Eating smaller and more frequent meals, as well as avoiding trigger foods, can help you manage symptoms of acid reflux. Structuring recipes and menus around acid-soothing foods can also complement your efforts.

What you eat and how you eat it may have a direct impact on your symptoms of acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

While medical treatments are available and effective for GERD, dietary changes are one of the easiest and most affordable ways to manage symptoms.

Certain foods are harder to digest and may increase the amount of acid in the stomach, triggering acid reflux and other GERD symptoms. Triggers may vary from person to person, and you may need to keep a food diary to identify those that affect you.

Read about heartburn relief.

One of the easiest ways to lower the chances of experiencing acid reflux is to avoid eating large portions in one sitting. Instead of two or three large meals a day, consider five to six smaller meals. It’s also a good idea to avoid eating at least 3 hours before bedtime.

You may find that eating certain foods in moderation does not trigger acid reflux symptoms. If this is your case with some common trigger foods, it’s still a good idea to limit them as much as possible.

Read about foods to avoid for acid reflux prevention.

Here are some foods and drinks that may worsen acid reflux symptoms:

Beverages

  • peppermint tea
  • citrus fruit juices
  • tomato-based drinks
  • regular and decaf coffee
  • alcohol
  • caffeinated teas
  • whole dairy

Here’s a video about drinks to try and avoid for acid reflux.

Carbohydrates

  • doughnuts
  • croissants
  • french fries and other fried side dishes (like onion rings)
  • packaged potato chips
  • packaged tortilla chips
  • creamy sauces
  • pesto

Fruits and vegetables

  • tomatoes
  • fried vegetables
  • pickled vegetables
  • tomato-based sauces
  • citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit

Proteins

  • fatty cuts of meats
  • fried chicken
  • fried fish
  • sausage
  • pepperoni
  • bacon
  • hot dogs

Fats

  • gravies
  • butter
  • ghee
  • lard
  • margarine
  • dairy cream
  • whole cheeses
  • peanut and almond butter

Desserts

  • chocolate
  • dairy ice cream
  • Chantilly cream
  • cakes, pies, and cookies
  • lemon or lime pie

Read more about foods that cause heartburn.

In general, a balanced diet that includes moderate amounts of lean protein, fresh vegetables and fruits, and healthy fats is recommended for overall health. Since everyone is different, using a food journal can help you determine which foods trigger and which soothe your symptoms of acid reflux.

Read more about how to improve digestion.

Here are some foods that may be less likely to cause acid reflux and GERD symptoms:

Beverages

  • nonfat or low fat milk
  • herbal teas other than peppermint
  • carrot juice
  • apple juice
  • melon juice

Carbohydrates

  • rice
  • pasta with no sauce
  • oatmeal
  • whole-grain bread
  • low fat cereals
  • low fat muffins
  • plain crackers
  • flour tortillas
  • low fat pancakes
  • waffles
  • boiled or mashed potatoes

Fruits and vegetables (including herbs)

  • all fresh or boiled vegetables with little added fat or sauce
  • bananas
  • melons
  • apples
  • papaya
  • grapes
  • berries
  • pears
  • cilantro
  • basil
  • oregano

Protein

  • lean meats
  • baked fish
  • low fat cheese
  • low fat yogurt
  • nondairy cheese
  • beans
  • peas
  • lentils
  • tofu
  • eggs

Healthy fats

  • nuts and seeds, except for peanuts
  • low fat and noncitrus salad dressings
  • low fat mayonnaise
  • small amounts of olive, sesame, vegetable, and sunflower oils
  • avocado

Desserts

  • angel food cake
  • sponge cake
  • low fat cookies
  • low fat ice cream
  • sherbet
  • frozen low fat yogurt
  • hard candy

Read about foods that contain natural digestive enzymes.

It may be a good idea to take some time to structure a monthly menu around recipes that are good for acid reflux. This can help you stay on course and avoid introducing trigger foods because of a lack of planning.

Have a hiatal hernia? Read about dietary recommendations.

Depending on your preferences, one day of an acid-reflux-friendly menu may look like this:

Breakfast

  • fresh carrot or apple juice
  • avocado toast with whole-grain bread or boiled egg
  • cup of low fat yogurt and berries or oatmeal

Mid-morning snack

  • apple with low fat peanut butter or a banana
  • crackers with low fat cheese or whole wheat toast with natural jam
  • a handful of almonds or a granola bar

Read more about foods that help acid reflux.

Lunch

  • chicken noodle soup or a fresh salad with low fat dressing
  • turkey sandwich with whole grain bread, lettuce, low fat mayo, low fat cheese, cilantro, and sprinkled basil

Mid-afternoon snack

  • carrot, cucumber, and broccoli with low fat hummus or a smoothie
  • chamomile tea or apple juice

Dinner

  • oven-baked chicken breast or baked salmon
  • baked sweet potato or cilantro rice
  • avocado or baked broccoli and cauliflower
  • sherbet

Heartburn at night? Read more about ways to manage.

The best acid reflux recipes and menus for you depend on your individual triggers and preferences. It’s important to eat smaller and more frequent meals, chew slowly, and keep a food journal to note what soothes or irritates you.

Alcohol, citrus foods, fatty and spicy foods, and whole dairy are common acid reflux triggers. Fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean meats typically don’t cause symptoms.