Ordering a cheeky Nandos this weekend? The restaurant chain is home to Peri Peri fries, extra hot half chickens and a carnival of hummus-slathered pitta bread, bean burgers and halloumi options - that's not to mention the rumoured superstar fans like Oprah Winfrey and confirmed lover of their wraps T-swift, who can't get enough of the chain either.
With so much on offer, it can be peri hard to navigate, especially if you’re trying to make the most nutritious choices. Is it better to skip the bun for the pitta? Opt for plant-based rather than meat-heavy? Or swerve the flame-grill altogether for a super green salad?
WH has got the answers.
Prep yourself with the menu options a nutritionist would go for from the Nandos menu, and more importantly, why. Fads aside, Jenna Hope (@JennaHopeNutrition), an Association For Nutrition registered nutritionist (MSc), guides you through the Nandos menu the healthy way.
Stack your plate high with healthy choices.
16 things a nutritionist would order from Nandos
1. Hummus with Peri Peri Drizzle
815 calories | 32.6g fat | 103.8g carbs | 25g protein
'The first thing I'd order from the Nandos healthiest options is this hummus,' says Hope. 'A third of the serving can provide you with 10% of your daily fibre requirement, and fibre also contributes to a healthy gut function which can influence weight maintenance, mental health, mood and even sleep.'
'Hummus is also high in healthy fats from the tahini and olive oil required for brain function. The tahini is a source of plant-based iron and which also makes it a go-to for vegans and veggies.'
2. Assortment of crudites
'Whilst the hummus offers a portion of heart-healthy fats, bear in mind it is a fairly large portion and contains around 800 calories.'
'A nice trick is to share with those you're dining with, and ask for veggie sticks such as carrots and cucumber instead of the pitta as another way to pack in your 5-a-day. You can never go wrong with veggies. They're hydrating and packed full of vitamins and minerals.'
3. Spicy mixed olives
138 calories | 13.5g fat | 4.7g carbs | 1.2g protein
'These are the perfect sharing dish to take the edge off before a big meal. Starters aren’t always necessary and they can sometimes lead us to over eat, although these are a happy medium. Olives are also high in Vitamin E which is essential for supporting a healthy immune function.'
4. Chicken liver and Portuguese roll
556 cals | 21.3g fat | 50.1g carbohydrates | 39.5g protein
We're chuffed to see this favourite back on the menu - as is Hope.
'This dish contains 39.5g of protein which is important for supporting muscle health, hormone function and energy production,' she explains. 'It’s also low in sugar too. Typically chicken liver is a rich source of Vitamin A which is important for supporting eye health and immune function.'
A word of warning though: pregnant women should avoid liver due to a risk of Vitamin A toxicity.
5. Quinoa and PERI-Tomato salad
523 calories | 29.9g fat | 50.7g carbohydrates | 13g protein
Aka, a bowl of vegetables and grains bursting with flavour and fibre. Hope says: 'Opt for the quinoa salad as it’s jam-packed with vegetables to contribute towards your 5-a-day.
The quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids which are required to generate and repair muscles, tissues and cells, so it’s great for pre-or post- workout.
But, be mindful: salads aren't always nutrient-dense. Hope explains: 'Be mindful when ordering salads that the sauces are quite high in sugar and salt, so you may want to ask for them on the side.'
'If you’re vegan, ask for the salad minus the feta and you’ve got a meal offering a full amino acid, which is often something vegans find hard.'
6. Rainbow bowl
521 calories | 27.9g fat | 50.2g carbs | 15.9g protein
'This rainbow bowl is rich in a variety of plant based foods including: mixed grains, hummus, seeds, broccoli, slaw and more. It also contains 12.2g of fibre which is over a third of the recommended daily intake.'
'This plant variety is brilliant for feeding a wide range of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The dish also contains 15.9g of protein and is a source of healthy fats too making it a well-balanced and nutritious option.' Sounds delicious.
7. Beanie wrap
689 calories | 27.3g fat | 82.3g carbs | 21.5g protein
Vegetarian but dining at Nandos with friends? There are still lots of healthy options for you to choose from—Hope would opt for the beanie wrap.
'This wrap really packs in a range of plant-based fibres, it’s loaded with chickpeas, peas, lentils, sweetcorn and pumpkin seeds. The total dish will provide you with 13g of fibre which is well over 1/3 of the recommended daily intake.
'It also contains 21.3g of protein to help you hit your requirements. However, this dish is high in salt and sugar and so shouldn’t be overconsumed!'
8. Quarter chicken breast
284 calories | 13.6g fat | 0.3g carbs | 40g protein
A classic order is also one of Hope's preferred Nandos healthiest options.
'Lean chicken is rich in vitamin B3, which is essential for metabolism, and B6, which converts tryptophan, an amino acid found in chicken, into serotonin, often referred to as the happy hormone.'
'It can be very easy to size up from a quarter to a half but, it’s important to remember portion sizes when we’re out, too.'
9. Spiced grains and Butternut squash side
232 calories | 11.4g fat | 20.5g carbs | 8.4g protein
'This dish serves too which makes it around 116 calories and 3.6g of fibre per serving. It’s lower in salt than some of the other dishes on the menu too,' says Hope, of this Nandos healthiest option.
'Butternut squash contains beta-carotene, a key nutrient containing antioxidant properties which is associated with skin health and eye health too. Overall, this would be a great side option.'
10. Portobello mushroom side
124 calories | 11.6g fat | 0.8g carbs | 2.6g protein
No one goes to Nandos and just eats chicken—right? Sides maketh the meal.
But Hope says to remember that sides are designed to be exactly that—just sides. She recommends ensuring that your main is the most energy dense part of your meal, and opting for something a little lighter as an accompaniment.
Like? Well, if Hope went to Nandos, she would pile her plate high with veg, and especially likes the look of the portobello mushroom side.
'It's great way to increase your daily intake of veggies and mushrooms come packed with vitamin D,' she says of this entry to our Nandos healthiest options edit.
11. A quarter of an avocado side
85 calories | 8.5g fat | 0.8g carbs | 0.7g protein
Similarly, Hope would order a quarter of an avocado with her chicken, from the Nandos menu.
'I love adding avocado to my dinners as it’s high in monounsaturated fatty acids. These, in turn, which contribute to healthy skin and to the absorption of vitamins A and E.'
12. Macho Sprouts
83 calories | 5.6g fat | 3.8g carbs | 2.6g protein
Sprouts aren't just a Christmas side, and Nandos knows this with their new addition to the Nandos menu. Hope agrees that they're a great healthy add: 'They provide 4.3g of fibre per serving and pack in an extra 2.6g of protein.
'Sprouts are also rich in key nutrients such as Vitamin C magnesium and iron too. I’d definitely recommend adding these to your next Nandos order!'
13. Rainbow slaw
13 calories | 5.8g fat | 11.3g carbs | 1.9g protein
Can you think of anything better to decorate your plate, and also look good on the gram? 'The rainbow slaw is the perfect side,' says Hope, 'it packs in plant diversity, contains 2.4g of fibre and 1.9g of protein per serving. This is also a great way to pack in some extra healthy fats too as it’s topped with a range of crunchy seeds.'
14. Vanilla Frozen yoghurt
123 calories | 0.1g fat | 26.6g carbohydrates | 4.5g protein
'For dessert, try opting for the frozen yoghurt for a relatively light option. Although it is high in sugar at 13g a serving—the NHS guidelines recommend a healthy adult to limit sugar to 30g a day.'
'Try not to be tempted by the offer of refillable dessert. The sugar and health problems that come with it can add up quickly.'
15. Peri-Peri chicken gravy
51 calories | 2.3g fat | 4.3g carbs | 2.8g protein
This add-on to your meal may feel like a nice treat, but be wary of the amount of salt you're consuming says Hope: 'The new gravy provides 2.8g of protein per serving making it a great way to increase your protein intake if you’re struggling to get enough.
'However, it will also provide 1g of salt which is 1/6 of the total recommended intake. Considering this is an add on to your main meal this could easily rack up your salt intake.
16. Water with fresh lime
0 calories | 0g fat | 0g carbs | 0g protein
Finally—what to drink? Sure, there are loads of bottomless options available, but Hope reckons there's no better bottomless option than an ice cold glass of water.
She expands: 'Drinks are often loaded with sugar which can stimulate your appetite hormones and cause you to over-consume.
'Choose an option from the Nandos menu, like water with fresh lime, and you save yourself consuming empty sugar calories. Think about it this way: would you rather eat your calories or drink them?'
Now, who's hungry?
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