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How to Make Heartburn-Free Meals

To eat or not to eat? When you have acid reflux—that is the question.

A woman chooses flavored water rather than coffee, as she looks for drinks and foods that won't cause heartburn.

Medically reviewed in February 2022

If you have heartburn, meals can be a minefield. Careful choices may mean the difference between having a meal stay in your stomach or having it come back to haunt you later in the form of a burning, tingling sensation in your chest. 

What not to eat with acid reflux 
You've probably heard that it's best to steer clear of trigger foods like citrus, chocolate, alcohol, coffee, caffeine and anything spicy. But if you're thinking "bummer," then we've got news for you: Heartburn-free eating doesn't have to be bland or boring. Here are a few simple tips for making delicious dishes and drinks that don't bring on that burning feeling. 

What to eat with acid reflux 
By making smart substitutions and following some simple cooking tips, you'll discover there may be plenty of delicious foods that won't cause heartburn. Here's a quick list of simple switches: 

Instead of: 

  • Coffee, try green tea with honey 
  • Caffeinated sodas, try flavored still water or mineral water 
  • Frying or sauteing, try baking, roasting or broiling your meats 
  • Tomato sauce, try tossing your whole-grain pasta in a broth-based sauce flavored with basil and thyme 
  • Creamy salad dressings, try drizzling olive oil and a little cider on your salads 
  • Potato chips, try snacking on whole-wheat crackers with a bit of hummus, cut-up apples or raisins with a few sesame seeds 
  • Gravy, try topping meats and mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy 
  • Full-fat dairy products, try low-fat sour cream, milk, cream cheese, yogurt and cheeses 
  • Fatty desserts, try low-fat versions 

Post-meal strategies 
Making smart food choices is only half the battle when it comes to fending off heartburn. You also have to resist the urge to overeat or lie down right after your meal. Doing either of these can undo all the good you just did.

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