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The healthiest Caffe Nero options

Tamara Willner
Written by

Tamara Willner

Medically reviewed by

Fiona Moncrieff

3 min read
Last updated May 2024
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Eating out at cafes is an enjoyable social experience that you shouldn’t have to miss out on for the sake of your health journey. Many people worry that going to restaurants or cafes always means overindulging, however, it is possible to eat healthily when eating out.

Caffe Nero is known for its award-winning Italian coffee and offers a comfortable space ideal for working or socialising in. Amongst muffins, croissants, and paninis, there are some healthier alternatives when you find yourself eating there.

It is also completely ok to enjoy a sweet treat when you really want one. The important thing is that this isn’t a frequent indulgence, and you focus on finding the motivation to get back to your healthy habits afterwards.

Science suggests that a reduced carbohydrate diet is the most effective diet for weight loss. Lower-carb diets are particularly effective for those who struggle with blood glucose control (for e.g. people with type 2 diabetes). On top of this, eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables (e.g. broccoli or peppers), protein (e.g. meat or fish), and healthy fats (e.g. olive oil or nuts) has many health benefits.

To save you time and stress, the registered nutritionists here at Second Nature have gone through the Caffe Nero menu and nutritional information and picked out some healthier options. Not all the options are strictly low-carb, but provide the best-balanced meals on offer. Vegetarian options are marked with a (v).

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Lower-carb meals

If weight loss is your goal, these options will leave you satisfied and can be included as part of a lower-carb eating plan:

  1. Supergreen soup + mixed nuts packet (v)
  2. Tomato and basil soup + Mixed nuts packet (v)
  3. Italian style chicken and mozzarella salad

Higher-carb meals

These options are all balanced meals but are slightly higher in carbohydrate content:

  1. Falafel and hummus salad (v)
  2. Chicken, broccoli and rice soup
  3. Chargrilled chicken salad sandwich
  4. Free-range egg mayo sandwich (v)
  5. Tuna, red pepper, rocket sandwich
  6. Mozzarella & tomato panini (v)
  7. Pole & line tuna melt panini
  8. Vegan meatball panini (v)

Low-carb snacks

  1. Sea salt popcorn (v)
  2. Mixed nuts (v)
  3. Dark chocolate salted almonds (v)

Drinks

Once you have chosen a balanced meal or snack, bear in mind that many drinks contain hidden sugars that can dramatically increase the carb content of your meal. Many of the drinks are close to, or exceed, the maximum recommended daily allowance (RDA) of sugar in the UK (30g). Here are some examples:

  • Espresso and caramel frappe cream: 57.4g sugar (nearly double the max RDA)
  • Garden mint lemonade: 23.6g sugar

To keep your meal lower-carb opt for:

  1. Water
  2. Cappuccino, latte or Americano coffee without sugar (try to avoid drinking caffeine after lunchtime as it can reduce the quality of your sleep)
  3. Herbal teas

Take home message

  • Enjoy a croissant, muffin, or panini when you really want one, then focus on staying motivated to return to healthy habits afterwards.
  • Reduced carb diets seem to be the most effective for weight loss.
  • If you don’t want to indulge, there are a number of healthier, lower-carb options you can choose.
  • Be mindful of drinks that contain hidden sugars.
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