Trigger Foods: What are Yours?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

Over the past four years on this never-ending journey, I have had to make many changes to keep me on this path. Some changes were much easier than others, but all changes, both big and small, have been necessary to keep me on course. One of the toughest changes was learning to how to deal with trigger foods.

So what exactly are trigger foods? Well, for me, they are the foods that once I start eating them it is very hard to stop. Itís as if I canít seem to get enough; foods such as chips, candy, cookies, ice cream, brownies, etc. While I would love to say I have developed the discipline to eat these in normal sized portions, I still struggle with these foods if I bring them home. But thatís OK because I have devised my own plan on how I deal with this situation.

  1. DO NOT bring these foods into the house. Oh, how I wish I had the self-control 100% of the time, but I must confess there are times when stress can lead me down a path that I would prefer not to go and NOT having my trigger foods in the house is how I deal best with this situation.

  2. I DO NOT deprive myself of any foods. I do not believe life-long deprivation of foods that I enjoy is realistic. In the past when I attempted to give up many of my favorite foods, once I was exposed to those foods, trust me I was a binge in the making.

  3. When I crave a specific food, I buy a single serving. M&Ms are one of my favorite treats, however, having a huge bag is not a good thing. This is when smaller individual servings help tremendously. If I crave ice cream, I will spend a little more money to go out for a cone. While the expense is a tad higher, for me, the price of guilt if I ate a half-gallon of ice cream would be far more expensive than the cost of the cone.

  4. Find a healthy alternative to replace my craving. This is where the Deep Chocolate Vitatops have been a life-saver. These are not only a healthier alternative to an ooey gooey brownie or piece of chocolate cake, but they have a nice healthy dose of fiber and vitamins, too.

  5. Out of sight, out of mind. Yes, even healthy foods, such as almonds and walnuts, can lead me to a binge, therefore putting these foods on the lowest shelf in the fridge in an opaque container forces me to look for them. Many times if I allow myself to get too hungry I will be like a hunter looking for his prey. But if the first thing I see are some fruits or veggies (which is why I do not store all my fruits and veggies in the veggie/fruit drawer) many times that will do the job.

While I would love to say that I have developed great disdain to chocolate, chips, especially Baked Lays, cookies, and other foods, Iím not quite there and I am not sure I ever will be. Ironically, now that I allow myself to eat ANY food, for some reason the cravings arenít that strong. More times then not, if I donít have them in the house, I can usually find something else to distract me until the craving passes. This journey is truly about each of us learning how to deal with the obstacles and writing our own ownerís manual.

How do you deal with trigger foods? What are your trigger foods? Do you believe our emotions have a connection to our relationship with trigger foods?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See More: , healthy living,
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
NEXT ENTRY >   Meat-Free Fridays: Tofu--Tasteless Blob or Tasty Protein?


  • 385
    Truer words have never been spoken - I thought I could manage having my trigger food (Stacey's Pita Chips) - you know, just put a serving size into a cup but I constantly went back for more. So this week, I decided to experiment and did not include them on my weekly shopping trip and amazingly, I survived. :-) - 5/6/2010   8:06:19 AM
    Ice cream is my trigger food. I can (and have many times) eaten two pints in one day :(. I might get in a little bit of trouble with other foods, but I get totally derailed when it comes to the cold, creamy deliciousness of ice cream. Thankfully, I'm not attracted to chips, sodas, fried food, cookies or candy, but I cannot stop once I take a bite of ice cream (or gelato). I eat it until I get sick-full. In the past, I've actually thought of your trick of only eating ice cream in a parlor, but once I'm in the grocery store, rounding that final corner, the ice cream stares me in the face while cooing "Look at me! I'm right here! Toss me in the cart and I promise you that you'll relish every single moment with me." - 5/6/2010   12:23:06 AM
    mine are pistachios... they are good for you but too much is bad because you can eat more than 1 cup at a seating :( and they are packed with lots of calories too - 5/5/2010   2:01:42 PM
  • TLRICE72
    My trigger food that cannot be in the house or anywhere in my vicinity...are doughnuts...any kind of doughnuts...bakery or store bought, glazed, chocolate, you name it. I've told people that my uncontrollable desire for doughnuts is the same as alcohol is to an alcoholic...they cannot be around me. If I can't eat just one, they cannot be near me...I haven't had any in a long time but if they are in reach, I eat until I'm sick. Then I feel terrible after. It's best to keep them away. - 5/5/2010   11:13:32 AM
  • 381
    cookies and chocolate for sure! - 5/5/2010   10:37:20 AM
  • 380
    My trigger foods are popcorn, Cheerios, chocolate, and cookies. I will actually eat Cheerios like a bag of popcorn handful after handful. I limit how much chocolate is in our home and usually when I cannot stand the craving much longer will take one piece of chocolate currently from my son's easter candy. The cookies aren't a big issue until around Christmas when I go on a bake-a-thon. But I've learned if I just go ahead and have 1 cookie from each variety I bake I get sugared out and the craving disappears. By keeping the house stocked now with veggies & fruits plus a few nuts (already counted out into proper portion size) I find myself reaching for those and so are my husband and son. - 5/5/2010   7:42:26 AM
    potato chips. If my husband buys a larger bag and I portion out a serving I still end up wanting more. My best bet is to not have them in the house. - 3/4/2010   7:43:46 AM
  • 378
    My trigger foods are cheezits, corn curls, etc. and sweets. Usually when I am craving these type foods, something is going on emotionally. I pray to get in touch with my emotions and deal with them. The cravings ceases when I do. But, if I don't I continue to make unhealthy food choices. Therefore, just one doesn't work for me. - 3/2/2010   9:46:57 PM
  • 377
    Mine is cereal, granola, and anything sweet. - 2/22/2010   8:11:31 PM
    I love desserts.... What I do now.... is make a cake or pan of brownies (only if I am going to visit someone.....) Then I can not cut it until I am at someone's house.... and then I leave the entire cake or pan of brownies.... but I have ONE piece when it is served to everyone else.... and it is not in my house waiting for me to finish the left overs.... My friends or family are happy for the treat.... and I am not eating a whoel pan of goodies alone.... - 7/5/2009   12:49:26 AM
  • 375
    I had a dietitian once tell me once that if there was a craving for a certain food, to eat a little before the craving got out of hand. I can now go weeks without eating chocolate, but when I get the craving for it, now I can just eat a few small pieces & be happy with that. I used to deprive myself of my trigger foods before, now I just remember the final goal & try to only eat a small portion of the food. - 7/2/2009   11:23:34 AM
  • 374
    All things Potato - Hash Browns (must have pork sausage, 3 slices toast, 3 eggs) French Fries (must have cheeseburger - double) Baked Potato (must have steak) I have replaced baked/mashed pot's with mashed cauliflower, love it. But morning is empty without hashbrowns, what's a good substitute? - 6/3/2009   3:03:30 AM
  • 373
    My trigger foods are either very high in sugar or very high in fat. ""Trigger Bliss" for me was ice cream and peanut butter because it contained the best of both trigger food worlds. Creative substitutes having smaller triggers for me include Sorbet (absence of fat) and mixed nuts (absence of sugar). - 5/20/2009   9:36:58 PM
  • 372
    Hello twin! I'm with you all the way!!
    My biggest weakness 'used to' be potato chips but I have put them on hold for the last almost six months (yes, I assure you) and I'm learning to DOSE all the others like chocolate (which I just cannot be parted from)!! lol I knew I wasn't alone in this but it feels so goood to know there are others who know exactly what my problem is like and are dealing with it also. So no excuse for me to wallow in it!! Great article. Cheered me up no end!!
    - 4/10/2009   8:06:00 AM
  • 371
    Wow it's good to know it not just me . I'm a junk food junky, in the past i could cook dinner for my family and would pick over it so that i would have room for my sweets, chips, cookies and anything i shouldn't have lol. But now i have more control of it. I do keep baked or light chips with sala in the house, but i find myself not wanting them. But the sweets can't come if i want it i buy one serving only and enjoy it very slowly. - 4/8/2009   8:44:01 AM
  • 370
    Thanks for writing this article. I am glad to see that I am not alone.
    How do you deal with trigger foods? I try not to bring them into the house. I give them away at work.

    What are your trigger foods? sweets and warm breads: muffins and almost any baked goods.

    Do you believe our emotions have a connection to our relationship with trigger foods? Definetly. Also fatigue and lack of sleep. - 4/6/2009   11:44:03 AM
  • 369
    Cereal, peanut butter, oreo's (or pretty much any cookie) - in the afternoons. In the morning, I am busy so I basically have time to eat and leave for work, but if I have a PBJ or bowl of cereal in the afternoon, it will lead to 2 or 3. I think it's the texture, and it's also dependent on my mood. (Crunchy foods = stress reduction?) And oreo's - they're just so yummy and I can eat them like potato chips! - 4/4/2009   9:55:01 AM
  • 368
    Pasta!!! Love it...can eat it breakfast lunch & dinner when I get on a roll. I just eat it room temp in the morning, it's my favorite breakfast. I'll stop right here cuz I'm going to make myself crave it!!! - 4/4/2009   1:37:30 AM
  • 367
    anything that is sweet... sugar snacks, cookies, chocolate, ice cream... - 4/3/2009   10:57:45 PM
  • 366
    My trigger food is of course Chocolate sometimes I just have to have some so I'm allowing myself to have some at least one time a week. If I tell myself I can't then I want it all the more so now I just look forward to my special Chocolate Day! - 4/3/2009   1:14:37 PM
    french bread & tortilla chips. I've started making my own salsa and I put it on EVERYTHING. But if I have chips I could eat half the bag without even thinking about it! Luckily my man isn't much into sweets so there isn't any of that around the house. so my sweet fixes normally come from fruit. - 4/3/2009   1:02:53 PM
  • 364
    Sugar, definately. CHOCOLATE! These are the 2 things I just can't do without yet. I have to have my coffee in the morning, and still can't get used to the sweetners. Most of them are not good for you or they leave a bad taste in your mouth. It's good to hear someone say they still eat M&M's (small bag). I don't feel alone and I guess if theirs a craving...let it be small. - 4/3/2009   12:09:18 PM
    Carbohydrates!!! I am addicted to sugar no matter how it comes. I seem to have a really hard time with portion control in most cases. It's really hard for me and I work out a minimum of 5days a week..... - 4/3/2009   11:06:08 AM
    My triggers are definitely chocolate and tortellini. I can't buy a package of tortellini because I will eat it all on my own. I definitely don't bring them into the house anymore and I try to come up with alternatives. - 4/2/2009   9:42:17 PM
    potato salad, devilled egg potato salad, and chicken chili are the top 3.....all from safeway....
    i avoid safeway when im weak and i dont buy them unless im aware that ill end up eating it all. So, really, i just dont allow it in the house or im setting myself up for a binge. Moderation and portion control are not my strongest traits as an all or nothing person:/ - 4/2/2009   5:30:00 PM
  • *DEVA*
    trigger food is fries. I can never seem to just eat them alone. they have to come with a sandwich and something to drink. - 4/2/2009   3:33:30 PM
  • 359
    my two biggest trigger foods are cake and pizza. I just can't bring that stuff into the house anymore becuase I can eat the whole thing in one sitting! Ice cream and chocolate are triggers too, but I'm finding more diet friendly substitutes to calm those cravings. - 4/2/2009   3:31:56 PM
  • 358
    My trigger food is cold cereal with milk, and at night. I will eat my son's sugary, or chocolatey cereal maybe two bowls at a time. I think it's the sweet I crave. I'm not going to buy him anymore sugary cereals, but switch him over to the healthy line of kids cereals. - 4/2/2009   11:33:06 AM
    I usually crave salty snacks (chips, snack crackers, etc.) before sweet but I've been known to down half a package of cookies before! I'm trying to learn to portion out my snacks and savor's not easy! - 4/2/2009   10:58:56 AM
  • RAINBOW333
    mine is definately chips of any kind and dip. i've learned to try to make sliced sweet potato chips and bake them with a spice on them. - 4/2/2009   10:13:11 AM
  • 355
    Potato Chips, onion dip, cheese!! Never enough once I start. Also, I do enjoy wine (red and white both) - 4/2/2009   10:06:30 AM
    Brownies! I love brownies. Just the smell of the is enough to send me over the edge. I can't eat one brownie...I eat half the pan. Seriously! Needless to say they CAN NOT be made at my house any longer! - 4/2/2009   9:52:55 AM
    My trigger food? Wine. I love red. I Love white. I love wine. Chocolate, which I also love, is distant second to a fabulous glass of wine.

    - 4/2/2009   8:56:03 AM
  • 352
    Reading all these articles with food in them is my trigger! And with all the ads, i could eat all day! Will Power! Just pretend those are x-lax and the hunger goes away! - 4/2/2009   1:56:32 AM
  • 351
    Cookies are probably the hardest, but I have a hard time with sweets period! That's where Lindt 70% chocolate has saved the day more than once. I have developed a taste for this dark chocolate and just a small amount (2 squares = 110 calories) is rich enough to satisfy. Rarely does a day go by that I don't eat my allotment of helps keep me on track knowing I have that to look forward to. It's a bonus that dark chocolate is full of antioxidants! - 4/1/2009   11:35:00 PM
    Lay's Wavy Potato Chips are my trigger! Out of sight, out of mind and I NEVER buy them. I eat Popchips if I have the craving, but nothing will take the place of Wavy Lay's for me! - 4/1/2009   9:28:13 PM
  • 349
    Chocolate chip cookies, ice cream and anything that you can grab a handful of (because I can never grab just one handful!)

    Cookies in general are probably my worst thing...

    I try not to keep them in the house as well, but have to watch the cafeteria at work. - 4/1/2009   2:31:24 PM
  • 348
    well, cheese nachos,salt bagels WITH cream cheese, pizza..I guess basically if it's salty and or starchy I WANT IT! guess I can mention Jack Daniels too! - 4/1/2009   12:47:04 PM
  • 347
    My trigger foods are carbohydrates of any kind , hard to keep all out of the house, when I am craving I chug water till hopefully if passes! - 4/1/2009   11:13:53 AM
  • 346
    Peanut butter and cereal are my worst triggers. So Peanut Butter Bumpers cereal is possibly the worst - a combo of both!! I don't have it at home...the box wouldn't last more than 2 days anyway. - 4/1/2009   11:09:58 AM
    salty anything, and I eat all of it [mostly chips] so now I buy the no or low salt things, so I am better. - 4/1/2009   10:31:58 AM
    I love all foods! haha...but chocolate and ice cream are my worse enemies! ...especially since I am allergic to cookies and cakes, ice cream is my go to relaxing food, but I am also lactosentolerant and allergic to chocolate, so i wish i had more willpower:( - 4/1/2009   10:27:01 AM
    My trigger food is cereal. I can pretty much eat a whole box of any kind of cereal in about 2 days! I just crave that carby goodness. Lately, I've started trying to not buy it and to have other ideas for healthy breakfasts in the house. - 4/1/2009   9:41:36 AM
    My trigger food is fresh, hot white bread cheese sandwiches. Actually bread in general. Also Big Korn Bites BBQ flavour - 4/1/2009   9:20:21 AM
  • 341
    Candy and my home-made kettle corn. Now, if I want candy I get the smallest bag it comes in and split it with my son or fiance. I try to avoid making my kettle corn all together, its just that yummy and I always seem to binge. - 4/1/2009   12:24:24 AM
    340 is my trigger...if i drink pop then i want chips and then i dont stop eating. - 3/31/2009   11:46:47 PM
  • 339
    Chips and salsa as well. I don't allow refills. I could eat them and eat them until someone tears me away and still keep eating them. Way past my "fullness" I still could eat them. Mmmm. Chips and salsa. - 3/31/2009   11:00:24 PM
  • 338
    Trigger food is ice cream. I used to eat a pint at a time. Now I buy single serving size. When I eat one, I eat very slowly and make it last as long as I can. - 3/31/2009   8:13:47 PM
  • NICOLE0233
    My worst trigger food is chips. They are deadly. I had a bag in my house, it was the worst thing ever! It's as if they were starring me in the face! And it's like that Lay's commercial slogan "I bet you just can't have one". What I do is give the foods to someone else in the house lol. Usually my dad or brother or someone. If I can give into it, I will just simply dump them in the garbage.
    If I do have horrible food int he house, I try not expose it. Stopping eating munchy foods is like quitting smoking. I am serious! I'd rather just go cold turkey instead of small portions. - 3/31/2009   7:17:01 PM
    I love ice cream sandwiches and cheeseburgers with BBQ sauce, most fast food items. Whenever I'm stressed I seem to seek out these items. For me it's not so much the temptation at home but when I'm out and about and it seems easier to grab bad food and rationalize eating it out of lack of time. What I've started doing is not only writing down every time I splurge in a food journal, but also every time I resist the urge to eat something bad. At the end of the week when I see how many times I didn't give in it feels good. Before I only focused on the negative which actually just made my goals seem more difficult to obtain and maintain. - 3/31/2009   5:45:19 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›