What Is A Trigger Food?

Oh those trigger foods. They are the ones that trigger overeating because you just can’t seem to get enough of it. They also can lead you to eat other foods that you weren’t even thinking of eating.

Trigger foods vary from person to person. Some people find that their trigger foods fall into one food category such as candy, ice cream or chips. Others find that their trigger foods are all related by texture such as crunchy (cookies, chips, pretzels) or smooth (ice cream, mashed potatoes). Often trigger foods are processed foods high in either sugar or fat or even both.

One way to determine if a food is a trigger food is to spend a week writing down what you ate and drank as well as how you were feeling at the time you ate. You might also include how you felt after eating and if you over ate. This might help you discover which foods trigger over eating. It might also help connect which foods become trigger foods for certain emotions.

I’ve discovered that some foods are not trigger foods in a particular form. Rice is one of those foods. While I eat small amounts of rice it’s one of those take it or leave it foods. Depending upon what I’m eating with it I might have some or just pass on it. While testing out some of the recipes in the Recipes For Life After Weight Loss Surgery Book I made their delicious Almond Milk Rice Pudding. You can top it with a few dried cranberries and almond slivers. The other members of my family are not rice pudding fans. While I like the stuff, and used unsweetened almond milk and splenda, there was just something about the combination of sweet, creamy and a little crunchy that sent me over the edge. I found myself grabbing a few spoonfuls here and there throughout the day. From there I found myself craving bagels. While we have them in the house but it’s not something I normally crave. I wanted ice cream too! I stay very far away from ice cream. Just a few spoonfuls of the stuff makes me sick and causes dumping. Yet I wanted it. I kept thinking to myself that perhaps I would just have one spoonful. A little taste can’t hurt right?

rice pudding

Argh….some how rice pudding is now a trigger food. The recipe says it makes 8 servings that are 3/4 cup in size. That’s a lot of rice pudding. Every time I looked into the container there was less and less. I commented that I was surprised others were eating. Turns out no one else was eating the stuff. I was slowly working my way through the whole batch! While I hate to toss out perfectly good food this is one time I make an exception. It had to go!

Thinking back I have been picking up extra hours at work now that it is school vacation. The time I pick up is often on the night shift which means I don’t sleep well the next day. Being a bit sleep deprived is yet another thing that can trigger over eating as well. The combination of the lack of sleep and high carb, creamy, sweetness of the pudding created a trigger food. Now it’s time to go back to focusing on protein and vegetables to see if I can kick these cravings.

How about you? Have you discovered any foods that weren’t trigger foods for you but suddenly became one?

Picture: Betherann

2 Responses to What Is A Trigger Food?

  1. Funny I had to smile after your post. I find rice which I can only eat when moist. Bread. And white flour products spike my sugars. They throw off my body some how leaving it thinking it needs more. Or it is not done. I try to stay away or not eat this thing by themselves.
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    • I’m not usually a big fan of rice and only eat it in small amounts in certain things. I think this is why the intense cravings caught me off guard. I tend to avoid high carb things due to the reactive hypoglycemia I have. Milk is liquid death for me so it’s very easy to avoid ice cream. I thought the rice pudding would be fine since I didn’t eat the 3/4 cup size serving. But no. It appears this combination of food and texture set off something. The good thing is I noticed before I made another batch because I was craving more.