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How to Eat Healthy at IHOP

By Eliza Martinez

Making healthy food choices while dining in a restaurant can be difficult. Many menu items that appear healthy really aren't, such as salads drenched in high calorie dressings, or sandwiches slathered in mayonnaise. IHOP is a well known place to order pancakes and other breakfast items, however they also serve lunch and dinner. Going out to eat doesn't have to ruin your efforts to eat right and stay healthy. A little preparation before arriving at IHOP will make it simple to enjoy a restaurant meal that won't derail your diet.

  1. Obtain an IHOP menu. You can do this by visiting the restaurant and asking for one or by visiting their website at www.ihop.com. Many times the menu or website will also provide specific nutritional information that will help you make healthy choices.

  2. Look through the menu and choose a few items you might want to order. If the menu you have doesn't give nutrition data, plug the meals or food items into a calorie counting software program or look them up in a calorie counting book. You might be surprised to find that menu options you assumed were better choices might not be after all. Avoid sodas, fried foods and huge desserts and instead opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, plain pancakes, whole grain toast and low-fat milk.

  3. Order from the IHOP For Me menu. This is a selection of healthier menu choices that each contain under 600 calories. Many of them feature egg substitutes and turkey bacon to reduce calorie and fat intake. Choices include whole wheat french toast, omelets, chicken and fruit.

  4. Ask for substitutions. Don't be afraid to request high calorie and high fat items such as butter or salad dressing on the side so you can control how much you use. You can also request your food to be prepared without added oil or butter and ask to have it grilled or roasted rather than fried. Request additional information regarding sauces and cooking methods from your server when you get to IHOP so you can make the healthiest choices possible.

  5. Try not to eat the entire plate of food you are served. Most restaurants, IHOP included, serve several portions on one plate. For example, rather than eating all three large pancakes on the side, eat one and bring the rest home for another time. You can also split your meal in half before you begin eating and put some away in a take out box so you won't be tempted to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

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