woman selecting vegetables as she plans meals for the week

The Ultimate Diet Guide to Planning Your Drug Detox Menu

Want to make your drug detox easier? While sweet foods might feel comforting in the moment, your body will feel better overall if you’re eating food full of nourishment. Drug detox isn’t just about quitting an addiction. It’s also about replacing the bad with the good. And according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “A person with substance use is more likely to relapse when they have poor eating habits.” Today we’re covering how to plan a detox menu that gives your body the nutrients it needs to recover.

Why Junk Food Won’t Work

Your body needs nutrients to heal

Addiction masks some pretty serious nutritional deficiencies. Providing your body with those missing nutrients is going to be crucial to helping it cope with withdrawals and get back on track. Plus, when you’re feeling better, it’s much easier to ignore cravings.

Your body needs fiber

While a multivitamin does help replace some nutrients if you’ve been eating poorly for a while, it can’t sustain you long-term. Make sure you’re getting lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Not only will the fiber keep your digestive system happy, but it also regulates  your blood sugar. That means fewer mood swings, and an easier time staying on course.

You don’t want to replace your addiction

Yes, sugar is the far lesser of two evils. But many people in recovery use sugar and caffeine to keep feeling awake and alert. Over time, your brain will expect food to taste sweet, and the healthier foods just won’t taste as good. Gaining more weight than is healthy can become a problem if you’re using sugar as a substitute for your addiction.

What Your Body Needs

The nutrition your body needs will vary depending on the substance you’ve been using. Here are four common addictions and what to eat for each:


Opiates such as Oxycontin and heroin affect the digestive system, and individuals addicted to these substances will often deal with constipation, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Because of this, individuals with opiate addictions often have an electrolyte imbalance. Focusing on a high-fiber diet will help sort out the gastrointestinal problems. Think vegetables, whole grains, and beans.


  • Although alcohol is more accessible than other drugs, it can certainly be just as damaging to the body (if not more so). Alcohol is empty calories, and the lack of nutrition shows.
  • Alcoholism usually causes deficiencies in vitamin B6, thiamine, and folic acid. Individuals with alcoholism also often have an imbalance of fluids, electrolytes, and protein. All of this can lead to damage in the live and pancreas, as well as high blood pressure and seizures.
  • A recovering alcoholic will need a well-rounded diet to combat the often severe malnutrition. Women who have been heavy drinkers for a while will often benefit from calcium supplements as they’re at a high risk for osteoporosis.


Stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine give a high that reduces appetite and the need for sleep. Because of this, your body will likely need lots of liquid to combat dehydration, and all around better nutrition. Staying up for extended periods of time can do a number on your body, and heavy stimulant use can cause permanent memory damage.


Unlike other drugs, marijuana increases your appetite. However, this means you’ll often be eating foods high in fat and sugar. During detox, your focus will be on scaling back your caloric intake and finding balance with foods that nourish your body.

Detox Meal Planning: The Basics

Deciding to detox is a difficult step for many people. But having a plan in place can make things go much smoother. Here’s what to remember when you’re planning your meals.


Nothing more to it. Drink lots of water, and avoid sugar drinks like soda and fruit juice.

Eat your fruits and veggies

Aim for 5 to 9 servings every day. And don’t be afraid to have fun with this! There are tons of different types of fruit out there. Not big on apples? Try mangos. Hate celery? A spinach salad with strawberries, chopped walnuts, and a light vinaigrette is easy to make and delicious.


Protein is a building block of a healthy body. You don’t need much—WebMD suggests 46 grams of protein for women and 56 grams for men each day. And protein isn’t just in meat. A small container of yogurt has about 11 grams, and a cup of dry beans has 16.


A multivitamin can be extremely beneficial to kick-start your detox. Many people in recovery can benefit from a multivitamin with zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and B-complex. You may even want to look into homeopathic supplements like turmeric, milk thistle, and green tea. However, be sure to talk to your doctor before trying adding vitamins to your diet. Every person’s body is different, and you may need more of one nutrient than another. Also, certain vitamins can be harmful depending on what else you’ve been taking. Learn more about the best detox vitamins.

It’s not drug cravings; you’re hungry

Many people who have been using drugs for a long time have forgotten how hunger feels. When your body has a chance to recover, those feelings may come back in full force. If you’re craving something, it’s likely not drugs, but just food. Stick to regular mealtimes. This will teach your body when to expect food and help keep the hunger under control.

Learn how to cook a few meals

You don’t need to become a master chef. You’ll be surprised how far learning just a few basic meals will take you. EatingWell.com has a great collection of Cooking 101 tutorials. You might even consider investing in a slow cooker. You put the ingredients in, and a few hours later you have a hot meal waiting for you.

Sample meal plan

Here’s what a day of detox meals might look for you. Notice the balance of protein, fruits, and vegetables, and whole grains throughout the day.


It’s called the most important meal of the day for a reason. Try scrambled eggs with some chopped bell peppers and onion to get your protein and some vegetables. Still hungry? Cut up some fruit, spread some almond butter on toast, and have a mid-morning snack.


Give the salad a try. There are plenty of pre-made salad mixes that have all the ingredients ready to go. Look for dark leaves like spinach or kale. For an afternoon snack, stick with some nuts, string cheese, or applesauce.


Choose a protein, whole grain, and vegetable. This easy salmon recipe takes 15 minutes to make, and you could pair it with some quinoa and steamed broccoli. It all just takes a few minutes to complete, and you’ll feel way better afterward than you would eat a fast food burger. Are you used to dessert every night? You don’t need to cut it out. Just upgrade it. Try blending some frozen bananas, milk, and nut butter into “nice cream.” Top it with some cacao nibs or small piece of dark chocolate. When it comes to sweets, it’s all about moderation.

Are you ready to detox?

No matter how well you eat, some substances can be dangerous to detox from on your own. Call now to more about supervised medical detox and if detoxing in a medical facility is the best option for you. Our intake specialists are standing by to answer your questions.


Berger, Fred K., M.D. “Diet and substance use recovery.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 24 Feb 2014. Web. 28 Apr 2016. <https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002149.htm>. “Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 Sep 2015. Web. 27 Apr 2016. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983>. “Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment Training Manual.” SAMHSA. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009. Web. 28 Apr 2016. <https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA09-4331/SMA09-4331.pdf>. Nierenberg, Cari. “How Much Protein Do You Need?” WebMD. WebMD, 28 Feb 2011. Web. 28 Apr 2016. <http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/how-much-protein>. Foroutan, Robin. “What’s the Deal with Detox Diets?” Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 26 Apr 2016. Web. 28 Apr 2016. <http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/weight-loss/fad-diets/whats-the-deal-with-detox-diets>.
The Ultimate Diet Guide to Planning Your Drug Detox Menu
4.5 (90%) 2 votes
The Ultimate Diet Guide to Planning Your Drug Detox Menu was last modified: July 20th, 2017 by The Recovery Village