Healthy Food in Substance Abuse Recovery

Table of Contents

When a person struggles with substance abuse, they don’t usually follow eat healthy food and abusing some things like alcohol can cause vitamin deficiencies such as vitamin B.1 When a person is in recovery, eating healthy food can help them feel physically better and improve their mood.

What are Healthy Foods?

Healthy food is usually occurs in nature and don’t necessarily come premade in a box or package. They include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and protein sources such as fish and chicken. Healthy nutrition includes a balance of different types of foods.

Examples of Healthy food and the frequency you should eat them include:

Vegetables as often as you like:

Lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, broccoli, corn, bell peppers, spinach, and other delicious green vegetables.

Fruits two or three times a day: 

Bananas, pears, grapes, stawberries, peaches, blueberries, and raspberries.

Nuts and legumes one to three times a day: 

Black bean, navy beans, white beans, lentils, almonds, macadamia nuts, and many other options.

Fish, poultry, and eggs no more than two times a day: 

Salmon, turkey, eggs, and lean red meats.

Whole-grain foods regularly: 

Slow-cooked oats, whole-grain bread and pasta, brown rice, and other whole-grain bread options.

Dairy or calcium daily: 

Low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.

Rare or sparingly: 

Red meat, butter, white rice, white bread, white pasta, potatoes, sodas, and sweets.

Usually, healthy food is on the outer edges of the grocery store. The aisles usually have the packaged foods that may not be as healthy. If you stick to the outer aisles of the grocery store, you’re likely going to pick healthy food.

Healthy Food for Addiction Recovery

Food that contains the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine will help boost your dopamine level which can improve your mood and reduce cravings.

Food that has a lot of L-glutamine. L-glutamine improves your immune system and helps reduce sugar cravings, which are common during recovery.

Food that is heavy in antioxidants. Antioxidants build up your immune system, which is vital as you go through withdrawal.

Food that is rich in tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin which helps elevate your mood, making recovery a little easier.

How Do You Find Out if a Food is Healthy?


If a food is fresh (not in a package or boxed up), it’s usually healthy. Packaged foods aren’t necessarily unhealthy, but the closer you can get foods to their natural state, the better you’ll eat.

Once you start trying to eat healthier, one of the most guiding things to show how well you’re eating is how you feel. Usually, when you eat healthy food, you’ll feel better after a meal.


Food labels can help a lot in determining if a food is healthy. If you turn over a food’s package, look for one that has less than 30 percent of calories from fat.3 You want food that has a lot of nutrients listed under the vitamins section. If most of these are zero, it’s probably not healthy food.

When you eat foods high in fat or sugar, you usually start to lose energy and start to feel bloated a few hours after eating them.

How Can I Learn to Cook Healthy Food?

The good news about healthy eating is that the simpler things are, the healthier they are. You don’t have to cook elaborate meals or even know a lot about cooking to make healthy foods.

Meal Planning

A lot of people maintain their healthy eating pattern by cooking meals ahead of time and freezing them for a week. They call this “meal prepping.” Other people will write out their menus for the week, so they don’t have to go to a lot of trouble trying to figure out what’s for dinner every night.

Helpful Cooking Resources


They offer great ideas on healthy food combos and cooking. Another good resource is EatingWell. In addition to the healthy food tips discussed above, EatingWell suggests cooking with global flavors, keeping portions reasonable, and making sure to include health treats. 4

Support Your Recovery With Healthy Food

If a person is very malnourished because of their substance abuse, they need to talk to their doctor.5 They may need to be in the hospital or have a special diet to help rebuild strength. For others, the journey to eating healthy food continues to be an important part of recovery and living a full life. Taking time to plan ahead and create shopping lists and meal plans can help keep you from feeling stressed when learning to prepare healthy food.



Table of Contents

steroid-induced psychosis

What is Steroid-Induced Psychosis?

Steroids, potent and often indispensable medications, are recognized globally for their critical role in managing many medical conditions ranging from inflammatory diseases to autoimmune disorders.