You probably know Nando’s. I mean if you have any friends or you lost them because you have kids, you know Nando’s. They have 300 restaurants in the UK, 9 of those just in Manchester.
This chain is so popular that in North East UK, two Nando’s restaurants are within a 1 min walk of each other.
I used to eat at Nando’s, often before going to the cinema. Not so much these days, but occasionally I pop in to have their flame-grilled chicken. Why do I write this? Well, I know a lot of teenagers or parents of teenagers who go there often (at least 1xweek.) Fellow trainer, Dan, who is not only a great personal trainer, but a very good human being, is a trainer and a carer to young guy with Cerebral Palsy, Stewart. Stewart likes Nando’s and Dan takes him there once a week for a sneaky cheat meal. Now neither Stew nor Dan is fat. Just look at the photo of them two below
Dan is ripped, even though people know about his Nando’s addiction, to the point that they made a Nando’s logo for Dan.
According to the website “Nando's chicken is so addictively tasty it's difficult to resist the odd binge, but don't worry, on such occasions you can take the edge off your guilt with the knowledge that PERi-PERi chicken is also ideal as part of a well balanced diet. So, if you are eating out and can resist the temptation, eating healthily at Nando's is easy.” But is it that easy?
If you would look at Dan, you would think so.
But if you look on the website then basically it’s down to the choice you make there.
So I will post some guidelines on what you should eat, and what you should avoid if you want to stay in a good shape, but like eating at Nando’s.
Now let me at least explain basics of keeping your weight and health in check. We have calories, and despite of what ‘diet gurus’ are telling you, you need to eat less calories if you want to lose weight, and more if you want to keep or gain weight. You can eat very healthily but if you eat too much, you will put on weight.
Therefore even if you are losing weight, the occasional trip to Nando’s or other fast food chain restaurant may not be all that bad.
To count your needed calorie intake you can assume that you need about 12 calories per pound of your body weight. Obviously this is very simplistic and needs to be adjusted to individual metabolism, activity level and other factors. You should always seek advice from a certified dietitian or nutritionist.
So if you are a 90kg (200lbs) male, you should be eating about 2400 calories. Next is protein, 1g per 1lbs is a very good number to strive towards, so 200g (800 calories) of protein per day if you are an active individual. Fat - for good hormonal balance 30% of your calories should come from fat, so in this example it’s about 720 calories (1g of fat has 9 calories), so 80g of fat.
The rest of the calories, is for carbs, and that again depends on different factors, but potentially you have 780 calories, or 220g of carbs left, plenty if not too much, especially if you are not very active.
Now some meals in Nando’s can be as little as 220 calories, but some, very normal looking portions can top you up to 3000 calories, so please read below for my findings.
For your health, you should consider how much salt you are consuming, and if your diet is filled with homemade whole foods, there is no need to control your salt levels, however if you eat out a lot, this may be a problem. Government advice on salt is not to consume above 6g to lower blood pressure. However, ‘studies find that a further reduction to 3-4 g/d has a greater effect. Prospective studies and outcome trials have demonstrated that a lower salt intake is related to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Cost-effectiveness analysts have documented that salt reduction is more, or at the very least, just as cost-effective as tobacco control in reducing cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death and disability worldwide.’ FJ HE, 2012
Some foods in Nando’s have very little salt (Corn on the Cob, Luso Beans, Mixed Leaf Salad and Macho Peas have anything from 0 to 0.6), but some have very high levels of 4.5g and higher per portion, I’m talking about Spiced Mixed Olives, and that’s a starter!
So what can you have? I have put together and example of a low calorie meal, full of protein, average meal and an absolute bomb, that you should avoid. Also I have put together some foods, which are below 500 calories, have at least 30% of protein per portion, less than 35% fat content and are acceptable in the amount of salt content.
I hope you will find this guide helpful. You can find all the info yourself on the official Nando’s website, and if you would like to write a similar High Street Food Survival Guide on a different chain, please comment below.
Share, like and enjoy your peri-peri chicken.
Lowest Calorie Combo
¼ Chicken – Breast or Butterfly Chicken
2 regular sides of
Regular Corn on the cob and Mixed leaf salad
Total Calorie Content
Average Calorie Combo
Chicken Breast Fillet Pitta
2 regular sides of
Macho Peas and Corn on the cob
Total Calorie Content
Now, this is something that I USED to order, thinking that it is fine. I think maybe, you are making the same mistake?
½ Chicken + regular Chips + Coleslaw = 1352 calories!
Add to it Peri-Peri Nuts for starter with 628 calories
Wash it down with regular glass of coke with extra 161 calories
And treat yourself with a carrot cake, containing whooping 839 calories
Result? 2980 calories, and I bet you, this will not be your only food that day!
Veggie options? Why a vegetarian would go to Nando’s? But if you find yourself lost in that poultry heaven, go for Veggie Pitta, zero calorie soda or just water.
CaloriesChips regular465Houmous with peri Peri drizzle825peri-peri nuts628Red Pepper Dip490
Best is to avoid the starter and dessert, overpriced and packed with ton of calories for little nutrient value, so you will not feel full anyway.
Here are ok-ish list of foods.
MAINFoodPortion Size (g)CaloriesProtein %Fat %Salt (g)Salt(low)
Butterfly Chicken19031074%26%1.7 0.9 1/4 Chicken Breast19330975%21%1.3 0.7 Chicken Breast Fillet Burger23236838%15%2 0.9 Chicken Breast Fillet Pitta20736438%12%2 1 Double Chicken Breast Burger30949551%15%2.9 1 Double Chicken Breast Pitta27546048%12%2.6 1 Chicken Livers and Portuguese Roll21846932%29%4.6 2Veggie Pitta24043916%21%3.1 1 SNACKSFoodPortion Size (g)CaloriesProtein %Fat %Salt (g)Salt(low)
Spicy Mixed Olives1251333%88%4.5 43 Chicken Wings7119046%53%1.1 2Garlic Bread1003368%44%1 1 SIDESFoodPortion Size (g)CaloriesProtein %Fat %Salt (g)Salt(low)
Chips Regular1804654%36%0.7 0.4 Spicy Rice Regular15027312%32%2.1 1.4 Coleslaw Regular1502642%82%0.6 0.4 Macho Peas Regular14016816%58%0.30.2 Macho Peas Regular28033616%58%0.70.3 Mixed Leaf Salad Regular571028%18%0.10.2 Garlic Bread1003368%44%1 1 Corn on the Cob Regular7010116%17%00 Corn on the Cob Large13813816%17%00 Creamy Mash Regular2002705%53%1.7 0.9 Luso Beans20024212%15%0.50.3 Ratatouille1801089%54%0.7 0.4 Sweet Potato Mash2002488%15%0.60.3
'Greg Mikolap, BSc in Physiotherapy, and a Personal Trainer based in Maidenhead, England. Greg is also a founder of www.PTFolder.com, training solution for people who want to get fit or for people who help others get fit. With almost 10 years experience in the industry, Greg is also a course director for Faster Health & Fitness and is working on his volleyball performance book.'