The holidays are known for bringing family and friends together for house parties and evenings out on the town. And no matter where you’re at or who you’re with, there will be food and lots of it!
From dinner favorites like ham and mashed potatoes to sugary desserts like cookies, cakes and yule logs, there’s so much to indulge in. But this can be a problem if you’re recovering from alcohol or drug addiction.
One of the keys to maintaining your sobriety is to follow a healthy diet. Unfortunately, the holidays mean there will be sugary foods and alcohol everywhere you turn. So, what are you to do if you want to keep your recovery from addiction going strong?
In this article, we’ll review why nutrition is so important to your recovery and give you 7 ways to avoid unhealthy foods during your holiday parties and family get-togethers this year.
Why Nutrition Matters to Your Recovery
When you were struggling with alcoholism or drug abuse, part of the damage was the lack of nutrition you were getting. Without proper nutrients, your body and mind weren’t able to function the way they were supposed to.
For example, your brain needs nutrients like amino acids, vitamin B and magnesium to create dopamine and other neurotransmitters that help you feel good. These and other nutrients are also required to keep your gut healthy and ensure that your blood sugar levels remain stable.
Without a healthy diet that includes proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and vegetables, your body and brain were starved of proper nutrients. This is why you probably suffered from malnourishment, fluctuating blood sugar levels and other health issues while addicted.
By rebuilding your nutrition in addiction treatment and maintaining a healthy diet in recovery, you’re able to ward off impulsive behaviors tied to low blood sugar levels and give your body and mind the nutrients needed to feel happy, stay healthy and make smart decisions.
7 Tips to Follow to Eat Healthy During the Holidays
Contrary to popular belief, the holidays don’t have to derail your recovery diet. All you need are some tips on how to avoid unhealthy foods and drinks that pose a danger to your sobriety:
- Eat Before Going to Parties. It’s common to arrive to a party hungry because you know there’s going to be food. But when you’re hungry, you tend to make unwise decisions about what you put in your body. Instead of taking that risk, try eating a healthy meal before attending holiday parties. This will help you feel less tempted to snack on chips or cookies while waiting for dinner.
- Rely on Your Support System. Whether you’re going out with friends or attending a family get-together, make sure you have someone there who is part of your support system and understands how important nutrition is to your recovery. They can help you stay away from sugary foods and ensure you steer clear of the alcohol.
- Stay Alcohol-Free. Speaking of alcohol, it’s absolutely necessary that you avoid drinking alcohol during the holidays. Even if your addiction hadn’t been to alcohol, drinking can easily turn into another addiction or cause you to relapse on the drugs you used to struggle with. Stick with healthy, non-alcoholic beverages like water or natural lemonade, and if you feel tempted, reach out to your support network immediately.
- Bring Your Own Snacks. It’s a lot easier to find cookies, cakes and candy at holiday parties than healthy snacks and appetizers. Instead of hoping there will be healthy foods for you to munch on, be proactive and bring your own nutrient-packed snacks. These can include nuts and seeds, yogurt, cheese sticks, beef jerky and protein smoothies.
- Socialize Away from the Food Tables. How many times have you fallen into conversation with a friend and didn’t realize until after that you had been snacking? It’s easy to mindlessly eat when you’re distracted. And since you’ll be chatting a lot with family and friends, make sure to do so away from the food tables to ensure you don’t overindulge in foods that you shouldn’t.
- Watch Your Sugar Intake. Sugar oftentimes serves as a replacement addiction for those in recovery because it helps you feel good in the same ways alcohol or drugs do. Too much sugar is not only unhealthy for you, but it can also put you at risk for relapse. If you’re baking for the holidays, make sure you use natural sugar like Stevia. And when at parties, watch how much sugar you’re actually eating.
- Eat in Moderation. This leads to our final tip. Just like anything in life, it’s best to eat foods and drinks in moderation. You can enjoy chocolates or ice cream, but don’t overindulge to the point where your diet is primarily sugar and junk food. Feel free to enjoy a dessert or two this holiday season, just as long as you also maintain a balanced diet.
Get Addiction Help at Fountain Hills Recovery
For people in recovery, the holidays can be challenging. Besides all the tempting treats and alcohol, the holiday season can be depressing for some. If you feel like you need to drink or use drugs to get through the holidays or if you’ve already relapsed, Fountain Hills Recovery can help.
As Arizona’s top luxury addiction treatment center, we take a highly personalized and holistic approach to addiction treatment that focuses on your individual needs and struggles. Our mission is to provide caring and compassionate treatment, never judging you or making you feel bad for struggling with substance abuse. When you’re here, your recovery is our top priority.
Are you ready to get addiction treatment that can help you achieve long-term recovery? Our admissions team is ready to answer any questions you have, so contact us today.