Who said you can’t eat carbs and lose weight? Okay, everyone on keto, but if you’re calorie-counting, it’s totally possible to eat at a restaurant that has its entire menu based on noodles and still eat the low-cal way – if you know what to pick. Which is why the latest in our series of calorie guides is a look at the Noodles and Company calories – and Becky Scholes has found 37 choices that fit any low-calorie diet brilliantly.
What is Noodles & Company?
Noodles & Company, which are found in 451 locations around the US, aim to make noodles healthier. Their goal is to make fresh, made-to-order food of the highest quality without artificial colours, preservatives or flavors.
Their motto is ‘Satisfy Your Taste For Adventure’, all the menu includes a huge array of options including stuffed pasta, Asian noodles, and salads and soups. while catering for every need, from vegetarian, to gluten free and the calorie conscious.
Another nice touch is that they try and only use the best ingredients which include 14 different fresh vegetables prepped daily, zucchini noodles spiralized by hand, organic tofu, cage-free eggs, and antibiotic-free, hormone-free pork and bacon.
And by offering two portion sizes and the ability to swap around ingredients they offer heaps of ways to keep your calories lower.
They also have a scheme where they help out any employees who find themselves in financial hardship after an emergency which is pretty cool.
But you’re here to find out about the calories at Noodles & Company so, let’s get started with this big one…
The Lowest Calorie Meal at Noodles & Company
According to the Noodles and Company nutrition info, the absolute lowest calorie meal on the menu is the vegetarian Perfect Bowl Zucchini Scampi, which is fresh zucchini noodles in light scampi sauce with roasted zucchini, Roma tomato and topped with parmesan, parsley and lemon.
At 160 calories for a small meal its very calorie light (and low carb and possibly keto friendly as it only has 25g of carbs!) – in fact, it’s a bit too calorie light, so, better to upsize to the regular portion at 350 calories which is the lowest calorie regular meal on the menu.
To create a more substantial meal this could be accompanied by a Caesar Side Salad at 80 calories.
Or, if you’re not veggie, bump things up by adding protein. The Zucchini Shrimp Scampi – which adds shrimp to the dish above, is just 410 calories for a regular size (240 for a small).
So, now you know that let’s go over the rest of the menu but, before we do, there’s one important thing to know here – what’s shown on the menu is not the only way you can have your meal served.
Picking Your Noodles to Cut Calories and Carbs
One of the brilliant things about Noodles & Company is each dish can be customised as you fancy including swapping out the noodles for a different type to cut back on the carbs or calories
If you are on a low-carb or keto plan, you can change up the menu by picking zucchini noodles. And the different types of noodles also change the calorie counts… so how much difference does your choice of pasta make?
Not surprisingly, the zucchini noodles are the lowest choice. You save 390 calories in any dish by swapping from spaghetti to zucchini noodles
Spaghetti, gluten-sensitive pipette noodles and cavatappi noodles are the lowest-calorie actual pasta option and all the same calories.
Watch out for the Cauliflower Rigatoni, it sounds like it should join the zucchini noodles in the low calorie and carb stakes, but it actually has 20 more calories than spaghetti
Penne is a little more calorific than that adding another 30 calories over a spaghetti choice.
Elbow noodles are the highest calorie pasta-style choice adding another 140 calories to your dish.
Again, the zucchini noodles are your lowest option. If you pick, say, the Orange Chicken (not always the lowest calorie choice on a menu) you’ll take it from 830 calories to 470 by swapping out the Lo-Mein Noodles for Zucchini ones.
Of the actual noodles, your lowest calorie option is Lo-Mein Noodles
Swapping to Udon or Rice noodles will add another 40 calories to your dish
Egg noodles are the most calorific adding 110 calories
Right, so now you know how to swap your pasta choice to change things up (and you’ll find the exact numbers using the My Menu tool), let’s look at the lowest calorie dishes on the menu as it’s served…
Lowest Calorie Classic Noodles at Noodles & Company
Out of the six Classic Noodles options four of the small portions fall under 600 calories but the absolute lowest calorie option is the Penne Rosa, a tomato-based pasta coming in at 360 calories for the small portion.
If pasta is your normal go to dish, you might want to check out our guides to some of the big Italian chains. If you love Olive Garden, then you’ll find our guide to Olive Garden calories here.
Or, if you’re more a Carrabbas kind of person, then check out which is the lowest calorie choice in Carrabbas here.
Lowest Calorie Stuffed Pasta at Noodles & Company
The lowest calorie Stuffed Pasta is the 3 Cheese Tortalloni Rosa which is 360 calories for the small portion. This delicious sounding dish is a blend of ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, onions and garlic in a spicy tomato cream sauce with mushrooms, Roma tomato, spinach and parmesan.
This sounds heavenly!
Unfortunately, the regular portion is over our 600 calorie cut off point at 730 calories per portion.
The Lowest Calorie ‘World Famous Mac’
A restaurant with an entire Mac and Cheese menu sounds pretty good to us, however, do just note that the World Famous Macs are some of the highest calories dishes on the Noodles and Company menu.
Doesn’t mean there are some great options though.
You can have the Gluten-Sensitive Pipette Mac for 420 calories for a small portion.
If you prefer your pasta with gluten intact, you can go for the delicious sounding Wisconsin Mac and Cheese at 490 calories per small portion. I love that you can have a cheese-based dish for such reasonable calories!
This wasn’t a term I’d heard used before and so I wanted to check what it means and the answer is, that the actual meal contains no obvious gluten-containing ingredients, but there is a possibility for cross contamination.
So, if you’re avoiding gluten because you just don’t think it agrees with you, you’re probably all good, but anyone who has coeliac disease should probably just have a chat to the staff for more details as to the level of risk.
If you do try and avoid gluten, you might also want to check out our guides to the healthiest gluten free offerings at some other chains.
Find our guide to eating gluten free at Olive Garden here
Or if you’re more of a seafood fan, then we have a guide to the healthiest gluten-free options at Red Lobster for you to check out.
Lowest Calorie Asian Noodles at Noodles & Company
All of the small portions of the Asian Noodles fall below the 600 calorie cut off.
The lowest calorie option is the udon noodles dish Japanese Pan Noodles at 320 calories.
Zoodles and Cauliflower Noodles
Four of the six options in this section come in under 600 for the small portion.
The lowest calorie is the Zucchini Shrimp Scampi at 240 calories for a small (410 for the regular) which has featured before as it is the lowest calorie option of the whole menu.
Two of the options in this section don’t have their calorie count featured but this can easily be found by using the handy ‘My Menu’ tool.
Both the cauliflower Rigatoni Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce and the Cauliflower Rigatoni Fresca with Shrimp come in under the 600 calorie cut off at 400 calories and 470 calories respectively for a small portion.
Zoodles aren’t the only way you can reduce calories by swapping starchy carbs for vegetables, fruits, or other low cal offerings – here are 33 low carb swaps you might want to check out.
The Lowest Calorie Salad and Soup at Noodles & Company
Unsurprisingly, the salad and soup section is full of delicious low-calorie options. Most of the them are under 600 calories for either a small or regular portion.
The lowest calorie option is the Chicken Noodle Soup at 190 small, 360 regular.
Noodles & Company Lowest Calorie Perfect Bowls
Again, there are loads of low-calorie options in this section of the menu (I am so impressed how many options there are on this menu under 600 calories!)
The lowest calories small or regular Perfect Bowl is the Zucchini Scampi which is fresh zucchini noodles tossed in a scampi sauce. These come in at 160 small or 350 regular.
Best Choice for a Bigger Appetite
Most of the portions that come in under 600 calories are the small serving sizes. If you have a bigger appetite, for Zucchini noodles where you can have a regular sized portion of the Shrimp Scampi (410 calories) or the Zucchini Pesto with Grilled Chicken for 510 calories.
If you want actual noodles, the lowest-calorie regular sized portion is the Japanese Pan Noodles at 640 calories. This is served with Udon, but, if you swap that to Lo-Mein you drop it to 600 calories.
The Lowest Calorie Vegetarian Option
The menu is full of vegetarian options and most dishes are flexible so you can take out or add parts of the dish as you wish. That means that a lot of the meat dishes can easily be made to be vegetarian, which is great. To tailor it to your specific needs use the My Menu tool, which is great and ensures the menu can be tailored to pretty much an dietary need.
The Japanese Pan Noodles are a brilliant Vegetarian option at 320 for a small, or you can add Tofu for extra Protein to make it 550 calories.
Alternatively, there is the Gluten Sensitive Pipette Mac (which looks amazing) for 420 for a small.
The Lowest Calorie Vegan Option
You can also easily amend the Japanese Pan Noodles (either with or without Tofu) to make it Vegan. How to do this is explained on the My Menu section of the website. This is 550 calories for the Tofu option.
If you’re eating veggie or vegan, check out our guide to Veggie Grill calories next.
If you’re eating with family or friends and looking to bolster a low calorie main then these shareables might be a tasty addition. The divine sounding Potstickers (Chicken dumplings) are 220 for three or 380 for six.
The Lowest Calorie Dessert
Whilst none of the options are what you’d called low calorie you can get both the Snoodledoodle Cookie and the Chocolate Chunk Cookie for 450 calories.
Surprisingly this is way less than the Rice Krispy which comes in at 540 calories per portion (ouch!)
Lowest Calorie Noodles & Company Sides
There a four great low-calorie sides at Noodles & Company. The lowest calorie of which is the classic Side Caesar Salad at 80 calories.
However, if you’re looking to bump up the calories of a main salad then the Wisconsin Mac and Cheese side would be great at 270 calories.
Is Noodles & Company Keto-Friendly?
Yes – and in fact, in the Noodles and Co nutrition info they’ll actually pinpoint the keto-friendly items on the menu which is great. The two they suggest are the Zucchini Pesto Cream with Grilled Chicken and the Zucchini Alfredo Monemore with Grilled Chicken.
They also pinpoint Paleo-friendly, Gluten-sensitive and Vegetarian meals.
So, there you have it, the absolutely lowest calorie choices on the Noodles and Company menu, but if your favourite is not listed, or you don’t feel like any of the top options, this is where our list comes in.
Noodles and Company Calories at a Glance
HEre’s all the dishes under 600 calories that you can choose at Noodles & Company. The numbers for all of the below are as they are served on the menu but remember, remember, you can cut calories dramatically by picking Zucchini noodles over any other pasta or noodle option. For exact numbers, check the Noodles and Co calories guide on their website.
Main Meals under 400 calories
Zucchini Scampi – Small – 160 calories
Chicken Noodle Soup – Small – 190 calories
Zucchini in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce – Small – 200 calories
Zucchini Shrimp Scampi – Small – 240 calories
The Med Salad with Chicken – Small – 290 calories
Tomato Basil Bisque – Small – 290 calories
Zucchini Rosa with Grilled Chicken – Small – 300 calories
Japanese Pan Noodles – Small – 320 calories
Zucchini Pesto Cream with Grilled Chicken – Small – 330 calories
Zucchini Scampi – Regular – 350 calories
Penne Rosa – Small – 360 calories
3 Cheese Tortelloni Rosa – Small – 360 calories
Chicken Noodles Soup – Regular – 360 calories
Buttered Noodles – Small – 380 calories
Pesto Cream Cavatappi – Small – 380 calories
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad – Small – 380 calories
3 Cheese Tortelloni Pesto – Small – 390 calories
Main Meals under 500 calories
Cauliflower Rigatoni in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce – Small – 400 calories
Zucchini in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce – Regular – 400 calories
Zucchini Shrimp Scampi – Regular – 410 calories
Chicken Veracruz Salad – Small – 410 calories
Roasted Garlic Cream Tortelloni – Small – 410 calories
Gluten-Sensitive Pipette Mac – Small – 420 calories
The Med Salad with Chicken – Regular – 430 calories
Tomato Basil Bisque – Regular – 430 calories
Zucchini Rosa with Grilled Chicken -Regular – 450 calories
Shrimp Scampi – Small – 450 calories
Cauliflower Rigatoni Fresca with Shrimp – Small – 470 calories
Wisconsin Mac and Cheese – Small – 490 calories
Grilled Orange Chicken Lo Mein – Small – 490 calories
Main Meals under 600 calories
Spicy Korean Beef Noodles – Small – 500 calories
Zucchini Pesto Cream with Grilled Chicken – Regular – 510 calories
Pad Thai – Small – 520 calories
Zucchini Alfredo Montamore with Grilled Chicken – Small – 550 calories
Japanese Pan Noodles with Tofu – Small – 550 calories
Pad Thai with Shrimp – Small – 600 calories
Japanese Pan Noodles – Regular- with Lo Mein – 600 calories
So, there you have it, the full guide to Noodles and Company calories and everything you can order for 600 calories and under. I’m extremely impressed at the vast amount of low-calorie options on this menu, it just shows you can eat really tasty food without overdoing it on the calorie front!
So, which is your favourite? Let us know if you’re a Noodles & Company fan.
All images from Noodles & Company Press Gallery
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.