Establishing Healthy Eating Habits While in Sobriety


Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Recovery from an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is a process that involves learning healthier coping mechanisms and reestablishing habits that support health and sobriety. Living under the influence of drugs and alcohol is counterproductive to self-care, as person often neglects basic needs in pursuit of the substance to which one is addicted.

One important part of self-care that is often lost are healthy eating habits and general good nutrition. This can result in a myriad of side effects and negative consequences for the person struggling with addiction.

Building New Habits

Being in recovery from addiction allows a person to rebuild new habits that support their health and wellness once again. Learning to eat adequately and nourish one’s body appropriately through nutrition is an important step in the recovery journey.

Depending on the severity of an addiction, a person may not be used to eating normal meals or even know what foods to eat to support health and nutrition.

Nutrition Can Be Overwhelming

Learning to eat healthy can be overwhelming for any person, especially for someone who has struggled with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. It is important to know that this process can happen gradually and by making small changes over time.

You may consider working with a professional, such as a registered dietitian, who can offer you guidance on eating with your eating habits. Having a basic meal plan can give you a foundation for building eating habits that support your long-term recovery.

Small Changes to Make

man-828739_640Small changes that you might consider making include eating small, frequent meals, aiming for variety and balance, and eating foods that incorporate food from all the food groups, including lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy and whole grains.

Healthy eating habits include moderation, balance, and learning to listen to and honor your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Another important aspect of healthy eating is hydration. Ensure that you are drinking enough fluids throughout the day, including water, fresh juices, milk and teas.

Learning to eat healthy once more is a process that can happen gradually with commitment and effort to the process.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What were effective methods and approaches that helped you reestablish healthy eating habits while in recovery? What were some challenges that you may have encountered while learning to build healthy eating habits in your life once again?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 8th, 2015
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