Meal Planning for Addiction Recovery

Contributed by: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, for Addiction Hope

Suffering with an addiction can alter the “normal” of your life. As you begin to recover and put back the pieces of your life, it is important to establish healthier habits that will allow you to maintain your recovery for the long term.

One helpful part of addiction recovery is learning how to adequately feed your body and prepare meals that are nourishing, healthful, and delicious. For many individuals in recovery from addiction, this can be easier said than done.

When you are fixed and addicted to your drug of choice, food often becomes a secondary necessity. It is not uncommon for addicts to use any grocery money for their next “fix” or to spend time getting high rather than eating. Part of self-care and staying in recovery will involve eating well to support your health and wellness.

Preparing for Meals

The process of meal planning and preparing meals can be overwhelming for anyone, especially one who is recovering from an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Perhaps you have forgotten what a “normal” and balanced meal should look like, or maybe you have spent quite some time away from cooking.

You may feel uncertain about what is a cohesive meal or intimidated by the kitchen. Regardless of your thoughts and feelings towards meal planning for yourself, it is important to know that you can start right where you are.

Little by little, you can learn and acquire new skills that will allow you to adequately feed your body.

How to Pick and Choose Meals

A good place to start with meal planning is by picking and choosing meals for the week ahead. Recruit the help of a trusted friend or family member, and decide on what you would like to eat for the week.

Sometimes a calendar and recipe book can come in handy, or a quick online search can pull up multiple recipe ideas for you. If the process of cooking is too overwhelming, start with something simple that requires little preparation effort.

Choose meals that will offer you balance and variety. Incorporating fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, proteins and healthy fats can offer you the nutrition you need.

Making a Grocery List

Young man in the officeBased on your meal selection for the week, formulate a grocery list. Identify the food items you will need to ensure you have groceries on hand to prepare your meals. You may find it helpful to organize your shopping list by categories to make your shopping experience easier.

Shopping for your food ahead of time can help you have ingredients you need to make balanced meals.

Meal planning if often a trial and error experience that becomes easier with practice. If you need additional assistance with meal planning during your addiction recovery, enlist the help of a Registered Dietitian, who can help support your nutritional restoration.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What has been your experience with meal planning in addiction recovery?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on February 27th, 2015
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