Ultimate Summer BBQ Guide for Acid Reflux and GERD
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Ultimate Summer BBQ Guide for Acid Reflux and GERD

Published on Thursday, June 20, 2024
by
Kitty Broihier

Acid Reflux
GERD
Nutrition
Wellness

Don’t let acid reflux or GERD sideline your summer BBQ fun! 

Not to worry. We’ve got you covered from planning to serving and everything in between (including plenty of recipes) so your gut-friendly summer soiree goes off without a hiccup or heartburn. 

Hosting Hacks

A great get-together requires some effort before the guests even arrive. In other words, planning is a must-do. Start with these suggestions, and you’ll be a step ahead: 

  • Be clear about your event start and end times and whether children are welcome.
  • If you’re having a potluck, you’ll typically provide the entrees and beverages and ask others to bring salads, side dishes, and desserts. It’s best to assign dishes to guests (with a little leeway for creativity), such as “Please bring a potato or pasta salad,” so you don’t end up with an unbalanced menu and not a vegetable in sight. 
  • Be sure to ask if anyone has any food allergies, is a vegetarian or vegan, or has any other food issues you’ll need to plan for. If you’re hosting a potluck, make sure to communicate any food allergy issues to everyone who is bringing food. Then, be sure to label foods at your party. Place cards or stickers make good labels. Note what the food is and whether it contains allergens, such as “Brownies (with walnuts).”  
  • Plan to have an appetizer ready when folks arrive. A grazing board (like this Greek Hummus Board, minus the chicken), veggie or fruit platter, or other easy and gut-friendly option is a considerate way to greet guests. Plus, if you’re serving alcohol, it helps to have some food available at the same time. If you’re eating outside, ensure your appetizer is safe to sit out for a little while.
  • Have a back-up plan for inclement weather, whether that’s a tent or moving everything indoors. If you need to borrow chairs, a tent, or a table to serve food on, try to obtain those things a few days ahead of time so you can wipe them down and not feel rushed when setting up. 
Greek Loaded Hummus Board

    Reflux-Friendly Entree Ideas

    The entrees get the glory at most backyard BBQs, but you don’t have to make the same old things. Show off your grill skills and make something interesting! Also, realize that most of your guests won’t care (or notice) that your menu is reflux- and GERD-friendly, so don’t worry about that. Those who need it will notice and appreciate the extra thought and care you put into the menu and food preparation.

    • People often eat more at a casual party, like a BBQ, than they would at a regular meal (especially if there’s alcohol served). Nobody likes a skimpy buffet, so if you have just one or two side dishes, or if your party is held mid-day and folks generally wouldn’t have had a full meal prior, plan on having a total of 2 entree servings per adult.
    • High-fat meals can set people up for heartburn. If you want to grill burgers for your gang, consider making lean turkey burgers and offering a variety of sauces and toppings. If only beef will do, choose lean beef and mix in some grated zucchini or finely chopped mushrooms to add moisture to the patties. 
    • Chicken wings, legs, or thighs get upscale and unexpected flavor treatments like Carrot-Ginger Glaze and GERD-friendly Curry
    • Provide a meat-free entree option, even if you don’t have any vegetarians coming. Many people are trying to eat a more plant-based diet, so it makes sense to provide something for them, such as bean burgers, veggie burgers, or portobello mushroom burgers. 
    • Remember, seafood is an alternative to meat. Salmon burgers are a natural fit for a BBQ, but you could also serve shrimp and veggie kebabs.
    • Meat for grilling can be expensive; stock up when there are sales on your preferred protein (perfect if you have a freezer). Also, think about featuring pork or chicken instead of beef since they are typically cheaper and can still be delicious when grilled.
    • Lastly, it pays to be efficient (and safe) when prepping grilled food. It’s pretty likely that you won’t be able to fit everything on the grill simultaneously, so plan the cooking in phases. Always cook food to USDA-recommended temperatures and practice safe food handling—nobody wants food poisoning at a party. 

    Side Dish Savvy

    Rounding out the menu with at least two veggie-heavy side dishes helps stretch your budget and provides a balanced meal. Here are our suggestions for easy-to-digest sides:

    • Salads are a great counterpoint to grilled foods because they are usually light, fresh, and crunchy and provide plenty of veggies —even if they are grain- or pasta-based. Our Zesty Quinoa Salad is an excellent choice for a side dish because quinoa (technically a seed) is higher in protein than rice or most pastas. Therefore, this dish can do double duty as an appropriate entree for vegetarians. Another salad option is a chopped salad, which is usually easier to eat than a green salad if guests balance paper plates on their laps or use plastic cutlery. For a fun serving idea, consider pre-portioning salad into mason jars so guests can easily grab their own (multiply this recipe for Greek Salad Mason Jars to suit your crowd). Potato salad is a perennial favorite for backyard BBQs, but avoid the mayo-based dressing and lighten it up with a light lemon, olive oil, and dill dressing (check the recipe here).
    • A bean- or grain-based casserole is a perfect potluck item and can serve a crowd.
    • Grilled veggies are always a welcome addition to a meat-heavy menu. Happily, you can grill them ahead of time if need be. Serve warm or refrigerate them overnight and serve chilled with a gut-friendly dressing or drizzle with a little soy sauce.

    Beyond Beer

    A beverage station is popular at any party, but beer isn’t the only thing your guests will enjoy (or need) during a summertime shindig. Cool drinks are essential for preventing dehydration during hot weather. Both alcohol and carbonated beverages can trigger reflux in susceptible people, so it’s considerate to provide options, including still water and non-alcoholic drinks. Mocktails are increasingly popular and can often be made by the pitcher for parties.  

    Fun and Games

    Your backyard BBQ can be about more than just eating and drinking—activities, games, scavenger hunts, and contests can take your party up a notch. Let people entertain themselves if you set up a simple game like cornhole, bocci, or horseshoes (make sure they are a safe distance away from the food and beverage action). Badminton and croquet are old-time favorites, but many games are easily learned and require minimal or no equipment. And don’t forget that if kids are invited, they’ll need fun activities, too.

    Summer is here, and the grill is ready! What will you be making? Share your recipe ideas or tips in the comments, and we’ll be watching for our invitation to your next backyard BBQ!

    1. Cleveland Clinic. (2022, June 8). The risks of mixing alcohol and summer heat. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/dangers-of-too-much-alcohol-summer-heat 
    2. USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. (2022, March 21). Food Safety and Inspection Service. Grilling and Food Safety | Food Safety and Inspection Service. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/grilling-and-food-safety 

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