While there is no one specific diet for those of us living with acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), there are foods that can help us feel our best. Read ahead for five great recipes to enjoy during the summer months, from a tasty appetizer to a sweet dessert.
Appetizer: Grilled plantains
Plantains can be both sweet and savory, the taste mentally transporting you to a tropical island. They are relatively low in acid and packed with vitamins. When you shop for plantains, they need to be very ripe and will appear almost black.
6 very ripe plantains, peeled and sliced horizontally into half-inch thick slices
1/4 cup of canola oil
1/2 cup of brown sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbs butter
Heat grill to high. Place the brown sugar, salt, and butter in a small saucepan and cook until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
Brush the plantains with oil on both sides and grill until golden brown and caramelized, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and dab with the sugar glaze before serving.
Drink: Dreamy mango smoothie
Research shows that drinking alcohol above the recommended U.S. dietary guidelines significantly increases the risk of esophageal cancer. This smoothie is delicious and as much fun as any cocktail, without the added alcohol.
1 cup of coconut milk
1 dash of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of frozen mango
1/2 frozen and peeled banana
Put liquid in the blender first. Add the frozen fruit. Mix until blended and smooth. Serve in a summery cocktail glass.
Main course: Shrimp poke bowls
Poke bowls are all the rage. They originated in Hawaii and have fortunately made it to the mainland. I had my first poke bowl this summer outside of New York City, and now I am hooked! While the dish usually includes raw fish, you can also use ingredients like tofu or cooked shrimp. My family has been enjoying this shrimp version all summer.
Recipe (makes two bowls)
2 cups of rice (we use the boil-in-bag kind for convenience)
10 peeled and cooked shrimp
1/2 cucumber (peeled and sliced thin)
1 cup of cooked corn (we like to cut it fresh from the cob)
Creamy avocado dressing (there are several brands available in the grocery store)
1 tbs of chia seeds for decoration
The bowls are served cold, so on days when I am making poke bowls, I prepare the ingredients in advance and put them in the refrigerator until I am ready to assemble the bowls.
When building the bowls, start by splitting the rice between two bowls. The rice will be the base. Top with the corn, cucumber, and shrimp. Place the avocado slices on top. Drizzle the creamy avocado dressing on the bowls. Sprinkle seeds on top. Serve cold.
Side dish: Potato zucchini latkes
These little pancakes will help you use up the summer zucchini from your garden. They are relatively light because they are lightly browned and baked rather than fried.
2 Yukon gold potatoes (shredded with a box grater)
2 medium carrots (shredded)
1 medium zucchini (peeled and shredded)
1 onion (chopped) (only if tolerated)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbs of flour (gluten-free will work fine)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray and set aside. Shred the vegetables onto a clean kitchen towel. Over a sink, lightly squeeze the excess water out of the veggies. You will need some moisture for the pancakes to stick together, but you don’t want them to have excess water.
Heat a skillet to medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Mix the shredded vegetables with the egg, flour, salt, and pepper. Make the pancakes into small patties and place them in the skillet. Lightly brown each side just enough to help them keep their form. Remove from the skillet and place on the baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes or until the pancakes are cooked through but not too dry. Serve warm.
Dessert: Cool rice pudding
This dish was a go-to for us when our son was young and had severe reflux. It was sweet and cooling and didn’t make his reflux worse. Now that he is a teenager, I often serve him the pudding leftovers for breakfast and he loves it.
2 cups of cooked rice
About 2 cups of rice milk
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
Cinnamon (only if tolerated)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bread-sized glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, stir together the rice, milk, sugar, and salt. Pour into the baking dish. You want the rice to be covered by the liquid, so you may have to add more milk depending on how absorbent the rice is. Place in the oven. Remove after 15 minutes and stir, and add a little more milk if necessary. Return to the oven for 20 minutes. Remove, let cool, and then refrigerate. Serve cold in dessert cups or bowls. Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving (if tolerated).