GERD-Friendly Snacks: Nourishing Solutions for Weight Management
Article

GERD-Friendly Snacks: Nourishing Solutions for Weight Management

Published on Tuesday, August 29, 2023
by
Kari Tallent

Health & Wellness

High-Protein, Low-Fat Snacks for GERD Management and Weight Maintenance

What do Acid Reflux and Skrillex have in common? They both get better when you drop the bass. 

Just like high-tempo Electronic music, when you eat trigger foods or engage in activities that you know will induce your reflux, you may find yourself having a party-of-one in the bathroom all night. While making jokes about reflux and GERD can be entertaining, it is not fun when you cannot get a handle on keeping foods down, and your weight gets more difficult to manage. 

Although excess weight is a risk factor associated with the development of GERD, weight loss is also a symptom of GERD, often occurring when reflux is uncontrolled. Additionally, weight loss is often considered a “hidden” symptom of GERD, with some individuals unknowingly experiencing weight loss related to their GERD before receiving an actual GERD diagnosis.

When you suffer from nausea, vomiting, and a loss of appetite, important nutrients become deficient, impacting overall health. Ensuring you follow a GERD-friendly eating pattern will help manage your weight.

Now, losing weight healthily and safely to reduce, or in some cases, eliminate GERD symptoms is a completely different topic, as it is one of the primary lifestyle interventions one can make to manage their condition better. However, if you are unintentionally losing weight due to your GERD symptoms, that needs addressing by your medical team. If you are at this point, you will likely have other nutrient losses, and we want to prevent that.

Okay, so how do you do that? SNACKS!!!!  Snacks can be a fun topic because they offer a way to sneak in those things we may be lacking. When it comes to GERD, you want to eat smaller meals that are more frequent anyway, which are about the size of a substantial snack. So let us discuss some GERD-friendly snacks you can put together based on your hunger level to help meet your needs and promote weight maintenance. 

The name of the game is high-protein foods that are also low in fat (ideally low in saturated fat). Since fatty foods can trigger GERD, you want to look for foods that are low in fat (<5 gm saturated fat), high in protein, and have a moderate amount of carbohydrates with fiber. Most GERD-friendly foods can be low in calories; therefore, we want to focus on higher protein foods with healthy fat sources. Mono- and Poly- Unsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA and PUFA) can help add additional calories to foods and are tolerated when balanced appropriately with other low-fat foods.

 

Fish

Salmon; Tuna pouches (do not get any in highly-seasoned flavors containing acid or spicy seasonings) paired with whole grain crackers, hearty bread, or pretzels.

Soy Protein

Steamable edamame – an easy and portable option, soy milk – can be used as the base of a smoothie or drank on its own; soy yogurt – mix in some nuts or seeds.

Beans

Canned and rinsed beans that you can add rice to, or you can make refried and add low-fat cheese.

Nuts

Whether in butter or whole nut form, nuts are a great source of calories with healthy fats and protein.

Skinless Poultry

Chicken breast, turkey breast, or ground chicken or turkey.

Protein Bars

Good choices are Power Crunch, Nature Valley Protein Bars, and Clif Bars.

Bagel

Smoked salmon and low-fat cream cheese or a nut butter of your choice.

Smoothies

Always a good choice, and you can add protein, fruit, and vegetables (spinach or kale) – stay away from citrus fruits. 

Hummus

Made with celery and fennel (both GERD friendly) instead of garlic or pureed chickpeas adding other seasonings of your choice.

Crackers and LF Cheese

I know this is a boring one, but it can be satisfying and very portable. (LF - low-fat)

PB2

This great product comes in handy when trying to keep the fat content low. It is powdered peanut butter. You can mix it into a variety of things or reconstitute it (add water) to make actual, spreadable peanut butter.


You can also include fresh fruits and vegetables that you can add low-fat dips to. Some ideas are Greek yogurt, low-fat cream cheese, nut butter, smashed chickpeas, or paired with low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks. Pay attention to the nutrition labels or nutrient content of foods to ensure you get enough calories to support your lifestyle. If you are active, you will have a greater caloric need. You can also consider protein shakes and powders that do not contain any triggering ingredients to help get some additional calories in. 

Symptoms from reflux may cause you to eat less and lose weight. Therefore, it could be a valuable tool to keep a food diary to review with your dietitian or medical provider, including what you eat and if that food causes pain, nausea, or vomiting. 

Adding healthy, high-protein snacks to your tool kit can help keep you nourished and better meet your needs. Staying consistent with your eating patterns and learning how to listen to your body can help so much when it comes to managing your symptoms. And if you need a little help, you can always contact a registered dietitian! Keep yourself out of the bathroom and back to enjoying your life. 

 

  1. Singh, M., Lee, J., Gupta, N., Gaddam, S., Smith, B. K., Wani, S. B., Sullivan, D. K., Rastogi, A., Bansal, A., Donnelly, J. E., & Sharma, P. (2013). Weight loss can lead to resolution of gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms: a prospective intervention trial. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 21(2), 284–290. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.20279 
  2. Dooley, B. (2021, September 8). 8 foods that help Heartburn. Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio. https://www.gastroconsa.com/8-foods-that-alleviate-heartburn/
  3. MediLexicon International. (2021, Mar 30). Acid reflux and weight loss: Causes, dangers, management. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/acid-reflux-weight-loss#reason-for-weight-loss   

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