Order This, Not That: IHOP

by in Dining Out, January 21, 2012

My college roommate worked at IHOP and I’ll never forget the stench of grease and syrup that followed her home after every shift. This breakfast-centered chain has been making a comeback – and while their menu offerings go beyond eggs and pancakes, is there anything sensible to order?

Order: “Simple” and Small
The nutrition guide for this restaurant will make you dizzy (and maybe a little nauseous). So many choices and virtually NO healthy ones!

In 2010, IHOP launched “Simple & Fit” menu items, which have under 600 calories per serving. Their website also offers calorie-saving tips like skipping butter, whipped cream and sugary sodas with your meal. Six hundred calories sure does seem high but when you see how many calories are in many of their other dishes, it’s the best you’re going to do.

Simple & Fit omelets are served with fresh fruit and weigh in at 320 to 420 calories and 10 to 20 grams of per serving. The Simple and Fit Whole Wheat French Toast is a decent option at 490 calories.

If you’re in this for the pancakes, your only option should be an Original Short Stack – but that’ll still stack up the calories and fat with 490 calories, 18 grams of fat, 1 gram of trans fat per serving (not including the 50-calorie-per-tablespoon syrup).

Not: “Country,” Combos or Salads
A Country Omelet may sound harmless but is anything but with 1140 calories and a jaw-dropping 80 grams of fat, 870 milligrams of cholesterol and 2060 milligrams of sodium. Keep in mind that these belly-busting numbers don’t include the side orders of pancakes, breakfast meat and hash browns that are also offered with your meal.

The menu goes on to list dozens of heavy, fat-laden combo platters of eggs, pancakes and meat all totaling more than 1100 calories and 60 grams of fat each.

An Original Stack of buttermilk pancakes slaps on 880 calories 50 grams of fat and 1 grams of trans fat. That’s more than 75- percent of your fat needs for the entire day (not to mention the trans fat which the USDA guidelines recommend avoiding completely).

Harvest Grain ‘N Nut pancakes may sound healthier but pass on those too – they have considerably more fat and calories than the buttermilk variety.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that a salad would be a healthy alternative – all the entrée salads on the menu pack in nearly 800 calories and up.

Bottom Line: Proceed with caution at this breakfast hot spot!

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