Why is Nutrition Important in Recovery?

When someone enters treatment, it is because they are in the throes of their addiction and need to change their lives. More often than not, many simple daily human tasks get overlooked while poor habits are forming during addiction. These tasks can include things such as personal hygiene, the cleanliness of their home and even their eating habits. That is why we provide luxury, personalized dining services for our clients.

When someone is in addiction, they are more than likely either overeating or under eating. If they are overeating, it is likely food with low nutritional value, at very large amounts, at odd times during the day or night. If they are under eating, then they are lacking nutrition and could possibly be developing an eating disorder without knowing it.

Clients entering treatment can often feel emotionally overwhelmed – and this is normal. Since it is an emotional time for them and their families while going through a major life change, we work to make it as comfortable as possible. Experiencing new emotions for the first time while in different therapy sessions throughout the day can be difficult, which is why our dining services strive to make mealtime the most enjoyable, stress-free part of our clients’ days.

Nutrition’s Holistic Approach

Just as much as people overeat while in the middle of an addiction, there are many people who are forgetting to eat. Often times, they don’t even realize they are doing it until after they come into treatment. After a little bit of time in recovery, appetites start to come back and they are excited to eat delicious food again. Or, they can just as easily develop an eating disorder in order to cope with the emotional time they are going through in treatment.

This can be a time where people binge eat or further develop poor eating habits. For this reason, we have a resident dietician on staff who gives consults to all of our clients as they enter. Along with our dining services staff, they will also keep an eye out to see if someone might be developing an eating disorder. It’s a team effort, sometimes even tying in the clinicians. This includes education classes with the dietician on full nutrition, and how it plays a part with their actual recovery.

Our Kitchen’s Process

Upon entering Pinelands Treatment Center, we meet with every single patient and have them fill out a Dining Profile Sheet as part of their admissions packet. This sheet has the client detail any conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and more. They will also let us know their 3 favorite foods, as well as 3 things they will refuse to eat. Pinelands then writes a new menu every 4 days based on the Dining Profile Sheet, all in an effort to make mealtime the best, most enjoyable and stress-free part of their day. Three out of four of our chefs are in recovery, so we understand what our clients are going through.

Our scratch kitchen is a team effort. Our dining services include working with local culinary schools to recruit student interns twice a year. We also work closely with the local Jewish Family and Children’s Services to employ high-functioning special needs employees. Through this work, we have earned a Preferred Community Partner certificate and were named one of the Top Three Best Food Services Establishments in Burlington County – all within the last year.

Building Healthy Habits

Learning how to eat and cook nutritious meals for yourself can be difficult without the proper guidance. Knowing what foods to eat and which ones to avoid will help one’s overall health, and help start building healthy habits for when they eventually leave treatment. With one healthy choice to start off the day, such as a healthy breakfast, it can act as a domino effect to influence more healthy choices throughout the day such as exercise, hydration and staying on program.

The importance of nutrition in recovery isn’t just about what our clients eat. It’s also about their participation in the kitchen and building healthy habits. Our small group therapists organize chore groups with dining services, which details who is responsible for things such as cleaning and serving on a particular day. This helps our clients learn to be more responsible, accountable and learn to work with other people while getting out of their addiction.

About Pinelands Recovery Center

We work to improve the quality of life of each of our clients, right down to the food they eat. Drug and alcohol abuse can have major effects on the body, which is why we place importance on proper nutrition and hydration while in recovery. Poor nutrition can cause many other side effects such as anxiety, irritability, depression and impaired memory. All of these things can be distracting to staying on track with therapy and absorbing the process. Our dining services work to eliminate all these distractions and give our clients the best possible experience.

Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities. With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and a 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the lush piney woods. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your clean and sober life ahead.

We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.

We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit pinelandsrecovery.com