Best and Worst Summer Foods for Heartburn Relief

06. 22. 2018

There’s nothing like an old-fashioned picnic to welcome the arrival of summer. But if you struggle with acid reflux, you might be more concerned about preventing heartburn than sunburn.

Classic picnic foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips, coleslaw, macaroni salad, soda and brownies are a feast for the eyes, but for many, they can leave a bitter aftertaste. These summer favorites, which are high in fat, sugar and caffeine, can cause valve between the stomach and esophagus – the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – to relax. When the LES loosens, gastric contents can flow back up into the esophagus and cause heartburn, that familiar burning sensation in your throat and chest.

Summer Foods that Cause Heartburn

• Burgers
• Hot dogs
• Fried potato chips
• Mayonnaise-based salads
• Caffeinated drinks
• Brownies

By making some healthy substitutions, you can create a heartburn-friendly summer picnic that doesn’t skimp on flavor or crunch.

Summer Foods to Prevent Heartburn

Grilled or Baked Chicken

Saturated fats in red meat and cured, processed meats and can leave you feeling bloated. Try some lean chicken breast tenderloins with light seasoning. Cutting back on portion sizes of meat can also prevent heartburn. As a rule of thumb, limit your meat serving to the size of a deck of cards.

Baked Chips or Pretzels

Baked potato chips the taste and crunch of fried potato chips without all the grease. Low-sodium pretzels are also a great snack.

Fresh Veggie Tray

Coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni salad can stir up the stomach with their creamy dressings and diced onions. Cabbage is another known heartburn trigger, so avoid coleslaw altogether. Instead, try a colorful veggie tray. An array of baby carrots, yellow bell pepper, green cucumbers and fresh celery will provide that crunch that every good picnic needs.


On a hot summer day, our bodies crave water. Caffeine from soda and iced tea cause dehydration and can also churn up reflux. For a sweetened beverage, purchase bottled water flavored with natural fruit juices or make your own flavored water by adding fresh-cut, non-acidic fruit like watermelon, cantaloupe or berries.

Fruit for Dessert

Many types of fruit soothe heartburn, especially tropical varieties. How about trying these Papaya Parfaits for your next picnic? These yummy treats contain nonfat Greek yogurt, papaya, banana and frozen strawberries with a crunchy granola topping. They’re the perfect dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth and soothe your stomach.

Give your summer picnic menu a makeover by browsing all the delicious recipes on the More Than Heartburn website. Type “recipe” into the search bar for a full list of entrees, salads, side dishes, desserts and beverages that will please your palate without aggravating your reflux.

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