Diners and pancake houses are classic crowd-pleasers, but they’re also notorious for huge portions and not-so-healthy entrees (just think about the huge stacks of delicious pancakes dripping in maple syrup). However, it’s still possible to enjoy a healthy meal at the popular chain.
Here, we’ve put together a list of IHOP meals that clock in at less than 500 calories and have 800mg sodium or less. Although other menu items may be lower in calories and fat, they’re still pretty high in sodium so they didn’t make the list. Remember to drink plenty of water and eat lower-sodium foods throughout the day to balance out higher sodium meals.
Why it made the cut: This omelet is packed with vegetables and nearly 30 grams of protein to keep you satisfied. Much of the saturated fat you’d find in a regular omelet is replaced with heart-healthy unsaturated fats from the avocado topping.
RD tip: Stick to fruit on the side instead of toast for more satisfying volume and less sodium.
Why it made the cut: While most pancake entrees at IHOP clock in at more than 800 calories, this combination with glazed strawberry topping and two eggs satisfies your pancake cravings with just over 400 calories and 27 grams of filling protein.
RD tip: Pancakes at IHOP are huge, so just stick to one. Adding a protein-filled side like eggs provides staying power so you don’t end up hungry later.
Why it made the cut: When you’re in the mood for a lighter meal, this option satisfies your bacon-and-egg cravings for just 270 calories. With 18 grams of protein and fruit on the side, it’s a balanced and filling meal that keeps calories in check.
RD tip: Ask for substitutions in combo meals. Sure, swapping the pancakes for fruit might seem wrong in a pancake house, but it saves more than 500 calories.
Why it made the cut: This meal of scrambled egg whites, turkey bacon, wheat toast and fruit includes protein, whole grains and fiber for a balanced breakfast that clocks in at just under 400 calories with a whopping 29 grams of satisfying protein.
RD tip: This option is low in calories and high in protein, but also packs 800mg of sodium thanks to turkey bacon and toast. Skip one or the other, or cut the portions of the bacon and toast in half to reduce the sodium if you’re looking for a more heart-healthy meal.
Why it made the cut: Steak and eggs is a classic combination that can easily creep up in calories but this option keeps the meal under 500 while packing in more than 60 grams of protein.
RD tip: Ordering a la carte allows you to create a meal customized for you. This combination pairs two protein-filled options with a veggie, making it super filling and indulgent, yet balanced and lower in fat than other steak dinner options.