Calories Take the Hop out of IHOP

Being forced to see the calorie count at the IHOP in writing makes K.M. Robbins a depressed eater.
By K.M. Robbins

Normally, going to IHOP is a rather happy experience. I take either a pile of papers to grade or something to read and indulge in creamy coffee, crispy hash browns, and syrupy pancakes. I know they are not healthy, but that is kind of the point, isn’t.

Saturday when I went, a new menu item took the hop out of my IHOP. Calories.

Pancake combos–880, 980, and 1030. The biggest pancake option, the “Ultimate Bacon and Sausage Combo,” weighs in at a hefty 1260. Then, if you go with the never-ending stack, add 490 calories extra per triple stack. Does that include syrup? If not, add an extra 100 for good measure.

I’m not someone who is overly conscious about calorie counting. There is a number I like to keep my weight at to stay healthy. If I go below, great, if above. . . well, it will balance out eventually.

Yet, seeing those calories written down made it hard to get the breakfast option I wanted, thought about in the car ride over, and inspired me to come to IHOP in the first place. Suddenly I found myself scanning to find the “Simple and Fit” options. In a nutrition driven focus, I looked over the things I wanted—caramel apple pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes, hash browns— and started thinking about “Healthy Grain” and “Granola” and, the most un-IHOP of all, “eggs substitute” and “turkey bacon.” I love turkey hot dogs and sausages, but bacon is sacred. What was this calorie awareness doing to me!

So, I got the “Simple and Fit 2x2x2:” two pancakes, two pieces of turkey bacon, and scrambled egg substitute. 400 calories.

It was good, fine even. But, it was missing the fantastic bliss of indulgence, knowing you are being bad and not worrying about how bad. Sure, I still got pancakes and bacon and eggs. I had coffee and graded my papers. It was just that the delicious tawdriness and naughtiness of the experience was gone.

I know America has gotten obese. When I heard about places posting calories, I was all for it. Yes, make people think twice about super-sizing their Big Mac combo. Yet, when faced with giving up a longed for moment of sheer gastronomical excess, I’d say ignorance is bliss.

When I go to Panera’s and Einstein, I like calorie perspective. In Subway, the knowledge that I’m not breaking the calorie bank gives me pride. I can give up a tall mocha for a skinny sugar-free vanilla latte; I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I can give up my fries for a side of vegetables; I could use the vitamins.

But please, let me have IHOP pancakes with a generous drizzling of oblivious contentment. In giving up as much as I do for nutrition, please leave me this.

3 Comments
  1. I totally know what you mean! One time I CRAVED for Subway’s Meatball sub and I was stupid enough to check the nutrition chart beforehand, it’s only the second highest calorie sub in the chain! I opted for a healthy flatbread sandwich with turkey etc… But it was so reluctant that I was left feeling unsatisfied all afternoon and totally regreted it!

  2. This article irks me for a few reasons.

    First, the entire premise is that you’ve now been hit with hard truth concerning the calorie intake and/or nutritional emptiness of an IHOP breakfast. You want to remain blissfully ignorant. Well, why can’t you? You stated “In giving up as much as I do for nutrition, please leave me this.” Clearly, you’ve kept yourself aware of your nutritional needs and you’ve been able to balance a nutritious meal with an occasional indulgence. You’ve also told us that you know your ideal weight and you stay pretty close it. So why plead for ignorance and dump on IHOP? They have not harmed you, you know how to balance an IHOP meal with all the other examples you gave, so enjoy your breakfast and quit whining for the sake of something to fill your post quota.

    Second, Honest Cooking is sorely in need of an editor — or at least you are. There are so many grammatical errors and punctuation problems in this post, reading it was like hearing nails on a chalkboard.

  3. This article states, “In giving up as much as I do for nutrition, please leave me this.” I’m confused by this statement. Please leave you what exactly? IHop offers the exact same breakfast containing all of the calorie laden yumminess your heart and thighs apparently desperately crave. You did not have to eat the Simple and Fit version of this breakfast, which by the way contains only 400 calories. If you add a serving of sugar free syrup it only adds an additional 15 calories. The waitstaff would have happily served up the regular version of this breakfast to you. The “regular” 2 x 2 x 2 contains 680 – 760 calories depending on if you order it with bacon or sausage. Don’t forget to add another 100 – 110 calories for syrup! 780 – 870 calories total for breakfast? I’m sure the majority of the obese population thinks eating that much at breakfast is acceptable and agrees with your moronic statements.

    You act as though iHop doesn’t offer you the calorie laden foods you desire, but one look at the nutritional data in their website disproves that notion. IHOP offers few healthy alternatives unless you make specific requests for substitutions. You write about the obesity problem, but then act as if ignorance is bliss. When it comes to nutrition and obesity, ignorance is NOT bliss…..it’s just plain ignorance!

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