Dietary Changes for Acid Reflux/ GERD

by Jennifer Mitchell Wilson B.S. Dietetics, Dietitian, Health Professional

While diet has not been shown to cause acid reflux it can definitely help to lessen the symptoms for those suffering with the disease.
There are several foods that have been shown to trigger acid reflux.
Those include: alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, citrus foods, fatty or fried foods, tomato based foods, spicy foods and mint or mint flavored foods.
These foods do not elicit symptoms for everyone suffering from acid reflux but they are a good jumping off point for determining what might be triggering your own symptoms.

If your acid reflux disease also comes with painful bloating it may be wise to limit gas causing foods.
Some common gas producing foods include: cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips and kale), beans, lentils and carbonated beverages.
When your symptoms calm you can try adding some of these foods into your diet plan gradually.

It is also important that people suffering from acid reflux include an adequate amount of fiber and water in their diet.
Fiber and water can both help to move foods through the digestive tract in a timely manner.
If you are constipated or have eaten a lot of foods that are digested slowly (like fatty or fried foods and rich dairy products) it can aggravate your symptoms.

In the same vein eating small more frequent meals can also help to alleviate distress caused by acid reflux.
Small more frequent meals prevent the stomach from being "over full" and put less pressure on the LES.

This can help to limit the painful heartburn of acid reflux.

Most people following this type of plan choose to eat six small meals each day.
For example, a person consuming 1,800 calories/day would need six meals with approximately 300 calories each.
If you require more of less calories you can
alter the size of each meal to fit your individual needs.

For GERD symptoms that are severe you may also want to consume your beverages between meals to further limit the bulk in your stomach.

Always consult your physician before
beginning a new diet plan.

Sample Menu: (Based on 1,800 calorie/day dietary needs).

Mini Meal 1:


1 egg, 2 whites

2 oz low fat cheese

½ c. cooked spinach

water or calorie free beverage

Mini Meal 2:

1c. fresh melon cubes

¾ c. low fat cottage cheese

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 tsp butter

water or calorie free beverage

Mini Meal 3:

Pita Sandwich:

½ Pita

2 oz white meat chicken (cooked)

1 oz avocado

1 c. salad greens

1 tsp. dressing as tolerated

water or calorie free beverage

Mini Meal 4:

1 small banana with

1 tbs. peanut or almond butter

¾ oz pretzels

8 oz skim milk

Mini Meal 5:

Stir Fry:

2 oz pork chop

½ c. zucchini

½ c. summer squash

1/3 c. cooked brown rice

1 tsp olive oil

*fresh herbs as tolerated

water or calorie free beverage

Mini Meal 6:

1 c. yogurt

¼ c almonds, granola or Grape Nuts

water or calorie free beverage

*Season each meal as tolerated.

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson
Meet Our Writer
Jennifer Mitchell Wilson

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson is a dietitian and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.