Your next visit to IHOP will be a test of your strength, resolve, and fortitude in the face of extreme temptation. That's because the pancake house has introduced new Simple and Fit items -- all under 600 calories -- and listed them next to such offerings as 5-Layer Pancake Stackers and the Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity.
Adding a healthy menu line is a smart move that several chains -- including Ruby Tuesday, Applebee's, Starbucks -- have made of late; this way, when the new federal law requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts goes into effect, the restaurants can pride themselves on having at least a few items that aren't in the four digits.
But will patrons really choose health when far more delicious offerings are calling their name? We will now expose the dichotomy that exists on the new IHOP menu.
What you know you should get: Simple & Fit Turkey Bacon Omelette with fresh fruit -- 420 calories, 21 grams of fat.
What you really want: Big Steak Omelette with steak, hash browns, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and Cheddar cheese -- 1,220 calories, 82 grams of fat.
Verdict: Turkey bacon vs. steak? There's no contest here.
What you know you should get: Simple & Fit Whole Wheat French Toast with sliced banana and served with scrambled egg substitute and two strips of turkey bacon -- 490 calories, 15 grams of fat.
What you really want: CINN-A-STACK French Toast layered with cinnamon roll filling and drizzled with cream cheese icing -- 1,120 calories, 54 grams of fat.
Verdict: Which part of the cinnamon roll filling and cream cheese icing didn't you understand?
What you know you should get: Simple & Fit Simply Chicken Sandwich served with fresh fruit -- 470 calories, 9 grams of fat.
What you really want: Bacon 'N Beef Burger Bacon Cheeseburger with hickory-smoked bacon blended right into the beef. Topped with cheddar cheese and extra bacon. Fries included -- 1,160 calories, 69 grams of fat.
Verdict: What does a bacon-blended-into-the-beef burger even taste like? You'd better find out.
What you know you should get: Simple & Fit Grilled Tilapia topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions, diced tomatoes, balsamic glaze, and a lemon wedge. Served with steamed broccoli and a house salad with reduced-fat Italian dressing -- 490 calories, 23 grams of fat.
What you really want: Fried Maui-Style Cajun Shrimp served with steamed broccoli, seasoned red skin potatoes, and Pineapple Island glaze -- 720 calories, 27 grams of fat.
Verdict: When in doubt, let "fried" be your guide. And, compared to the other two meals above, this one's practically spa food.
Consensus? IHOP's new healthy items get an "A" for effort; but its egregiously unhealthy menu items are proving way too distracting, not to mention tempting.
Would you order IHOP's new Simple & Fit options?
Image via IHOP