IF you're trying to lose weight – you may think heading for a cheeky Nando's is totally off the cards.

However, it turns out that you can still lose weight and munch on some delicious Peri Peri chicken – as many Nando's dishes are under 500 calories.

Weight loss: Eat Nandos and STILL shed pounds – with top picks under 500kcals_1
These are some of the dishes at Graeme recommends you pick and avoid

In particular, Instagram fitness star Graeme Tomlinson has emphasised that eating at your favourite restaurants like Nando's can be the key to sustainable weight loss.

However, Graeme emphasises that dieters need to get to grips with the nutritional value of each of Nando's dishes as some contain a lot more calories than you may think.

For example, the mushroom and halloumi burger contains a surprising 681 calories.

He says: "Nando’s is enjoyed by millions – this should never change.

"Awareness of total energy consumed can therefore allow one to facilitate multiple Nando’s excursions into a successful diet.

Weight loss: Eat Nandos and STILL shed pounds – with top picks under 500kcals_2
Graeme demonstrates on his Instagram how you can still have a Nando's and lose weight

"Once the hard nutritional facts of a Nando’s meal are grasped, one can adjust prior and subsequent nutritional intakes to accommodate what will likely be a calorie dense meal in happiness and calm control.

"Such an eating episode can be free from guilt and enjoyed in serene knowledge that the fruits of the overall diet will yield progress."

Despite this, he advises slimmers to be wary – as you can easily consume more than 1,800 in one meal at Nando's.

Nando’s is enjoyed by millions – this should never change

Graeme Tomlinson

He adds: "In comparison to many express dine in establishments, consumption of chicken, coupled with assortments of nutrient dense foods, may lead one to believe that Nando’s is the ‘fat loss’ alternative.

"And this may well prove valid if it is enjoyed.

"But instances such as the accumulation of 1/2 a peri peri houmous starter, 10 wings, regular chips, macho peas and extra sauce = a caloric intake of 1845 nutrient inclusive calories.

"But nonetheless… 1845 calories before drinks are considered.

Top tips for eating out

The Hospital Group's Dietitian George Hamlyn-Williams has revealed his top tips for eating out.

“Opt for tomato-based sauces instead of those containing cream, cheese, or coconut milk.”
“Ask for certain components of the meal to be prepared differently if possible – such as poached eggs instead of fried, or baked potato instead of chips on the side.”
“Go ‘bun-less’ when ordering burgers and swap out chips for a side salad.”
“Avoid absentmindedly adding dressings or condiments to meals.”
“Opt for leaner sources of protein, like grilled chicken or white fish, instead of pan-fried steak which will be higher in calories and saturated fat.”
“Avoid starters that contain lots of cheese or batter, and instead opt for a healthier vegetable-based dish.”

"Energy balance over periods of time directly defines one’s rate of fat loss, gain or maintenance. Nothing else."

Some of the dishes under 500 calories Graeme recommends include a 1/4 chicken leg, a butterfly chicken and a chicken burger.

However, he points out that ten chicken wings can total 806 calories and a whole chicken is 1156 calories.
Healthy options in Nando's

With so much on offer, it can be peri hard to navigate the menu.

A quarter chicken breast is is only 278 calories, while lots of side dishes are also under 300 – meaning that you can easily build a high-protein, low-calorie meal.

Weight loss: Eat Nandos and STILL shed pounds – with top picks under 500kcals_3
Peri Peri Grilled Chicken burger contains only 387 calories

In particular, Pippa Campbell, a Jersey-based nutritionist and weight loss specialist, suggests going for a plain Peri Peri Grilled Chicken burger which has just 387 calories.

She says: "Chicken is a good source of protein which balances blood sugars and provides essential amino acids.

"Add a side of broccoli at only 12 calories which adds fibre to the meal and vitamin C."

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For vegetarians, Healthspan's Rob Hobson, a registered nutritionist based in London reckons the Grains 'n Greens salad is "a great healthy dish that contains high amounts of fibre and protein".

He adds: "It is light on calories so I would add the option of avocado (170 calories) which provides additional healthy fats to the dish."

In particular, it's important to pay attention to the sauce you're adding as Mango and Lime has the highest sugar content while its Extra Hot sauce has the most calories and saturated fat.

Nando’s hacks that will transform your chicken experience