What to choose from Nando’s if you want to lose weight?

What to choose from Nando’s if you want to lose weight?

Nando's has carved out a unique space in the global dining scene, known for its flame-grilled peri-peri chicken that has garnered a cult following. Originating from South Africa, the brand has expanded to over 30 countries, attesting to its massive popularity. The allure of Nando's lies not just in its spicy fare but also in its vibrant atmosphere, making it a go-to spot for those seeking both flavour and fun. Yet, in an era where health consciousness is at its peak, Nando's enthusiasts often find themselves at a crossroads, balancing the indulgence of a delicious meal with the virtues of healthy eating.

The Art of Healthy Eating Out

The modern diner is increasingly seeking options that cater to a nutritious lifestyle, even when eating out. This shift is reflected in the dining industry's response, with many establishments, including Nando's, offering healthier menu choices. According to a study by the National Restaurant Association, 76% of adults are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers healthful options. Dr. Alex, a nutrition expert, states, "The key to making healthy choices while dining out is to look for grilled options, opt for whole foods, and be mindful of portion sizes." At Nando's, this could mean selecting their quarter chicken with a side of grilled vegetables, a choice that marries flavour with nutrition.

Diet Choices and Weight Management

The connection between dietary choices and weight management is well-documented. Calories in versus calories out is the foundational principle of weight loss, and it is crucial to make informed decisions about the foods we consume. "Eating out doesn't have to mean abandoning your diet goals," advises Dr. Smith. "Being aware of the caloric content and nutritional profile of menu items can empower patrons to make choices that align with their weight loss objectives." Nando's, with its transparent nutritional information, allows diners to select meals that fit within their dietary frameworks.

Best Picks for Weight Loss at Nando’s

What to choose from Nando’s if you want to lose weight?

Selecting a healthy meal at Nando's that aligns with weight loss objectives involves prioritising dishes with high nutritional value while maintaining a lower calorie profile. “The key to a weight-loss-friendly meal at Nando’s, or any restaurant, is to focus on lean proteins, fibre-rich vegetables, and flavourful herbs and spices over calorie-dense foods,” advises Dr. Rebecca Frayn, a specialist in dietary health.

Grilled Chicken Options

Grilled chicken is a cornerstone of the Nando's menu and a stellar choice for those looking to reduce their calorie intake without sacrificing satisfaction. Opting for plain or spiced grilled chicken with low-calorie PERi-PERi sauce can impart intense flavour without unnecessary calories. Dr. Frayn states, “A plain chicken breast is a high-protein, low-fat option that provides satiety and muscle-supporting nutrients critical during weight loss.”

The portion sizes and their caloric values vary, with a quarter chicken breast being the most modest in terms of energy provision. It’s important to consider that “the skin of the chicken adds additional fat and calories, so removing the skin can make it an even leaner choice,” notes Dr. Frayn.

Salads and Vegetables

Salads and vegetables at Nando's can be deceptively calorie-laden, primarily due to dressings and toppings. However, there are healthiest salad choices available that eschew high-calorie dressings. A Mediterranean salad, for instance, without creamy dressings, can offer a nutrient-rich, low-calorie alternative. “Choosing salads with a variety of vegetables increases fibre intake, which can help in feeling full and managing weight,” suggests Dr. Frayn.

The best vegetable sides for a balanced meal include options such as chargrilled veg and sweet potato wedges. These sides are not only nutritious but also lower in calories compared to traditional sides like chips or garlic bread.

Customising Your Meal

Customising your meal is a proactive approach to align Nando's offerings with weight loss efforts. Requesting modifications such as no butter or sauce on the side allows for control over calorie intake. Dr. Frayn encourages diners to “be specific about their needs when ordering, as this can significantly reduce the calorie content of the meal.”

Swapping out high-calorie sides for healthier alternatives is a further step in meal customisation for weight reduction. “Opt for mixed leaf salad instead of chips, or a corn cobette instead of coleslaw,” Dr. Frayn recommends, highlighting simple swaps that can make a considerable difference in overall calorie consumption.

Is Nando’s Okay for Weight Loss?

What to choose from Nando’s if you want to lose weight?

Nando’s, with its flame-grilled peri-peri chicken, has become a cult favourite. But is it compatible with weight loss? The answer is nuanced. Dr. Laura Jeffries, a weight management specialist, advises, “Nando’s, like any restaurant, offers a range of options. Selecting leaner cuts of chicken and pairing them with healthier sides like salad or mixed vegetables can fit within a weight loss plan.”

Nando’s provides nutritional information for its offerings, allowing diners to make choices that align with their calorie deficit goals. For example, opting for a quarter chicken breast without skin significantly reduces fat and calorie intake compared to other menu items. This strategic approach to dining aligns with the findings of a study in the 'International Journal of Obesity', which suggests that informed menu choices can facilitate weight loss even when eating out.

Incorporating Nando’s or similar restaurants into a weight loss diet requires a strategic approach, focusing on portion control and the nutritional quality of the meals chosen. As Dr. Jeffries concludes, “A calorie deficit remains paramount, and within that framework, there is room for flexibility and the enjoyment of a diverse range of foods.”

Selecting from Nando's for Weight Loss

For those aiming to lose weight, the choices made at the dining table are significant. When visiting Nando's, the objective should be to enjoy the rich flavours while also selecting options that support weight loss goals. This can be achieved by prioritising dishes that are high in protein, low in simple carbohydrates, and full of fibre. A strategic choice might be the Butterfly Chicken Breast, which is high in protein and low in fat. Pairing this with a leafy green side salad instead of chips can further enhance the meal's weight loss-friendly profile. As nutritionist Lisa James remarks, "Such combinations ensure you're satisfied, without the extra calories."

Understanding Calorie Deficit

The crux of weight loss centres on the principle of a calorie deficit—a straightforward concept that underpins the most complex of diets. To elucidate, a calorie deficit occurs when one expends more calories through daily activities and bodily functions than one consumes through food and drink. Dr. Helena Smith, a renowned nutritionist, explains, “Weight loss is fundamentally about the balance of energy. Calories are a measure of that energy, and consuming fewer than you burn is essential for weight loss.”

Statistics reinforce the efficacy of this approach. For instance, a study published in the 'Journal of Clinical Nutrition' found that participants who maintained a calorie deficit lost an average of 8% of their body weight over six months. This underscores the significance of understanding and implementing a calorie deficit for those aiming to shed pounds.

The composition of one's diet in achieving a calorie deficit cannot be overstated. Each macronutrient—proteins, carbohydrates, and fats—plays a distinctive role. Proteins, for example, are pivotal for muscle repair and can aid in satiety, potentially reducing overall calorie intake. Meanwhile, carbohydrates provide energy, and fats are essential for hormone production and nutrient absorption. Dr. Oliver Thompson, a dietitian, advises, “A balanced intake of macronutrients is crucial, even when in a calorie deficit, to ensure the body functions optimally.”

The Role of Macronutrients in Dieting

Dieting, especially when aiming for weight loss, must be approached with a keen understanding of macronutrients. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle and are essential for repair and growth. Carbohydrates are the body's main energy source, while fats play vital roles in hormone production and cell structure. “Macronutrients are not just about energy but are crucial for maintaining body functions and overall health,” states Dr. Amy Patel, a leading expert in metabolic health.

A macronutrient-focused diet can aid in creating a sustainable calorie deficit. For instance, increasing protein intake can boost metabolism and reduce appetite, leading to a natural reduction in calorie consumption. This is supported by statistics from the 'National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey', which indicate that higher protein diets are associated with greater satiety and subsequent weight loss.

Moreover, the quality of macronutrients is as important as the quantity. Complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats are generally more beneficial than their simple and saturated counterparts. Dr. Patel adds, “The type of macronutrients consumed can influence cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, and even cognitive function.”

Restaurant Food and Weight Loss Goals

The dining-out experience, while a delightful societal tradition, presents a conundrum for weight loss efforts. Restaurant meals often contain higher calorie counts and larger portions than home-cooked meals. Dr. Simon Clarke, a public health expert, notes, “Eating out can introduce a plethora of hidden calories, making it challenging for individuals to maintain a calorie deficit.”

Statistics from the 'British Nutrition Foundation' reveal that individuals tend to consume 200-300 more calories per meal when eating out. This is due in part to the use of high-calorie ingredients and cooking methods prevalent in restaurants.

However, it is not impossible to enjoy restaurant fare while pursuing weight loss. Dr. Clarke suggests, “By making informed choices, such as opting for grilled over fried foods, and being mindful of portion sizes, one can enjoy the social aspect of dining out without derailing diet efforts.”

Nando's Nutritional Profile

What to choose from Nando’s if you want to lose weight?

The nutritional landscape of Nando's menu is as varied as its flavour profiles. Nando's, famed for its peri-peri chicken, offers a menu that can cater to a range of dietary preferences, from low-carb diets to high-protein regimens. “Nando’s offers more than just a meal; it provides a diverse array of nutritional options that can be tailored to fit into various diet plans,” states Dr. Sarah Hughes, a nutritionist with a focus on dietary patterns.

The general nutritional information about Nando's menu showcases a spectrum of choices. For those tracking macronutrient intake, the menu items can vary significantly in protein, fat, and carbohydrate content. This can be a boon for individuals seeking to maintain a balanced diet while enjoying the flavours Nando's is known for. A study from the 'British Journal of Nutrition' indicates that a diet with varied macronutrient sources can be beneficial for long-term health and weight maintenance.

Caloric Content of Nando’s Meals

When dissecting the caloric content of Nando’s meals, it’s essential to delve into the specifics. A standard Nando’s meal can range widely in calories. A typical meal consisting of a quarter chicken, regular sides, and a drink can amount to approximately 600 to 800 calories. However, Dr. Martin Lloyd, a dietician and author on eating out healthily, advises, “Calorie content is just part of the picture; it’s also important to consider the source of these calories and the nutritional value they provide.”

A detailed caloric breakdown of common Nando’s dishes reveals the disparity between different meal choices. For instance, a single chicken wing contains about 80 calories, whereas a chicken pita can contain upwards of 400 calories. This exemplifies the importance of understanding individual menu items’ caloric values in maintaining a balanced diet.

High-Calorie vs. Low-Calorie Options

The dichotomy between high-calorie and low-calorie options at Nando's is stark, offering a stratagem for both indulgence and moderation. The high-calorie offerings often include items like the Thigh Burger or the Wing Roulette, laden with rich sauces and served with more calorific sides such as chips. On the flip side, Dr. Alice Bennett, a clinical nutritionist, suggests, “Opting for plain chicken breasts with a side of chargrilled vegetables can provide a satisfying yet lower-calorie meal option.”

Navigating Nando's menu requires an understanding of the caloric density of its various options. For instance, the 'Nutrition Journal' reports that swapping out creamy or oily sides for grilled vegetables or salads can drastically reduce the calorie count of a meal, making it more conducive to weight loss.

Understanding the Menu: ‘PERi-ometer’ for Heat Levels

Nando's unique 'PERi-ometer' measures the heat levels of its dishes, ranging from Plain...ish to Extra Hot. While the heat level itself does not significantly affect the nutritional content, the sauces and marinades associated with these heat levels can. “The PERi-ometer is a guide to flavour rather than nutrition, though some of the hotter sauces contain slightly more sugar and calories,” notes Dr. Hughes.

The nutritional implications of the 'PERi-ometer' are nuanced. While the extra heat doesn’t equate to extra calories directly, Dr. Lloyd points out, “People might consume more of the higher-calorie drinks or sides to offset the heat, which can inadvertently increase calorie intake.” It’s a reminder that the overall meal composition, rather than individual components, dictates the nutritional profile.

Understanding Nando's nutritional offerings is integral to making informed choices that align with one's dietary goals. Whether maintaining a calorie deficit or simply enjoying a balanced diet, the diversity of Nando's menu can accommodate a wide array of nutritional needs. With careful selection, Nando's can certainly find a place within a health-conscious lifestyle.

Foods to Avoid or Consume in Moderation

In the journey towards weight loss, certain foods act as obstacles when consumed in excess. Dr. Ian Campbell, a general practitioner with a special interest in weight management, warns, “High-calorie sauces and marinades, often rich in sugars and fats, can covertly add significant calorie load to meals.” It's essential to either avoid these or use them sparingly.

Fried items and high-fat sides are also on the list of foods to approach with caution. While they are tempting, these foods are typically high in trans fats and calories, which can hinder weight loss efforts. “Choosing grilled options over fried is a simple yet effective way to cut down on fat and calorie intake,” advises Dr. Campbell.

High-sugar drinks and desserts present a similar problem. They can be high in calories without providing satiety or nutritional benefit. “Liquid calories, particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages, can contribute to weight gain and interfere with weight loss,” states Dr. Campbell. Opting for water, herbal teas, or sugar-free drinks can help avoid these extra calories.

Tips for Navigating the Menu

Navigating a restaurant menu can be akin to deciphering a complex code where certain terms can indicate hidden calories. “Words like ‘crispy,’ ‘breaded,’ ‘creamy,’ or ‘battered’ usually signify a higher calorie content due to the cooking methods or ingredients used,” explains Dr. Campbell.

Portion control is another critical aspect of managing calorie intake. “Often, restaurant portions are larger than what we would typically consume at home, so being mindful of how much we eat is just as important as what we eat,” Dr. Campbell notes. He suggests asking for half-portions or setting aside a part of the meal to take home can be effective strategies.

The impact of add-ons and customisations can be substantial. Dr. Campbell remarks, “While customising meals can lead to healthier choices, adding certain extras like cheese or bacon can unintentionally increase the calorie content.” Being selective and strategic about add-ons is crucial for those watching their caloric intake.

Comparing Fast Food Options: Nando’s vs. McDonald's

When it comes to selecting healthier fast food options, the choice between Nando's and McDonald's can be quite stark, with each establishment offering a unique nutritional profile that caters to different dietary needs and preferences.

Nando's, known for its peri-peri chicken, presents a menu with options that can be quite accommodating for a healthier diet, especially if one is looking to maintain a high-protein and low-fat diet. For instance, the quarter chicken portion at Nando's is listed as having just under 300 calories, and the chicken breast meat is leaner, making it a suitable option for those who are calorie-conscious. Furthermore, Nando's offers a variety of sides and salads that can help in creating a balanced meal with a focus on vegetables and lean proteins​.

On the other hand, McDonald's menu is diverse and includes a wide range of items from breakfast options to beefburgers, chicken and fish items, wraps, and sides. Their nutritional information shows that while there are some lower-calorie options available, many of their popular items like beefburgers and milkshakes can be high in calories, fats, and sugars, which might not be conducive to weight loss or a health-focused diet. For example, a Big Mac contains 508 calories, 25g of fat, and 9g of sugar, and a medium chocolate milkshake contains 376 calories, 8.2g of fat, and 49g of sugar. Additionally, the high level of sugar in most soft drinks and desserts at McDonald's could contribute to a higher calorie intake.

The key to choosing healthier options at fast food establishments lies in understanding the nutritional information provided and making informed decisions based on one's dietary goals. For weight loss or maintaining a healthy diet, grilled chicken options like those at Nando's may be preferable due to their lower calorie and higher protein content. However, it's important to consider the preparation methods and additional ingredients like sauces and dressings, which can add hidden calories and fats.

In terms of creating a balanced meal, both Nando's and McDonald's offer salads and sides that can complement a main dish well. It's advisable to opt for sides like salads or vegetables instead of fried items and to be cautious of dressings and sauces which can significantly increase the caloric content of the meal.

Making Informed Choices

Making informed choices at Nando's, or any restaurant, is crucial for those mindful of their dietary intake. Nando's provides a nutritional calculator and an app that can be pivotal tools for planning ahead. By using these resources, individuals can tailor their meal selections to fit their nutritional goals before they even step into the restaurant.

Considering meal frequency and total daily caloric intake is also essential. It's not just about what you eat in one meal but how it fits into your entire day's nutrition. A single high-calorie meal can often consume a significant portion of an individual's daily caloric needs, so it's important to plan the rest of the day's meals accordingly.

Balancing meal choices with physical activity is the other side of the health coin. Engaging in regular physical activity not only burns calories but also builds muscle, which in turn can increase metabolic rate. It's a synergistic approach where diet and exercise work together to achieve optimal health and fitness goals.


Choosing weight loss-friendly options at Nando's is about selecting lean proteins, such as grilled chicken, opting for salads and veggies over high-calorie sides, and using the nutritional calculator to make informed decisions. Mindful eating, which includes considering the frequency of meals and total daily caloric intake, along with balancing meals with physical activity, can lead to sustainable lifestyle changes. Maintaining a healthy diet while enjoying restaurant food is entirely possible with careful planning and smart choices. It's about finding the balance that allows for enjoyment without compromising health goals.

Share article
1 of 4
1 of 4
Get 10% off your first order

Plus get the inside scoop on our latest content and updates in our monthly newsletter.