Conquering Mealtimes with a Kid-Friendly Acid Reflux Plan
Article

Conquering Mealtimes with a Kid-Friendly Acid Reflux Plan

Published on Wednesday, May 29, 2024
by
Haley McGaha

Acid Reflux
Nutrition

A Parent's Guide to Planning Delicious and Reflux-Soothing Meals for Your Kids 

Are you in need of some helpful hints for planning kid-approved, heartburn-friendly meals and snacks? Well, look no further! Planning meals and snacks for kids can be hard, so let's discover together recipes, food swaps, and helpful tips to keep your child's tummy happy and their taste buds satisfied, even if they're prone to acid reflux!

Understanding Acid Reflux Triggers and Food Swaps 

Let’s unpack what foods are known to be common triggers of acid reflux in children

  • High-fat foods - high-fat foods can come from fried foods (chicken nuggets, french fries, so basically most fast food restaurants), butter, cream sauces, creamy dressings, bacon, sausage, or really any other fatty meat. These foods can still fit into a healthy diet, but it’s the amount and frequency that stands out
  • Spicy foods - things like pepper, hot sauce, and curry, to name a few
  • Acidic foods and drinks - things like orange juice, ketchup, lemons, pineapple, and oranges 
  • High-sugar foods and drinks - sodas, some baked goods, ice cream 
  • Caffeine - children really shouldn’t be consuming caffeine, but just know that things like coffee, tea, soda, and even some chocolates have caffeine and may lead to reflux
  • Minty foods - gum, mints, mint chocolate, peppermint 

Food Preparation Techniques to Minimize Discomfort

When preparing meals, we want to remember the above to help reduce the chances of reflux. However, food preparation is just as important. Some cooking methods are better than others. So, in hopes of minimizing discomfort, try preparing foods by steaming (this can help reduce the use of oils), grilling, baking, and poaching. Try replacing heavy cream in dishes with low-fat milk or even Greek yogurt. 

Conquering School Lunches with Reflux-Friendly Fare

When you have a child dealing with reflux, finding a good routine and eating pattern can be challenging. However, once you finally find that routine and what works best for your child, it’s something you don’t want to shake up. Ensuring your child brings food from home can be one key for symptom management, but coming up with foods to send your child can be a daily struggle. The more variety of foods you can rotate through, the better your child should stay engaged and desire food from home, not school. 

Try packing lunch in a colorful bento box to keep it fun! Have your child participate in the lunch-packing process the night before and give them GERD-friendly food options to choose from. Often, kids will be more successful in eating what is packed if they feel they have authority over what they are eating. 

Satisfying Snacks for Little Reflux Warriors

“I’m hungry!” is something that most parents often hear, sometimes even right after a meal. So, what are some satisfying snacks you can prepare for your little one with acid reflux? Here are a few ideas that may be a big hit! 

  • Yogurt parfaits - mix vanilla yogurt with your child's favorite fruit, granola, and maybe even a little honey or maple syrup.  
  • Fresh vegetables with hummus - my favorite vegetable paired with hummus is carrots
  • Homemade energy bites - try these no-bake carrot cake energy balls from Dara at Cookin Canuck! 
  • String cheese with crackers 
  • Homemade muffins—A helpful tip for muffin making to increase the nutrition profile of the muffins is to substitute applesauce for oils. Try these kid-approved pumpkin muffins from Beat Bake Eat! 
  • Yogurt tubes, but frozen! I know how popular ice cream can be with kids; however, many kids with acid reflux may disagree with ice cream. Try freezing yogurt tubes for kids to snack on to mimic ice cream.

As always, please share your favorite kid-approved, reflux-friendly recipes, mealtime tips, and success stories in the comments! What works for you and your family may greatly help another family!

 

  1. Beat Bake Eat. (2021, December 20). Pumpkin applesauce muffins. 
  2. Dara. (2022, May 2). No-bake energy bites {Carrot cake}. Cookin Canuck.  
  3. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (2022, December 21). Food as medicine: Food therapy for gastroesophageal reflux. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Comments

Join The Conversation...

Related Content

05/19/22
Acid Reflux in Children and Adolescents Acid Reflux in Children and Adolescents

Acid Reflux in Children and Adolescents

Health & Wellness

Haley McGaha

RDN, CSO, LD

04/06/23
Managing Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome in Children and Adolescents Managing Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome in Children and Adolescents

Managing Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome in Children and Adolescents

Health & Wellness

Haley McGaha

RDN, CSO, LD

Latest Articles

Today
Building a Support System for Your Healthier Eating Journey Building a Support System for Your Healthier Eating Journey

Building a Support System for Your Healthier Eating Journey

Wellness

Deanna Salles-Freeman

Life & Health Coach

06/17/24
Pump Up Your Gut: How Building Muscle Can Boost Your Digestive Health Pump Up Your Gut: How Building Muscle Can Boost Your Digestive Health

Pump Up Your Gut: How Building Muscle Can Boost Your Digestive Health

Gut Health

Alexander Koch

PhD, CSCS

06/13/24
Sustainable Seafood Alternatives: Exploring the Plant-Based Ocean Sustainable Seafood Alternatives: Exploring the Plant-Based Ocean

Sustainable Seafood Alternatives: Exploring the Plant-Based Ocean

Nutrition
Plant-Based

Savannah Duffy

MS, RDN, LD

06/12/24
Pomegranate – A True Fatty Liver Superfood Pomegranate – A True Fatty Liver Superfood

Pomegranate – A True Fatty Liver Superfood

Nutrition
Plant-Based
Gut Health

Andy De Santis

MPH, RD

Explore More