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3 Recipes for Avoiding Heartburn During Thanksgiving

3 Recipes for Avoiding Heartburn During the Holidays

Posted in: Recipes , English

You butter believe it’s possible to avoid acid reflux during the holiday season without missing out on traditional dishes. The Heartburn & Acid Reflux Institute at St. Luke’s Health–The Woodlands Hospital offers three alternative recipes to replace their acidic, fatty, and spicy counterparts.

Skip the cranberry sauce. Try our apple pumpkin chutney!

Cranberries are acidic, and the extra sugar or added orange juice to make a sweet, tangy sauce don’t do your acid reflux any favors either. Apples, on the other hand, contain alkalizing minerals — including calcium, magnesium, and potassium — which help neutralize acid. Just be sure to choose red apples over green apples, which are more acidic.

In this recipe, we also add fresh ginger and turmeric, which have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce stomach irritation and reflux.

Recipe: Apple Pumpkin Chutney
Apple pumpkin chutney recipe to replace cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving to prevent heartburn


1/2 cup chopped leeks
1/4 tsp grated ginger
1/3 cup carrot juice
4 red apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins


Sauté leeks, ginger, and carrot juice over medium heat for two minutes. Stir in apples, pumpkin puree, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, cinnamon, turmeric, and salt. Reduce heat to low and cover for 15 minutes or until the apples have softened. If your chutney is too liquidy, uncover your pot and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the heat and mix in raisins. Serve warm or chilled.

Ditch the extra garlic and butter with our healthy mashed sweet potatoes.

At holiday feasts, you’ll often find garlic mashed potatoes or buttery (and sugar-packed) sweet potato casserole. Fresh garlic in particular is known to increase your risk of heartburn. Additionally, foods with higher fat content take longer to digest, meaning the food sits in your stomach for an extended amount of time, which can lead to an influx of reflux.

So we put together a recipe for whipped sweet potatoes topped with toasted pecans. Our recipe includes almond milk and pecans, both of which are alkaline in nature to calm aggravating acid. Sweet potatoes are also alkaline and contain easily digestible fiber. Plus, roasting your sweet potatoes will have a caramelization effect for some natural sweetness, so you don’t need an overload of added sugar.

Recipe: Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Whipped sweet potatoes with toasted pecans recipe for Thanksgiving to avoid GERD symptoms


4 large sweet potatoes
1/3 cup almond milk
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup toasted pecans


Heat oven to 395 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce your sweet potatoes multiple times with a fork and wrap them in foil. Bake them for about 35-45 minutes. Allow the potatoes to cool, then peel and transfer them to a blender or food processor. Add in almond milk, nutritional yeast, maple syrup, cinnamon, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend or process until nicely whipped. Scoop into a serving dish and top with toasted pecans

Avoid spicy and meaty stuffing. Make our vegetable cornbread stuffing instead!

Stuffing is a traditional staple at holiday meals, but it’s also very customizable. Rather than incorporating refined white bread, try a whole-grain alternative. Whole grains are a great source of fiber, which helps reduce symptoms of GERD.

For our stuffing recipe, we’ll be making a whole-grain cornbread, featuring a medley of stone-ground cornmeal, oat flour, and corn kernels. We will also be using egg whites rather than the whole egg, since the yolks have a higher fat content that can contribute to acid reflux.

Recipe: Vegetable Cornbread Stuffing
Vegetable cornbread stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving to reduce acid reflux symptoms


For the cornbread:

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup egg whites
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 cup oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and pureed

To complete the stuffing:

1 cup diced leeks
1/4 tsp salt
1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp rosemary
2 tsp sage


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, stir the almond milk, applesauce, maple syrup, and egg whites together. Sift in cornmeal, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir until all the ingredients are well-incorporated, and then mix in the pureed corn. Bake for about 20 minutes in a baking dish.

Sauté the leeks with salt on medium heat, adding tablespoons of chicken broth as needed. Add carrots and celery, and continue stirring until soft. Sprinkle in the thyme, rosemary, and sage. Crumble the cornbread, and mix in it with 1 cup chicken broth. Add in the rest of the broth to reach the desired consistency. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes to crisp the top.

But that’s not all you can do to avoid acid reflux during the holidays.

Here are five extra ways to prevent heartburn during holiday feasts:

  1. Don’t get stuffed. Eating a large amount of food quickly can increase your risk of reflux. Instead, eat smaller portions slowly.
  2. Take a walk, not a nap. Lying down right after a meal perfectly positions your body for acid to sneak into your esophagus. A better plan is to go for a walk to aid your digestion and wait at least three hours after eating before crawling into bed.
  3. Skip the drinks. Both alcohol and caffeinated beverages relax the lower esophageal sphincter, the barrier between your stomach and esophagus that opens and closes to allow food to enter your stomach — or acid to creep upward. They can also increase acid production and inflame the stomach lining, increasing the likelihood of heartburn.
  4. Pass on the gravy. Traditional gravy is often greasy and high in fat, so it’s best to avoid it entirely.
  5. Don’t fry your turkey. Keep it roasted instead. Fried foods are more difficult to digest and stay in your stomach for a longer time, leading to bloating and heartburn.

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