If you’ve resolved to lose some weight this year, you may be wondering where to start. Before you get started, we highly recommend that you begin by reading the 5 steps to an acid reflux diet. Even when you know that losing weight is the right choice for your health, changing your habits can be overwhelming. So, here are simple diet tweaks you can make to your GERD diet today that can help get the scale moving in the right direction – and hopefully help you find relief from your GERD symptoms, too.
1. Eat more vegetables
Vegetables are loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals and can be incorporated into any meal. They’ll fill you up without a lot of calories, which is great for your waistline, so aim to fill half your plate with vegetables when preparing meals. Broccoli, celery, cauliflower, green beans, and carrots are all GERD-friendly choices. Just be sure to avoid vegetables that might trigger your symptoms, like tomatoes, garlic, and onions. If you’re convinced you hate vegetables, try roasting them. Roasting vegetables concentrates and sweetens their flavor and will convert even the staunchest vegetable hater.
2. Choose chicken, turkey, or fish
Swap low-fat sources of protein like chicken, turkey, or fish for higher fat choices like red meat to reduce the number of calories in your diet. Low-fat choices also digest more quickly, which means you’re less likely to suffer a bout of reflux. Just opt to bake or broil them to keep them low fat and low calorie.
3. Pick the right carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are critical for a healthy body, but some are better choices than others. Processed snack foods, white breads, pastas, and white rice add a lot of calories – but not much nutrition – to your diet. They’ll also cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash, which will leave you hungry and more likely to overeat. Look for low glycemic index foods like beans, sweet potatoes, whole grain breads, brown rice, and fruit instead to keep hunger at bay.
4. Have a salad
Although this may not sound tempting at first, a salad can make a delicious and nutritious meal alternative. There are endless combinations of vegetables to include in salads, and topped with lean protein like chicken or fish, a salad makes a complete meal. Again, be sure to avoid any triggers like tomatoes and onions, and watch out for high-fat dressings and toppings because they can quickly sabotage your weight loss efforts. (Be sure to check out The skinny on salad for your acid reflux diet for more salad traps to avoid.) Make salads a regular part of you meal rotation and you’ll be reducing calories while adding nutrition to your diet. You can’t beat that!
5. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit
When your sweet tooth beckons, grab a piece of fruit. While cookies, brownies, and other sweets are admittedly delicious, they are high in calories and do little to satisfy your hunger. Fruit can satisfy your craving for something sweet with fewer calories and because fruit has plenty of fiber, it will keep you feeling full longer. Apples, bananas, watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe are good choices for people with GERD, while citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits can trigger symptoms in some people.
6. Don’t drink your calories
Sweetened sodas, juices, teas, and coffees can add significant calories to your daily intake. Eight ounces of whole milk has 136 calories, one 12-ounce can of cola has 140 calories, and a beer packs 150 calories. Those numbers add up quickly! In addition, some studies show that our brains don’t register the calories that we drink, so they don’t satisfy your hunger. Be mindful of what you’re drinking and how it might be contributing to your weight, and consider this: if you replace just one soda a day with water, you could lose a pound a month.
If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of making changes to your GERD diet, try incorporating one or two of these simple diet tweaks at a time. Then, once you feel comfortable with those changes, try another. You’ll likely find that making small changes will make a big difference over time and you’ll soon be feeling (and looking) better!