The Best and Worst Menu Items at IHOP
IHOP is a must-visit kind of restaurant for those who like eating breakfast all day, as this chain delivers fluffy pancakes, filling omelets, and mouth-watering waffles to your taste buds, whether it’s 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. Hey, it’s not called the International House of Pancakes for nothing! While it’s easy (and not to mention tempting) to load up on all-you-can-eat pancakes, it’s important to choose your meals carefully here and not get lost in the many IHOP menu options if you are looking to stay on that healthy path.
Some IHOP menu items contain high sodium, sugar, and calorie amounts, making it important to know what to order before you go. To help you make the right food choices next time you get a pancake craving, we spoke to registered dietitian Joelle Malinowski, RD, CDE, CDN about the best and worst breakfast, sandwich, and combo items available on the menu. Below are some of the meal choices she recommends indulging in, and ones you should stay clear of next time the breakfast bug bites.
Best: Original Buttermilk Pancakes; 3 Pancakes
“The Original Buttermilk Pancakes are the best option calorie-wise—not including syrup and butter additions—and contain the lowest amount of sodium and carbs,” Malinowski says. However, she suggests that the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity pancakes are another item to consider, as they contain an even lower fat content than this pancake order.
Worst: Belgian Chocolate Pancakes; 4 Pancakes
Although Malinowski considers herself a chocolate lover, she says that the Belgian Chocolate Pancakes are something to avoid, as this order is very high in calories, fat, sodium, carbs, and sugar. And while she does advise sharing these pancakes with a friend, she explains that they are still something you wouldn’t want to order on a regular basis if you frequently visit IHOP.
Best: Southwest Scramble; Without Potato Or Side
“The Southwest Scramble is low in calories and carbs, and is pretty high in protein,” Malinowski explains. And when it comes to picking a potato or side dish, she recommends pairing hash browns or whole wheat toast with your order in order to increase the overall fiber content of your meal.
Worst: Ultimate Waffle Sandwich; Excludes Side
Malinowski suggests the Ultimate Waffle Sandwich is the worst item in the IHOP Creations category because it’s so high in calories, fat, and sodium. She also notes that the protein content of this dish is a bit too high for just one meal, something else to keep in mind before ordering this entree.
Best: Egg White Vegetable Omelet
“The Egg White Vegetable Omelet is low in calories and fat, and is packed with vegetables to provide essential vitamins and minerals,” Malinowski says. This order also comes with avocado, she adds, which helps provide some healthy fats.
Worst: Cheeseburger Omelet
Malinowski suggests that this order almost provides a whole day’s worth of calories and protein, making it a meal you’ll want to stay away from. She also notes that this dish is also highest in carbs, fat, and protein, and it contains an alarming amount of sodium.
Best: Belgian Waffle
“Eating a Belgian Waffle alone would be the best way to go in order to keep calories, fat, sodium, and carbs down,” Malinowski says. However, she suggests that a good way to provide more protein and substance to your meal is by ordering poached eggs.
Worst: Chicken And Waffles; Without Dressing
“Avoid ordering the Chicken And Waffles, as they are very high in calories and fat,” Malinowski explains. And not only is the chicken fried, but with the dressings on the side, the calories and fat go up even further, she adds.
Best: Brioche French Toast
If you have French toast on the brain, Malinowski explains that the Brioche French Toast is your best option on the menu, as it is lowest in calories and carbs.
Worst: Stuffed French Toast + Fruit Topping
On the flip side, the stuffed version isn’t going to do your waistline any favors. “I would, unfortunately, put the Stuffed French Toast + Fruit Topping dish in the worst category, as it is low in protein, and is high in calories, fat, and sodium,” Malinowski says.
Best: Chicken Florentine Crepes
If you are looking for a low-carb crepe option on the IHOP menu, Malinowski suggests ordering the Chicken Florentine Crepe, as she says it contains a decent amount of protein. In addition, she notes that this dish also has grilled chicken and vegetables included, which is always a major nutritional plus in her eyes.
Worst: Banana Crepe With Nutella
“Besides having a decent amount of fiber, there is just not much here to keep you sustained till your next meal,” Malinowski says. The sugar and carb level inside this dish is also the highest in the category, she adds.
Best: Simple And Fit 2 Egg Breakfast
“Egg whites will help cut down the cholesterol level of this dish, and the option of turkey bacon will help you out even more,” Malinowski explains. This meal can also become low-carb if you skip out on the toast or fruit, she says.
Worst: Country Fried Steak & Eggs With Sausage Gravy; Without Eggs
High in fat and calories, Malinowski says that this is one combo meal you’ll want to pass on, as it contains a lot of sodium. Plus, it’s always best to avoid fried options when dining out, she suggests, as this meal alone contains a full day’s worth of calories.
Best: The Classic
Malinowski suggests that The Classic burger is the best option in this category, as it contains a reasonable amount of protein and calories. To make your meal even healthier, she suggests adding an avocado to your burger in order to give it some monounsaturated fats and added nutrients.
Worst: Mega Monster Cheeseburger
“The Mega Monster Cheeseburger is just going to be a calorie and cholesterol overload,” Malinowski warns. As tasty and delicious as it looks, she recommends staying clear of this option if you are looking out for your waistline.
Best: Turkey Avocado Bacon Wrap
Malinowski says that the avocado inside this wrap will give you that creaminess you crave when you bite into a wrap while supplying your body with some healthy fat in the process. She notes that this order is a solid option for those looking for a good fiber source.
Worst: Philly Cheese Steak Stacker
Although this sandwich may provide your taste buds with a burst of flavor, Malinowski says it’s always a good idea to limit red meat, if possible, for a more heart-healthy lifestyle. This item is also very high in sodium, cholesterol, and carbs, so just overall, not a good combination for those trying to stay health conscious of what they’re eating when dining out.
Best: Grilled Chicken & Veggie Salad
“When you order any salad at IHOP, ask for dressing on the side and limit how much you put on,” Malinowski suggests. ” I would say that the reduced-fat Italian is the best choice for dressing at this restaurant,” she recommends.
Worst: Chicken & Spinach Salad With Grilled Chicken
“Having a salad with fried or breaded chicken is never a good idea,” Malinowski says. This will increase the carb, fat, sodium, and cholesterol level of your meal. Instead, she recommends asking for baked or grilled chicken options.
Best: French Fries
Although Malinowski advises avoiding appetizers altogether, she says that french fries are the best option in the appetizer category, as they contain the least amount of calories, fat, and sodium.
Worst: Appetizer Sampler; Without Dressing
Malinowski says this is one appetizer to avoid, as it is super high in calories, fat, sodium, and carbs. However, she notes that sharing is caring, as splitting this sampler with some friends will definitely save you some calories.
Best: Tilapia Florentine
“Fish is always a good way to go as it contains healthy fats,” Malinowski suggests. This dish is also lower in calories compared to some of the other choices in the category, she adds.
Worst: Country Fried Steak Dinner With Sausage Gravy
“I always recommend avoiding ordering fried items, as they do nothing for you nutritionally,” Malinowski says. Plus, this item is filled with a high amount of sodium and fat, which is always something of a concern as well.
Best: Seasonal Mixed Fruit; Small Bowl
“A side of fruit is always a good choice,” Malinowski says. And not only is this side dish low in fat and sodium, but she suggests it also pairs nicely with any pancakes, meats, and eggs you decide to order.
Worst: Grilled Buttermilk Biscuit
Grilled Buttermilk Biscuits at IHOP may taste good with some eggs and meat after a long night out, but Malinowski avoids ordering items like this, as she suggests they are very high in fat and sodium.
Best: Create-A-Face Pancake
“I really like the Create-A-Face Pancake option on the menu,” Malinowski says. The ability to design and create your own meal will help enforce consumption of the fruit, she adds, which is always a healthy choice for kids to make.
Worst: Jr. Cupcake Pancake Combo
Although the Jr. Cupcake Combo fills your plate with festive sprinkles, Malinowski says it’s not a very nutritious meal as it is very high in carbs and sugar. This most likely will cause a sugar rush, she warns.
Best: 55 + Roasted Turkey Dinner
Craving something other than breakfast? Malinowski suggests that this is a well-balanced meal to order at IHOP, as it features good sources of protein, starch, and veggies.
Worst: Country Fried Steak Dinner With Sausage Gravy
“This dinner has an excessive amount of macronutrients and is super high in sodium,” Malinowski suggests. And again, always keep in mind it’s best to steer clear of anything fried when you’re dining out.