Even if you’re faithful with your workouts, do you ever give into those cravings for a particular food or drink? Once you’ve given in once, do you think you may as well continue to be “bad” just for that one day, since you already cheated? Do you find yourself being on track with your healthy eating choices for a few days, but then craving or temptation returns and you repeat that good/bad cycle all over again?
You can avoid these traps that keep you from achieving your fitness goals by knowing and recognizing your trigger items so you can avoid them consistently, instead of letting them send your diet into a tailspin. Most trigger foods are eaten out of habit or desire, not hunger (this is why they are usually referred to as a ‘weakness’). Most of these items are high calorie, processed foods that are filled with unhealthy carbs. Even when you’re full, trigger foods make you crave more of them, making it difficult to stop eating them once you’ve had ‘just a bit.’
Here are some of the most common trigger foods – see if yours are on this list and find out how you can swap them out for healthier choices!
This is one of the most addictive trigger foods and contains a high concentration of refined sugar. Try getting a natural sugar fix instead by eating unsweetened dried fruit, such as apples, pears, apricots, figs and mangoes. You may be surprised how satisfying the natural sweetness of dried fruit can be!
2. Salty Snacks:
Almost all salty snacks are processed, refined and packed with simple carbs. Fight the urge to rip open that bag of chips and instead, make a fresh batch of baked plantain chips. They have all the crunch and with a sprinkle of sea salt, will fulfill your salty craving and fill you up while providing your body some nutrients! You can make these yourself or purchase some at your local bulk or health food store.
3. Sweet Drinks:
Sodas that are made with high fructose corn syrup or coffee drinks that are made with simple syrups have one thing in common: loads of sugar. These addictive, high calorie drinks can be replaced with zero-calorie iced teas, water with fruit slices, and the use of stevia, a natural sweetener made from the stevia plant, to add sweetness to coffees and teas.
4. Fried Foods:
Mmmmm – french fries. These happen to be one of my weaknesses – in fact, I have a weakness for fried foods in general. (See, we all have our triggers, even me!) To eliminate these temptations, make homemade versions of your favourite fried foods by baking them, and then turning your oven to broil to get that crispy texture.
For example, cut sweet potatoes into fries, toss with olive oil and bake at 425-degrees for approximately 40 minutes, until crispy. The baked versions of your favourite fried foods will have considerably fewer calories, and you’re less likely to stuff yourself with them. It’s a win-win situation!
5. Baked Treats:
Cookies, cakes, donuts, muffins and brownies – oh, my! These are serious trigger foods that can be very difficult to avoid since they are often shared socially at parties and other celebrations.
To avoid these tempting treats, you can make your own healthier baked goods at home, and take along to the event so you’re not missing out. Changing a couple of the key ingredients will make your baked goods lower in carbs and less addictive. Regular or wheat flour can be replaced with almond flour or coconut flour, and sugar can be replaced with stevia in the raw, or a bit of raw honey.
Keep in mind that even healthier baked goods are still baked goods that are higher in calories and lower in nutrients, so they should still be eaten as a treat and in moderation.
Eating a healthy diet that is free from trigger foods is only one aspect of getting into amazing shape. You also need to be consistent with challenging exercise.
If you’re having trouble figuring out how to fit these healthy aspects of living into your busy lifestyle, I’m here to help. I can help take the guess work out of what’s healthy and what should be removed or minimized in your diet and I can show you how making small changes over time can truly transform your body and your life. All you have to do is show up and do your best.