Eating for Sobriety – What to Eat in Recovery - Banyan Treatment Center

Eating for Sobriety – What to Eat in Recovery


Finding sobriety from addiction is about what addicts are not ingesting anymore, including drugs and alcohol.

But an often-overlooked aspect of successful recovery is also what addicts have been missing. Alcoholics, for example, get as much as 50% of their daily calorie allowance from alcohol alone. [1] Many addicts are dealing with nutritional deficiencies or malnutrition, which can make recovery even tougher. The team at our Gilman detox center shares tips on what a recovering addict should eat.

Nutrition for Recovery

The body goes through considerable challenges during an active addiction, and healthy foods can help to mitigate some of the damage that has been done. Many detoxification processes can result in digestive issues as the body attempts to equalize. This is why it’s important to start eating well early in recovery, during medically monitored detox in Illinois for example. Eating well helps improve mood, regulate sleep, and establish a better routine for patients. [2] The healthy eating should extend well beyond detox and through treatment to solidify lasting sobriety.

There is a growing trend in drug and alcohol treatment that includes nutrition for recovery. In this approach, patients replace chemicals within the brain that have been altered by addiction through proper nutritional eating. High protein foods, for example, can help replace deficiencies in brain chemistry stemming from addiction. [3]

What a Recovering Addict Should Eat

There are a variety of foods to eat in recovery that can improve nutritional deficiencies and support overall health. Important foods to eat in recovery include:

  • Protein-rich foods. The amino acids within many high-protein foods are precursors to vital chemicals in the brain responsible for happiness and mood regulation, so eating protein-heavy foods can help mitigate the depletion that was caused by addiction.
  • Easily digestible foods. Addiction can create a substantial number of digestive issues, especially in early recovery. So focus on easily digestible foods early on, such as oatmeal, simple grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Add vitamins into the mix. Vitamins such as Omega 3 and Vitamins B and C can help improve the brain’s functionality post-addiction.
  • A good rule of thumb is to focus on eating nutritious foods in early recovery. Simple foods that are easy to digest are also important to eat when in recovery.

    Foods Addicts Should Avoid in Recovery

    Though you have worked on breaking free from drugs or alcohol, the pathways of addiction are still present. Nutrition for recovery also involves foods to avoid. Addicts should avoid foods that contain excessive amounts of sugar or caffeine, which are addictive on their own, let alone for someone who has just overcome substance use disorder.

    Our Illinois addiction treatment facility offers nutritional guidance in recovery. Call 888-280-4763 to learn more about our addiction treatment programs.


    1. NIH – Alcohol Alert
    2. Today’s Dietitian – Substance Abuse and Nutrition
    3. Integrative Psychiatry – Addiction Recovery
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