The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is a hopping place, indeed. We can’t blame people from patronizing the world’s most famous pancake place – the chain of restaurants, after all, is known for its yummy pancakes and bewildering array of toppings!
But IHOP isn’t exactly known for being the best place to eat healthy meals and snacks, thanks again to the toppings, sauces and what-nots that come with the pancakes. Many people on a weight loss diets will even avoid coming within a 10-foot radius of an IHOP so as to avoid the temptation of treating themselves to a heaping plate of pancakes.
There’s good news! You can actually eat your pancakes and keep within your weight loss plans! Let’s take a look at the many ways that you can make it possible.
Look for Simple & Fit Combos
The IHOP restaurants have Simple & Fit combos that make it easier to eat healthy yet indulge in delicious meals. These combos are filled with plenty of food that are good for your mind and body including heart-healthy fruits, vegetables, and egg substitute. You will get a filling meal yet still be within your calorie intake goal for the meal.
A few of your best choices include:
- Simple & Fit Vegetable Omelet with Fresh Fruit, which has green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and oven-roasted tomatoes mixed with egg substitutes. It comes with a fresh fruit for your dessert, all of which amount to just 310 calories, 27 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fat.
- Simple & Fit Two-Egg Breakfast, which has the IHOP scrambled eggs served with turkey bacon and whole wheat toast with fresh fruit for dessert. This has 350 calories, just enough to get you through until your light snack.
- Simple & Fit Oatmeal is as sweet as it is filling for breakfast. This has 290 calories but its healthy fiber and protein content are even more impressive.
But if you’re looking for a high-calorie yet still healthy meal, you should try the Harvest Grain ‘N Nut Egg White Combo. This consists of two pancakes with blueberries and fresh banana slices, as well as scrambled egg whites, so there’s fiber, vitamins and minerals, and protein in it.
Stick to the Originals
You will be surprised that the Original Buttermilk Pancake is your best choice, health-wise, because it has the lowest amount of sugar. But you don’t have to leave your sweet tooth unsatisfied because you can load it with fruits as toppings, which will add the sweetness without the unhealthy sugar.
The classic Original Buttermilk Pancake isn’t the only healthy choice on the IHOP menu, too. You will find pancakes under 400 calories (i.e., for two pancakes), such as the Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Buttermilk Chocolate, Strawberry Banana Pancakes, and Red Velvet. You will love the Strawberry Banana pancakes, too, because these have the lowest saturated fat.
Get the Crepes
Don’t stick to the pancakes either although these are the stars of the menu. You should also try the German and Swedish Crepes because of their lower calorie, sugar and sodium content in comparison to the pancakes. You will get the feeling of eating into a thinner pancake, as well as enjoy ice cream for breakfast.
The better news: The Fruit Crepe & Ice Cream has less than 300 calories but be sure to skip on the fillings and toppings to keep it that way. You will want to indulge in ice cream on your cheat day, too.
Be Smart on the Toppings
Let’s face it – pancakes and crepes aren’t as good without the toppings. But don’t go crazy over the toppings because these add calories, sugar and salt, especially when you choose the artificial ones. You must make smarter choices in the toppings, too, so that you can have your pancake and eat it, too.
- Top your pancakes with fresh fruits, such as sliced bananas, strawberries, or blueberries, instead of syrup.
- Ask for sugar-free syrup, all-natural jam, or honey, if you really must have these toppings.
- Skip on the whipped cream and butter, which can add as much as 70 calories to your meal.
- Ask for any sauce or dressing to be served on the side so you can decide how much you want to eat.
You may also want to focus more on the delicious flavors and fluffiness of the pancakes instead of lusting after the calorie-laden toppings and fillings. You’re here at IHOP for the pancakes so think about it.
You should also consider portioning your pancakes. You can eat smaller portions or share your pancakes with others, both of which are obvious yet often overlooked solutions to the IHOP-or-not decision.
The IHOP drinks selection is as tempting as the pancakes, crepes and toasts menu. But beware as you may be drinking your calories, sugar and fat, too. You should just avoid the sweetened drinks and order water although black coffee, coffee with skim milk, and unsweetened tea are also healthy choices.