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Personal trainer tips: Managing your 'trigger' foods

Do you know what we mean when we say trigger foods? Do you find it difficult to stay away from certain foods that you think might be hampering your progress? Well, hopefully we can provide some answers for you!

What are trigger foods?

Trigger foods are food items you consume that can trigger negative changes and undesirable effects that will hamper your progress.

So, if we take chocolate bars, for example - this might be something you really enjoy so you eat a whole bar - after you’ve eaten it, you’ll more than likely want to eat more as the high sugar content is likely to interfere with your hunger and cravings. So, it’s not just the consumption of the chocolate bar, but also how it makes you feel after, and this can set you up badly for the rest of the day, leaving you to make poorer choices.

Other things that may be a trigger for you could include:

  • Artificial sweeteners

  • Dairy & gluten products

  • Nuts & nut butters

  • Alcohol

  • Foods both high in carbs & fat (takeaway food)

How do I avoid trigger foods?

It can be difficult to avoid trigger foods altogether, we have all probably been in an office scenario at some point where you’re trying your hardest to eat clean and sure enough two people have a birthday and someone is on their last day, so all you can see is tables of cakes and chocolate! Not ideal.

The best tip we can give you is to always be prepared that you might come across your trigger food, so make sure you have a ‘buffer’ ready to go. A buffer food can be something that will take that edge off it, without being as bad as the trigger food. So, if someone is handing out the chocolates and you have, for example, a protein bar or a couple of squares of dark chocolate, they will satisfy the craving and be less detrimental both in terms of caloric intake and how you feel after.

Swapping things such as fizzy drinks for sparkling water or ice cream for natural yogurt or a fruit smoothie can also leave you feeling satisfied without going off track.

Should I never eat my trigger foods?

It’s good to have a treat meal once a week where you enjoy your favourite naughty snack or meal, but if you have a trigger food that hampers you daily then you need to find that buffer to help you out.

It may sound obvious, but don’t buy your trigger food and keep it in the house, keep the temptation away and keep some buffer foods in instead. Wait for that treat meal!

It goes without saying that eating too much of some buffer foods can cause an issue too, so only use them if/when you have cravings or are in that situation where trigger foods are present.

If you struggle with this sort of thing and need further information on nutrition, you can get in touch with our expert personal trainers in Bristol by calling 0117 403 7600, or email

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