Finding Reflux-Friendly Foods When Dining Out

By Patricia Raymond, Michelle Beaver

For those days when you don’t want to cook or clean, or when you’re away from home, you can take your reflux-friendly diet to restaurants. Some restaurants will have more choices for you than others, but you should be able to find something you’ll enjoy almost anywhere.

Fast food and acid reflux

At fast-food restaurants, skip or eat less of any meal that makes meat the prime star. Skip or eat less of the fries and anything else that’s fried. Keep dessert portions small. Be mindful of how much fat you’re having overall, because excess fat increases reflux. Almost all fast-food places have salads and grilled chicken sandwiches these days, so those could be good choices.

Even if you don’t have something super “healthy,” you’ll be okay as long as you keep your quantity small and don’t have that type of food too often. If you’re having fast food more than a few times a month, it’s probably too often, unless what you’re ordering is healthy.

Diners and acid reflux

At diners, avoid meals that have big quantities of meat (a big ol’ burger isn’t a good choice). Also avoid fried foods — that side of french fries won’t help you.

Most diners have salads (just skip the raw onion), soups, sandwiches, and plenty of other foods that will fare well with your sensitive tract. If you order dessert (so tempting when diners have their own baked goods), remember to have a fairly small portion so you don’t take in too much fat.

Miscellaneous cuisines and acid reflux

Yes, the tomato sauce rampant at most Italian restaurants is a problem for the acid reflux prone, and so is the ample use of garlic. Also challenging: the fact that wine tastes so lovely with Italian food, yet triggers acid reflux. Avoid the alcohol, or drink less than usual.

To avoid tomato sauces, try pesto or Alfredo sauces (small portions, though — all the fat in Alfredo sauce can trigger reflux, and pesto tends to be heavy on garlic).

Even if you steer clear of acid reflux foods, just eating too much can lead to a yucky night. Wherever and whatever you eat, keep your portions small or moderate.

Japanese food is great for people wanting to avoid acid reflux. Just stay away from the deep-fried items, such as tempura. Avoiding fried items is easy because there are lots of fresh, non-fried offerings at Japanese restaurants. Avoid the alcohol, as usual, and avoid the wasabi.