When addicts seek help for substance abuse in residential recovery programs, their treatment includes a number of elements. Along with the counseling sessions and attending 12-step meetings, clients learn life skills to help them undo some of the damage caused by poor diet and irregular eating.
Nutrition Tips to Help Addicts Continue to Improve Their Health Once They Leave the Addiction Nutrition Program:
- Set up a regular schedule for mealtimes. Having a routine is important for people in recovery, and eating at the same time every day provides much-needed structure.
- Be sure to stay well hydrated. It’s important to get enough fluids throughout the day. Use a refillable water bottle and make a point of drinking water regularly to avoid dehydration.
- Eat a balanced diet that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
- Plan to eat three meals and two healthy snacks each day. Some addicts don’t recognize the normal feeling of being hungry when their appetite returns in recovery. Going too long between meals may be interpreted as a drug craving, which can trigger the urge to start using again.
- Avoid high-calorie foods packed with sugar and which have little nutritional value. People who were taking stimulants may be drawn to these types of foods, but they will only cause blood sugar levels to spike and then drop off quickly.
- Taking a multivitamin supplement helps to ensure all necessary elements for good health are present. No one eats a perfectly balanced diet all the time, and the addiction nutrition program instructor will explain there will be times when clients make better choices about nutrition than others. Rather than deciding some foods are “good” or “bad,” a better option is to make good choices most of the time and take vitamins every day.
- Choose high-fiber foods more often. They create a fuller feeling that will carry a person through to his or her next scheduled meal or snack and make it easier to resist sugary treats in between meals.
- Reduce caffeine intake. It can interfere with normal sleep patterns when ingested later in the day. Be aware that it is found in soft drinks and coffee, as well as chocolate.
- Consider taking a fish oil supplement to increase the body’s magnesium levels. It contains the omega-3 fatty acid EPA, which can improve mood.
- Consult with a nutrition counselor to work up a diet plan. Individual and group sessions may be helpful to stay on track with a healthy eating plan.
Following these nutrition tips and the strategies learned at the substance abuse recovery program will help clients stay on the right track to long-term sobriety and better health.