It's Time to Step Away from the Peanut Butter

By , SparkPeople Blogger
If you’ve read any of my blogs over the past few months, you know that I recently had my third child.  I was always jealous of the women who said they loved being pregnant and felt so great, because I never did.  Food was not my friend (lots of random foods made my stomach turn) so I’d eat enough to stay healthy but not a lot more.  I never felt like indulging in a hot fudge sundae or most of those other foods a lot of pregnant women crave.
Flash forward to now, and it’s a totally different story.   As soon as I give birth, the appetite switch seems to turn on in my body.  I am hungry and want to eat ALL the time, which usually means that I gain some weight after having babies instead of losing like most people do.  I’m nursing, which means I need to eat more than usual.  But the number of calories I’m consuming is far more than I need.  And many of those calories are coming from one food:  peanut butter.
Peanut butter seems to be my trigger food.  If allowed, I can sit with a jar and eat it by the spoonful.  Yes, peanut butter can be part of any healthy diet.  But a little bit goes a long way, and too much of any one food is not such a good thing. 
I think part of my desire to eat and eat comes from a change in my routine.  I’m up more at night, and I’m also home more since it’s hard to juggle three little ones on my own in a lot of public places.  So with this new routine, I need to develop a new plan for getting my eating under control and relearning my hunger cues.  That way I’m eating when I need to instead of just when I feel like it.
My plan is to limit my consumption of peanut butter to one serving, once a day.  If I’m hungry and it seems like I shouldn’t be, I’ll drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes.  If I’m still hungry, then I’ll have plenty of other healthy snacks on-hand (like fruit and veggies) to help satisfy my craving. 
Do you have trigger foods?  Have you learned to eat them in moderation, or do you just avoid them completely?  If you eat them in moderation, how have you learned to maintain self-control?  

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It gave me comfort to know I'm not the only one who can sit down with a jar of peanut butter and eat it by the spoonful. But to make things even worse, I mix it with margerine to make the chunky kind a little more creamy. Many years ago I had a problem with PB, but then I began using it appropriately. It's only been recently that PB and margerine have become a problem and you're right, for me, it's past time to step away from the PB. Reading this blog will help me do just that. Report
Wow! Good question! My trigger food is FAT! I have a very hard time with it. I am talking about the fat in meat. Specifically the fat in pork, Chicken fried in fat like broasted chicken. I have not conquered my inability to stop eating the food! Well that is not entirely true I can limit it and it does not set me to bingeing and that is a good thing! We made a pork roast this weekend and you would have thought I was inhaling my food. It was not a pretty sight. At times like that I feel like I have not made any inroads on my journey but I never give up. Good luck with your Jen! Happy New Year! Report
Sugar is my trigger. I am following the big breakfast diet which required you to eat one sweet for breakfast. OMG!! it is working. I eat a bigger breakfast with more protein. And I don't crave the sweets like I used to.

Maybe eat p.b. with other protein for breakfast? fewer carbs? Report
Trigger foods--absolutely anything that is sweet and crunchy, which makes those holiday cookies a real challenge! Report
I have trigger foods, too, but try my best to set myself up for success for the week and cook/prep live food in batches 1 or 2 days a week. luckily my 3 kids are older now. :)

Once a week I try to make a pot of healthy soup with lots of veggies and protein from lentils or beans. Then I'll make a hummus and cut up a vegetable tray for dipping and make fresh salads 2-3 times a week as well. I eat raw almonds or a tablespoon or 2 of almond butter or peanut butter with my raw veggies when I have a snack. I try to follow the clean eating diet 90% of the time which means I eat about 5-6 small meals a day.

I make a lot of egg white omelettes with spinach, mushrooms, onion, garlic (no cheese) that are delicious for a mid morning snack/brunch.

I also sprinkle cayenne pepper on most of my food to help curb my appetite and it has great health benefits as well along with curry, cumin, etc..but you know that, because there's spark articles about the spices with health benefits!

It's good to know that you're normal like the rest of us, Jen! Congrats with your new arrival! Report
One of my triggers are potato chips and of course sweets. Report
I wasn't familiar with the term "trigger food" until I read this blog. Now I understand the term. For me, potato chips are my trigger food. Report
I do have trigger foods and I have to just stay away from them. This time of year my trigger foods are all of the treats. The rest of the year I don't have too much trouble because I totally stay away from them but, my daughter had a cookie exchange that I was expected to participate and that did me in. So the answer is I will probably never be able to incorporate my trigger foods in my diet but that's ok to. I just stay as far away from them as I can get. Report
Peanut butter is definitely a trigger for me. Unfortunately, it took me a very long time to realize this. I love the Dark Chocolate Dreams made by Peanut Butter & Co. I can literally eat it right out of the jar. I had given it up for awhile but bought two jars recently when it was on sale. Both jars disappeared very quickly after opening them. I then realized that I just cannot keep this food in the house, no matter how cheap or expensive. It is too much of a trigger. I wish I had the discipline to eat it in small quantities because boy is it good, and I also believe it is relatively nutritious. But I just cannot. I have a large jar of Nutella sitting around, and somehow that is ok. We will use it eventually to make crepes or something. But I just cannot discipline myself with peanut butter, so I have had to give it up. Report
i am definitely a peanut butter friek!! it is definitely a trigger food. i have it every morning on whole wheat english that i eat in my car on the way to work so i am not tempted to pile it on and just keep eating it. i have made my own with zero additives and that is yummy!!! throw a few dark choc chips in while in the food processor and you can't beat it. i've done this with almonds as well. and yes, hubby has to take the jar out of my hand and put it away or i WILL keep at it! Report
I'd avoided nut butters for decades due to chronic pain problems; but now, I find I have to limit it. It is also not so nutritious—almond butter has p.b. beat.

That said, I try to limit almond butter to two 1-tablespoon servings per day Report
How can something so good be so bad for you? When I see a jar in the cabinet, my hand automatically goes to the silverware drawer for a spoon. Bad juju for me. My BIG trigger food is potato chips. If I eat one chip, I eat the bag. I do not keep them in the house and I steer clear of them at parties. Report
Somehow saved comment twice...and can't delete. :( Report
I like emjlaw's comments about a)having a list, and b)not having a food in the house. Thank you! I am pretty good about saying no, but if it ain't there, you can't say yes. :) I have not made a list of trigger foods, as I am not driven in that way. I will have to think if I have any. I am an all-purpose food lover. I just enjoy it! So, not eating so much is not too easy, but I find that the cost is too high to continue over-consuming, and it makes the choice much easier on most days. I do like the peanut butter...I agree that too much of it just kills the calories. I even have chosen to not eat it due to that fact on a day I knew I might go over. That is hard, but doable. Report
I'm not at the point in this battle that I can yet allow myself to have those foods that I would of sat mindlessly and eaten the whole bag....potato chips....the cheddar cheese kind...I swear there is a switch in that one and it's all over with. I can say that it has been almost 2 months since I had any.....avoidance seems to be working for me!

Peanut Butter? I could take it or leave it....doesn't bother me.... Report
I won't say peanut butter was a trigger. However, I have found when I get the fresh ground peanut butterfat Whole Food or a local grocery chain, I don't eat nearly as much as when I get the brand PB (Jiff or Skippy). The fresh ground is overall healthier too. Occasionally I will get almond butter and I will add a little almond oil to make it more moist. Report
trigger food - yes I like peanut butter Report
I have a list of trigger foods and if I am doing well they are totally off limits. Mostly candy/sugar type things but also any type of nuts. I can't moderate them. I read somewhere that success is easier when you create an environment that keeps you away from problems, willpower doesn't work. I do best when I don't have any of those things in my house, because I'll never eat a handful of almonds, I'll eat the entire can. Report
I had to read this when I saw the title, because peanut butter is a HUGE trigger food for me. For a lot of foods, I'm able to eat them in moderation, but I've developed major red-light foods that I can't trust myself around. Peanut butter is the #1 offender. It's so bad that I wish it weren't even in the house. My family buys it for themselves. I've asked them to hide it from me—and finally, they obliged—but now I've taken to hunting it down when I get a craving or am seeking some serious comfort through emotional eating. That's at *least* once a week anymore. Report
I have a problem with peanut butter also. It triggers me to eat more pb too! Report
I love peanut butter and have it once a day. Either on a whole wheat English muffin, in oatmeal or drizzled on a banana. Heating up a tablespoon makes it go a long way. Trigger foods is anything baked - cookies, cakes, squares. Avoiding it would be the best thing, but I have not done that. Brownies were in the house earlier this week and I ate too much. Now that they are gone, I don't have a craving for them. I think that is a good lesson, not there, won't be able to eat it.

I agree. I tend to think of peanut butter as a candy bar... Report
I can relate to your craving and uncontrolled spoonfulls to peanut butter. Good luck with the plan. I have my own as well!!! Thanks for sharing :) Report
Peanut butter and Oreos (not together). I've switched to almond butter, home made, which has fewer calories than peanut butter and I just don't allow myself to buy Oreos. Report
I have a short list of things (6 items - peanut butter is one of those items) that I cannot control once I get started so I don't keep them in my house. The list is printed in large print and posted in a prominent location to remind me not to give in. (And most times, I'm successful!) Report
AZURE has the right idea..... microwave 1-2T peanut butter in a pyrex dish with a dash of cinnamon and it's a great dip for apple slices! I don't do it often but it's a good protein source for vegans. I select the brand of peanut butter carefully too... has anyone noticed how much oil and sugar they add to the peanuts? Never understood why they feel the need to add palm oil to peanut butter..... or get organic and add your own sweetners, if needed! Report
A couple of years ago, I found hot tea is a trigger for something sweet. So when I was in the major loosing process I hardly ever had my beloved Red Rose Tea. Now I have that or a chocolate tea I found on line, at night and if I have the calories left in my "budget" I have biscotti that range from 90 - 120 calories - and I am content - most of the time. Report
I LOVE peanut butter too! My solution comes from Southern Grace Farms in the form of peanut flour. It is made of 100% peanuts, partially defatted and then made into a flour which I mix with water and a pinch of salt and sweetener to taste. I can make it to the consistency of peanut butter for celery (with or without raisins) or apple dipping or on toast.....or I mix a bit in with yogurt and cottage cheese or oatmeal for a delicious treat and a boost of protein! Awesome on banana before a run too!!! It has been a life saver for me. I order it 6 (1lb) vacuumed bags at a time which will last me just a bit over 3-4 months. YUMMY and save a tone of fat calories! Report
The trick is to plan for your peanut butter fix. I often put 1TBSP peanut butter in my morning oatmeal for a protein boost. Or, if I want a snack after dinner or in the afternoon. I'll slice an apple, and microwave 1-2 TBSP peanut butter in a small dish, then dip the apple slices in the melted peanut butter. It's a satisfying and filling - and healthy - snack. Report
I love peanut butter, buy my husband has a severe peanut allergy, so I can only eat it at work. :-( Report
Oh man, and I thought it was just me!!! I LOVE peanut butter! I recently realized I was eating way too much of it too and had to cut down, so I completely understand! Thanks for sharing. It's always nice to know we don't struggle alone. ;) Report
I love peanutbutter & have it at bedtime so I don't have hypogycemia attacks at 3 AM. Moderation is the key and I factor it into my daily calorie allowances. Report
I have to avoid my trigger foods entirely, at least for now. My triggers are anything sweet-cookies, candy, pastry, etc.etc.etc. oh yeah, and bread too! Report
I love peanut butter and have always been a huge fan of it. Being able to sit down and eat half a container of it in one sitting. Putting it on anything and everything. However a few years back I did an allergy test and discovered i'm super allergic to it and have had to take it out of my diet all together. If I even have one peanut I'll get a migrain for 3 days afterwards and somtimes worse things happen. Despite that, sometimes I have a really hard time not reaching for the jar. I have major cravings for it all the time and reaching for the jar of almond butter or sunflower seed butter just doesn't do the trick. Report
Peanut butter is a definite temptation for me, but anything that is high in sugar is addictive for me. If I start eating it, I want more. I think of desserts as an elaborate drug delivery system for sugar. My solution is to try not to keep them things around, except on special occasions. If I do eat them, I try to break them into very small bites so I don't get the same rush. Report
I had to laugh when I read the headlines for this blog. Peanut butter is actually one of my "craving" foods. So much, in fact, that my husband jokes about raising our grocery budget since the price of peanut butter has gone up. Good luck on staying on track. Report
Peanut butter and Cheese are my Achilles heels. I wait until I've recorded/calculated my day's nutrition to see if there's "room" for any as a treat, without putting me over my limits. I know I shouldn't use food as a reward for healthy eating, but at least it's motivating me to otherwise stay within my healthy limits. Report
Peanut butter is also a trigger food for me. And I can't even allow it in the house because my 'once a day' eating of it would be the whole jar, with a spoon. Report
I, too, love peanut butter, especially the extra crunchy type. It is not a trigger food for me. One PBJ sandwich once in a while is enough. My trigger foods seem to be the mixed nuts kind, with salt and chili pepper. I do buy them but now I really measure what I consume and that has helped me curb the craving. Report
I eat the type made from just peanuts and salt. As I can demolish a jar without any effort I normally don't have any in the house. Report

When people say peanut butter I am always curious as to which form they are talking about. For me peanut butter is just peanuts and salt with nothing added. Reading the labels on Skippy, Jif or any of the other well known brands turns me off. I restrict myself to the above peanuts and salt only variety. I have used salted in the shell peanuts, hulled and skinned spun in a blender to make my own. I think the prolem many have with the commercial variety is all the added unnecessary ingredients. Report
I agree with you peanut butter triggers me as well. I even eat the natural creamy without the sugar and it still triggers. Report
I agree with FABAT40. I eat a lot more when I'm tired, so I'm susceptible most after 8 p.m. Report
Sweets and carbs. And fatty protein. And sometimes salt. Everything can become a trigger food for me, even healthy food if it's not emotionally satisfying for me. Report
I think more of your problem is sleep deprivation. The time I am most susceptable to take in large amounts of calories is when I am overtired. With a new baby and other children I am assuming you are tired all the time. This to shall pass. Report
I love peanut butter but it is not a trigger food for me. But I do know what is for me chips, cookies and sweets, and candy...possible bread. Maybe nuts but I have found if I buy them in the shell I can manage better. They now have individual cups of pb now. I try to my best to stay away from those triggers...some times I do good then there are the others times. Still working on it!!! Report
Peanut butter is my it's my comfort when I'm down, rainy days ,or late nights , but as with you I had to learn to say no to my thoughts of a PBand J sandwich. Then I found myself going for even worse foods.... the sweets, for the sweet... I'm still fighting my demons when it comes to bad foods. Just try to eat 1 tablespoon and let it go for the day. Report
I love peanut butter! The title of the blog had me worried - I was afraid that there was some big reason to avoid it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and good luck! Report
I've got to say I'm glad to find someone else who shares my peanut butter problems. I also can (and will) easily eat 1/3 to 1/2 a jar of peanut butter at a time with a spoon. It's delicious! My solution? I don't have peanut butter in my house anymore. I tried a couple different things first: I bought almond butter instead. That worked better because I don't like it as much, so I didn't eat it as frequently. I've also bought "natural" peanut butter, because I also don't like that kind as much as the kind with added sugars, but I still ate it. Now I just don't have peanut butter. It's one of those things I'd like to be able to buy again, eventually, but I need to get myself under better control first. There's no reason why, eventually, I shouldn't be able to have peanut butter in the cabinet and eat it in moderation, but I don't think I'm capable of that at the moment. So it's not in my house. Report
COOKIES are my trigger food. If I open the package it always be empty. I can't stand any cookies keep in bag. It's very hard to keep fresh and I can't control myself. I will eat one by one mindless. So I try myself not buy cookies home. Report
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