Acid Reflux Summer Food Swaps

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

Choosing the right foods is important for avoiding acid reflux triggers and reducing symptoms. Here are some alternative options to keep the burn at bay.

Turkey burgers for hot dogs

Hot dogs and hamburgers are quintessential summer grilling staples. But the added grease and nitrates can trigger a reflux episode and slow down food in the gut. Try burgers made with turkey or have grilled chicken breast instead. If you add a whole wheat bun, the lower fat content and added fiber will help to move foods through the gut normally and decrease reflux.

Infused water for lemonade

Citrusy lemonade is very acidic. Instead, slice up some fruits like strawberries, watermelon or cucumbers for refreshing, flavored water. Infused water not only keeps the body and gut hydrated—it also has way less sugar than lemonade.

Fresh fruit for dessert

Instead of rich desserts whose added fat can trigger an acid reflux episode, try non-citrus fresh fruit salad or fruit-grilled kabobs. The fruit satisfies the need for something sweet and their added fiber is a gut-friendly bonus.

Grilled veggies for chips

Chips are not acid reflux-friendly because of their high-fat content. Swap them for baked chips, or better yet, grilled veggies. Baked chips have less fat and are less likely to trigger a reflux episode, but veggies are even better because of the added vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Smoothies for alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can lessen the pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and lower inhibitions for good food choices. Opt for nonalcoholic versions or fruit smoothies.

Potato wedges for potato salad

Mayo-rich potato salad contains fat that can trigger reflux. Try grilled potato wedges—sweet potato wedges are an even higher nutritional boost.

Mustard for ketchup

Instead of reflux-triggering condiments like ketchup, tomato or onion, go for lettuce, pickles and mustard. The tomato and ketchup are known triggers, as are many tomato-based products. Onions also tend to bring on the burn. Lettuce, pickles and mustard don't tend to trigger reflux episodes when used in moderation.

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.