

You can view Nando’s menu before you go. Evaluating options in advance will help you choose the meal that best suits your individual dietary needs and preferences. You can also use Nando’s nutrition information 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
Boneless Chicken Thigh (PERi-PERi Chicken) PERi-PERi Wings (PERi-PERi Chicken)
Chicken Breast Pita (Sandwiches, Wraps & Pitas) Nandoca’s Choice (Sandwiches, Wraps & Pitas)
Marinated Tomato, Halloumi, and Chicken Salad (Salads & Bowls) Pulled Chicken, Feta & Avo Bowl (Salads & Bowls)
Spicy Mixed Olives (Snacks & Shareables) Hummus with PERi Drizzle and Pita (Snacks & Shareables)
Mixed Leaf Side Salad (Sides) PERi Chips (Sides)
Naughty Natas (Dessert) Carrot Cake (Dessert)
Nandino Grilled Chicken Tenders (Nandinos) Nandino Chicken Breast Sandwich (Nandinos)
LaCroix sparkling water (Drinks) Rosé sangria (Drinks)

PERi-PERi Chicken

At the heart of the 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 a 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 when you place your order by using Nando’s “PERIometer.” Spice levels range from "Plain" to "Xtra Hot." In addition to taste, you may find it helpful to let the nutrition info of the marinade guide your choice. Extra calories and fat will be added to your meal depending on the amount and flavor of the marinade 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

✓ Boneless Chicken Thigh

The boneless chicken thigh ordered "plain…ish" comes in at 140 calories, 9g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrate, 13g protein, and 370mg 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.

While this dish is low in sodium, calories, and carbohydrates, it does deliver healthy protein. For additional nutritious options, try looking beyond the regular menu. You'll find smaller (and milder) options on the “snacks and shareables” and "Nandinos" kids' menus. For example, an order of plain grilled chicken tenders from the kids' menu is a mild choice with only 170 calories. 

✗ PERi-PERi Wings

The PERi-PERi wings, ordered "plain-ish," provide 950 calories, 65g fat, 16g saturated fat, 2g carbohydrates, 82g protein, and 1,790mg sodium per order of 12 wings. That's the smallest portion size on this section of the menu (the other option is 24 wings), but the Shareables section offers a 6-wing plate. That provides 470 calories, 33g fat, 0g carbohydrates, 41g protein, and 890mg 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.

✓ Chicken Breast Pita

The chicken breast pita offers 400 calories, 14g fat, 2g saturated fat, 49g carbohydrate, 40g protein, and 990mg sodium. Low in calories and fat, but packed with carbs and protein, this chicken pita makes for a flavorful and nutrient-dense meal.

✗ Nandoca’s Choice Sandwich

The Nandoca's choice ordered "plain-ish" comes in at 970 calories, 60g fat, 16g saturated fat, 43g carbohydrate, 62g protein, and 1,630mg sodium.

If you’re looking for a substantial sandwich but don’t want to add too many calories, the regular menu offers a sandwich made with chicken breast and packed with veggies for 530 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 & Bowls

Salads and bowls often seem like the obvious choice for a healthy meal when you’re dining out, but fast-food and restaurant salads are often served in large portions with lots of extras and dressings. The entrée salads and bowls easily provide a meal’s worth of calories (or more), 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 520 calories, 30g fat, 11g saturated fat, 21g carbohydrate, 47g protein, and 1,250g sodium. While it's high in sodium, this is the lowest-calorie and highest-protein salad option.

✗ Pulled Chicken, Feta & Avo Bowl

The pulled chicken, feta, and avocado bowl comes in at 890 calories, 47g fat, 8g saturated fat, 91g carbohydrate, 48g protein, and 2,070mg sodium.

Many Nando’s salads are actually higher in calories and fat than many meals on the chicken menu. Thanks to the dressing and toppings like feta cheese and croutons, many of these bowls are also higher in fat and sodium.

Snacks & Shareables

Nando's offers a small menu of snacks and shareables, which is the restaurant's appetizer selection. Here, you'll find garlic sticks, olives, hummus with pita or vegetables, and wings.

Spicy Mixed Olives

The lowest-calorie snack and shareable option is a single serving of spicy mixed olives. You'll consume 220 calories, 20g fat, 0g saturated fat, 7g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 2,050mg sodium with this item.

Hummus with PERi Drizzle and Pita

The hummus with PERi drizzle and pita provides 1,200 calories, 13g fat, 3g saturated fat, 150g carbohydrates, 33g protein, and 1,930. 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.

If you're craving the hummus, order it with vegetables instead of pita for 650 calories, 10g fat, 3g saturated fat, 42g carbohydrates, 13g protein, and 1,100mg sodium.

Sides

Nando’s also offers side dishes. While the choices are typically not as high in fat as fried 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.

✓ Mixed Leaf Side Salad

A small mixed leaf side salad has 50 calories, 8g fat, 0g saturated fat, 6g carbohydrates, <1g protein, and 140mg sodium (without dressing; the salad comes with balsamic dressing on the side, which adds 40 calories, 3g fat, and 170mg sodium).

A close second for the most nutritious side is the turmeric roasted cauliflower which comes in at 90 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 7g carbohydrate, 3g protein, and 105mg sodium.

✗ PERi Chips

The PERi chips—which is what Nando's calls its fries—are by far the most calorie-packed of the sides, with 1,200 calories, 69g fat, 8g saturated fat, 135g carbohydrates, 14g protein, and 3,960mg sodium per extra-large serving (you can also order a medium or large portion).

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 veggie-forward options or try the kids’ 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, offers 150 calories, 8g fat, 4g saturated fat, 17g carbohydrate, 10g sugar, 3g protein, and 105mg sodium. This classic tart, which includes a cinnamon sugar topping, can satisfy a sweet craving for relatively few calories.

✗ Carrot Cake

Nando's four-layer carrot cake provides 900 calories, 62g fat, 23g saturated fat, 80g carbohydrate, 56g sugar, 9g protein, and 760mg sodium.

If you're craving cake, consider the raspberry white chocolate cheesecake instead for 620 calories, 43g fat, 26g saturated fat, 49g carbohydrates, 33g sugar, 9g protein, 500mg sodium.

Nandinos

Nando's "Nandinos" menu features all of its options for young diners. The kids-sized portions include samples of some of the restaurant's most popular entrees, and all include the choice of one side (choose from apple slices, corn, coleslaw, fries, garlic bread, Portuguese rice, raw veggies, and mashed potatoes).

✓ Nandino Grilled Chicken Tenders

The grilled chicken tenders kids meal, served "plain-ish," includes 170 calories, 35g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrates, 34g protein, and 105g sodium. Choose the raw veggies side for an additional 45 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 10g carbohydrates, 1g protein, and 50mg sodium.

✗ Nandino Chicken Breast Sandwich

The highest-calorie Nandino meal is the chicken breast sandwich, which provides 410 calories, 15g fat, 3g saturated fat, 37g carbohydrates, 31g protein, and 800mg 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.

✓ 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, unsweetened Honest Tea, both of which offer hydration and flavor with 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, 0g protein, and 0mg sodium.

✗ Rosé Sangria

The rosé sangria, which is house-made with slices of peaches and mango and 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 alcoholic beverages can easily add hundreds of extra calories to your order. Consider ordering a smaller size or sticking with a zero-calorie option like water.

Diet-Specific Options

Compared to other fast-food restaurants, you’ll likely find several dishes 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 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, uses 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.

Low-Carb

If you're following a low-carb diet, order your Nando's chicken "plain...ish," as this is the lowest-carb marinade. Other menu options 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 (Nandinos menu)
  • Feta, avocado, and ancient grains wrap
  • Portabello mushroom and halloumi wrap
  • Naughty Natas, carrot cake, raspberry cheesecake, brownie

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

Vegan

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

  • Spicy mixed olives
  • Mixed green side salad
  • Spicy rice, garlic bread, PERi chips
  • 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.

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 Statement

“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.”

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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  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sodium in your diet.