Maintaining a healthy diet is an essential aspect of sustained sobriety. Balanced nutrition enhances a person’s social, emotional, physical, and mental well-being, supporting sustained sobriety.2 Sober living residents will experience many physical and mental benefits if they choose to prioritize healthy eating throughout the duration of their transitional living programs and after program completion. Maintaining a healthy diet while transitioning into a life of independent recovery isn’t always easy, but it will help the body, mind, and spirit heal as newly sober individuals learn how to maintain their sobriety.
Here are a few of the main benefits for people in recovery who are looking to prioritize nutrition in their recovery process:
- Physical healing: First and foremost, a healthy diet will replenish lost nutrients and enhance physical healing. It takes time to repair the physical damage done by drug and alcohol abuse, but a diet rich in amino acids and other key nutrients will help individuals overcome physical deficiencies.
- More energy: Nutritious foods also fuel the body, providing more energy to participate in physical activities.
- Stronger immune system: A healthy diet will also boost the immune system, protecting you from sickness, infection, and disease.
- Mood enhancing: Healthy eating habits also enhance mood and behavior, which will serve as a natural treatment for sober living residents suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
There are plenty of benefits to maintaining a healthy diet in addiction recovery, but a person with unhealthy eating habits may be more likely to relapse.
How to Maintain Good Nutrition in Recovery: 5 Tips
If you’ve recently completed a drug rehab program, it can be challenging to return to your life at home without a plan to maintain healthy eating habits. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to maintain good nutrition in recovery on your own and regain physical and mental balance in your life:
- Consult with a dietitian. As a person who is in recovery from addiction, your nutritional needs may differ from the average person. Although you may be done with detox and drug rehab, your body will still need time to recover and rebalance itself. Consulting with a dietician is a great way to properly asses your nutritional needs, get a plan in order, and work with someone who will help keep you accountable to your dietary goals.
- Stock your refrigerator and pantry with healthy foods. Maintaining a healthy diet is difficult when you’re surrounded by tempting, unhealthy, and overly processed foods. On the other hand, if you make sure your refrigerator and pantry are well-stocked with healthy, whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats, you’re much more likely to make wise decisions about the food you eat.
- Meal plan. Achieving your goals for healthy nutrition in recovery will be much easier if you have a plan. For example, you may want to write out a schedule of daily meals for yourself, so you aren’t caught off guard, hungry and without a plan. Choosing a certain day to meal prep may also help you prepare meals ahead of time so that breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are easy to access and take with you to work or school.
- Set goals for yourself. Just like you prioritize your recovery goals, setting goals for your nutrition is just as important. Having goals for your nutrition and physical health will help keep you motivated, accountable, and will also be a great way to keep track of your progress.
- Don’t forget about physical exercise. Healthy eating on its own is great, but pair it with physical exercise and you’ll really start seeing and feeling the results. A healthy, balanced diet will ensure that you have the energy to stay active in recovery and the two together will promote more restful sleep as well as decrease feelings of anxiety and depression.
Maintaining a healthy diet in addiction recovery has countless benefits that reach far beyond physical looks and abilities. By prioritizing nutrition in recovery, you may find that many different aspects of your life will improve, from your physical and emotional health to your spiritual health.