Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, can make every meal an exercise in self-deprivation. When you’re focused on avoiding an attack of heartburn, it’s easy to accentuate the negative and bemoan the lengthy list of foods you can’t eat. It’s possible, however, to turn that negative thinking on its head. View this as a challenge to explore new midday meal options that you may not have discovered if GERD had not forced you to think outside the lunchbox.
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A hearty bowl of vegetable soup can be the centerpiece of a GERD-friendly lunch, as long as you leave tomatoes out of the recipe. Tomatoes are a highly acidic food, and acidic foods are known to exacerbate the symptoms of some GERD sufferers, according to the University of Arizona Campus Health Service.
Opt for a vegetable stock broth, rather than cheese or milk-based varieties, and do not add fatty meats. Keep your soup as low in fat as possible to avoid causing stomach acids to regurgitate up through your esophagus during the process of fat digestion. Fats take a long time to digest, and because of that they increase the risk of acid reflux. Lean protein sources, such as chicken and beans, can turn your soup into a filling main dish.
A myriad of GERD-friendly lunch choices can be created with broiled chicken breast with the skin removed. Pop your broiled chicken breast on a low-fat bun and eat it as a sandwich. Avoid condiments such as mustard, salsa and ketchup, which have been associated with heartburn. Opt out of adorning your chicken patty with onions or tomatoes, both of which may increase your symptoms. Lettuce is a safe bet, as are most other vegetables.
Fish is a great choice for GERD sufferers when it's not fried or fatty. In most cases, a broiled fish fillet on a bed of rice can fill a hungry belly with minimal fears of gastroesophageal reprisal. Cold water fish such as lake trout are a good choice. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, eating omega-3 rich varieties of fish confers additional health benefits for those with acid reflux. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may help reduce the inflammation associated with GERD.