A new season often means new routines. If your child lives with acid reflux, summertime may include opportunities to eat more often or eat different kinds of foods. The following will help you keep your child with acid reflux feeling good throughout the summer.
1) Set up a snack box.
Summer can mean more time to mindlessly graze the pantry. Setting up a container in the pantry that is filled with low-acid food and labeled for your child can allow him to choose reflux-friendly food without your assistance. A prepared container might include rice cakes, all-natural granola bars, instant rice noodles, baked potato chips, and little boxes of healthy cereal.
2) Send snacks to friends’ houses ahead of time.
There are probably a few special friends your child will be spending the majority of his time with this summer. If this is the case, supplying the parents with reflux-friendly snacks ahead of time can save them time and money. When my son with acid reflux was younger, we made sure his favorite play dates had a stash of his favorite crackers, chips, and granola bars, which we supplied at the beginning of summer. Often, his playmates would end up loving his food, which made him feel good.
3) Keep medication habits the same.
Managing acid reflux can be tricky. The time of day when medication is taken can make a big difference. Sometimes, if you make a medication change, you may not know if it is working or not for several weeks. Therefore, if your child is presently taking his medication first thing in the morning or just before bed and it is working, try to maintain that schedule throughout the summer.
4) Show your child the healthy options at local summer food places.
When our son with acid reflux was young, we took him around to different places and showed him what food would be best for him at which place. Doing this ahead of time was hugely beneficial. It not only made him feel like we trusted him to make the right choices when we would not be around, but it prevented him from being with another family and having to figure it out alone. He also knew ahead of time that he would never be left out; that each place had something for him to safely choose.
5) Discuss the importance of healthy eating with your child.
Summer can be a season of late-night pizza, baseball chili dogs and hot fudge sundaes. If your child has acid reflux, he will often be faced with the decision to either have fun or feel good. It is important to stress the positives and advantages of making reflux-friendly food choices. Remind him that healthy eating and feeling good can make him a better athlete, for example. Good food choices will also help him to feel well, so he can really enjoy the good times of summer.
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.