Jennifer Rackley wrote a great article for Health Central a few years back about how school lunches can sometimes trigger acid reflux. If school lunches or any other foods are bothering your child, how can we empower those kids to speak up?
This issue is especially real for me. About six months ago, our 15-year-old son with acid reflux told my husband and I that apple juice was the only juice that made his reflux worse. But because apples are relatively low in acid, this was the only juice we had packed for him in his school lunches. All these years, and he never told us!
So — how can we empower our children to speak up about their condition? Here are three ways to help:
1. Do not make assumptions about food and reflux. In other words, just because apple juice is relatively low in acid, it does not mean that it will not be a trigger for some children with acid reflux. This also works in the other direction. While cinnamon and chocolate may worsen symptoms for some children, this might not be true for all.
2. Encourage your children to speak up. Because individuals with acid reflux can react differently to different foods on different days, it is extremely important that children speak up on what works for them and what does not. And as adults, we need to accept what they are feeling, and remember that their reflux triggers are unique to them. It is very possible that at some point, my son tried to tell my husband and me that apple juice bothered him and we were dismissive, believing that it was a safe food for him.
3. Remind your child that reflux friendly food choices really do make a difference. Sometimes children might just go ahead and eat the food that is served by the school or sent from home just to keep things easy. However, it is important for them to understand that choosing the wrong foods can make them feel bad for days on end.
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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. Learn more about Tracy and what healthy living services and products she can offer on her website. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.