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Easy 7-Day Acid Reflux Meal Plan With Snacks

Published on
Updated on
Easy 7-Day Acid Reflux Meal Plan With Snacks

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter allows stomach contents to come back up into the esophagus, often causing a painful burning sensation. 
  • Certain foods and drinks may increase symptoms of acid reflux, but the evidence on this is mixed. 
  • Focusing on your overall eating habits, like increasing your fiber intake, eating smaller, more frequent meals, and avoiding laying flat after eating, can help improve acid reflux symptoms. 

Updated by Heather Smith, RN BSN

Sometimes referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), 50% of adults experience acid reflux at some point in their lives.

Whether it occurs occasionally or all the time—acid reflux can be very uncomfortable, especially when accompanied by burning chest pain. 

Treatment for acid reflux usually involves a combination of medication and lifestyle changes, including adjusting your eating schedule, elevating the head of your bed, smoking cessation, and limiting certain foods and drinks. 

Continue reading to learn more about managing acid reflux and for an easy dietitian-approved seven-day acid reflux meal plan. 

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What Is Acid Reflux? 

Acid reflux occurs when contents from your stomach move up into your esophagus.

This movement is typically prevented by the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)—a ring shaped muscle where your stomach and esophagus meet.

However, the LES is sometimes weakened, allowing stomach contents to backflow into the esophagus. 

The most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, a burning pain in your esophagus or throat.

Some people may also experience chest pain, nausea, or difficulty swallowing.

Pregnancy, elevated body weight, smoking, certain medications and foods, and hiatal hernias can contribute to acid reflux

Lifestyle changes can also help improve acid reflux.

Many people see an improvement in symptoms by making the following adjustments: 

  • Elevating the head of the bed.
  • Avoiding laying flat within three hours of eating. 
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Limiting or avoiding certain foods and drinks. 
  • Losing weight if body weight is elevated. 
  • Eating small, frequent meals. 

It's normal to experience acid reflux once in a while, but when it happens all the time, it can be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which should be addressed.

Clinicians treat GERD with medications and sometimes surgery.

What To Eat With Acid Reflux

Research shows that people with high-fiber diets experience fewer acid reflux symptoms than those with low-fiber diets.

Diets higher in fat and simple sugar intake may increase heartburn symptoms. 

Evidence suggests that a Mediterranean-style eating pattern may benefit people with GERD because it's high in fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

It also tends to limit greasy and fried foods. 

While everyone’s triggers can differ slightly, foods from the Mediterranean Diet tend to be well-tolerated:

  • Small amounts of lean meat and chicken.
  • Whole grains (whole-wheat bread, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, cereal grain, whole-wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas).
  • Non-citrus fruits.
  • Vegetables.
  • Legumes (beans, soybeans, dried peas, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, split peas, lentils, edamame).
  • Nuts.
  • Fish, shellfish, and other seafood.
  • Low-fat dairy products (Greek yogurt, milk).
  • Use olive oil as the main source of fat.

Eating Patterns

In addition to changing the types of foods you eat, you may also want to consider changing your eating patterns.

Some research shows that eating smaller amounts of food at each meal and avoiding late-night eating can help reduce acid reflux symptoms.

It can take about four hours for a meal to move from the stomach. It’s a good idea to eat several hours before bedtime to allow your stomach to empty. 

However, research on eating patterns for acid reflux is mixed.

While some feel better eating smaller portions throughout the day, participants in other studies had no change in symptoms. 

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Foods To Avoid With Acid Reflux

Some foods and beverages can increase the likelihood of experiencing acid reflux by relaxing or irritating the LES.

Other foods slow digestion, which causes food to sit in the stomach longer.

This puts pressure on the LES, resulting in a greater chance of stomach contents coming back up. 

Examples of foods to avoid or limit for acid reflux include:

Though some people choose to eliminate all possible triggers from their diet, there is limited evidence regarding the effectiveness of this approach.

Not everyone will experience symptoms with all of these foods, and some people notice other food triggers. 

One option is to keep a food and symptom log to record what you ate before experiencing acid reflux.

This can be a helpful way to identify your personal food or beverage triggers.

Meal Plan For Acid Reflux

Below is a seven-day acid reflux meal plan that excludes common trigger foods and is high in fiber.

It includes recommendations for leftovers and meal preparation to minimize your cooking time. 

Day 1

  • Breakfast: Cinnamon blueberry baked oatmeal topped with chopped pecans; Bake in a casserole dish for leftovers.
  • Lunch: Mason jar salad (romaine, shredded carrots, cucumber, edamame, green onions, quinoa, and shredded chicken with a sesame dressing); Make two jars for leftovers on Day 2. 
  • Dinner: Burrito bowl with pinto beans, brown rice, lean ground beef with mild taco seasoning, and cheese; Make enough for Day 2 dinner. 
  • Snacks: Apple with peanut butter; Avocado toast.

Day 2

  • Breakfast: Leftover baked oatmeal. 
  • Lunch: Leftover Mason jar salad. 
  • Dinner: Use leftover burrito bowl ingredients to make tacos with corn tortillas. 
  • Snacks: Low-sugar Greek yogurt with blueberries; Hummus with carrots.

Day 3

  • Breakfast: Leftover baked oatmeal; Freeze any remaining leftovers for next week. 
  • Lunch: Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with a side of watermelon and sugar snap peas. 
  • Dinner: Herb-baked chicken with roasted asparagus over wild rice; Make enough for Day 4 lunch. 
  • Snacks: Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit; Rice cakes with peanut butter.

Day 4

  • Breakfast: Whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices. 
  • Lunch: Leftover baked chicken with roasted asparagus and wild rice. 
  • Dinner: Turkey chili; Make enough for Day 5 lunch. 
  • Snacks: Whole grain crackers and a cheese stick; Avocado toast.

Day 5

  • Breakfast: Yogurt parfait (layer low-sugar Greek yogurt with fresh or frozen berries in two containers so you have leftovers for Day 6. When ready to eat, top with low-sugar granola and sliced almonds). 
  • Lunch: Leftover turkey chili. 
  • Dinner: Stir fry with tofu, green beans, and soba noodles; Make enough for Day 6 dinner. 
  • Snacks: Hummus with mini bell peppers; Apple with peanut butter.

Day 6

  • Breakfast: Leftover yogurt parfait. 
  • Lunch: Protein snack plate with cheese, crackers, hummus, carrot sticks, and an orange.
  • Dinner: Leftover stir fry. 
  • Snacks: Low-sugar Greek yogurt with banana slices; Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit.

Day 7

  • Breakfast: Breakfast hash with eggs, potatoes, broccoli, spinach, and mushrooms; Utilize leftovers for next week. 
  • Lunch: Veggie sandwich on whole wheat bread with hummus, cucumber, greens, and red onions. 
  • Dinner: Baked ginger salmon served with roasted broccoli and brown rice.
  • Snacks: Low-sugar granola bar; Whole grain crackers and a cheese stick.

Tips For Meal Preparation

Here are some tips for making meal prep easier throughout your week.

Batch Cook

Consider preparing a week’s worth of lean protein such as chicken or fish, roasted vegetables, and grains like quinoa or brown rice. 

Store them in separate containers for easy meal assembly throughout the week. 

Bake, Steam, Roast, or Grill

When cooking your food, opt for baking, steaming, and grilling methods.

These minimize added fats, which may help reduce your risk of triggering acid reflux symptoms. 

These methods are flavorful while also helping retain nutrients.

Stock The Pantry

Toss out items in your fridge and pantry that you feel may trigger your symptoms.

Instead, stock up on food items that support healthy digestion and may reduce acid reflux.

Choose more whole grains, canned beans, low-acid canned vegetables, nuts, dried and fresh fruits. 

Having these items available can help you quickly pull together ingredients for meals or snacks. 

Pre-Portion Snacks

Portion out your snacks ahead of time so they are ready to grab and go.

By portioning them out beforehand, you will also find it easier to not overstuff your stomach. 

Eat your meals and snacks slowly and listen to your body’s cues of when you are full and make portion size adjustments as needed. 

Managing Acid Reflux with a Dietitian

For an individualized plan to reduce food-related triggers for your acid reflux, consider scheduling an appointment with a registered dietitian through Nourish. Visits are conducted online and are covered by most insurance plans. 

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