18 Worst Winter Heartburn Triggers

Winter is the season when we crave comfort foods that stick to your ribs and warm your heart. But if you suffer from heartburn or GERD, many of your favorites may turn out to be "discomfort" foods. Here are 18 of the worst wintertime treats for heartburn sufferers, along with suggestions for how to enjoy your cold weather favorites without the burn.
18 Winter Heartburn Trigger Foods
Hot Chocolate
✘ Nothing warms you up like a nice cup of cocoa on a cold day, but the chocolate, a common heartburn trigger, will also cause your chest to burn.
✔ Decaffeinated herbal tea is better choice for heartburn sufferers.

Irish Coffee
✘ This winter warmer includes two major heartburn no-no's: coffee and alcohol.
✔ Go for a warm spiced apple cider instead.

Loaded Baked Potato
✘ If you load your potato with high-fat bacon, butter, sour cream and cheese, you'll be making a heartburn bomb.
✔ Try light sour cream or plain yogurt instead and use toppings like black olives and broccoli instead of heartburn-inducing tomatoes and green onion.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
✘ When you were a kid, your Mom probably gave you grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch on a cold winter day. These days, the combo of tomatoes and cheese will likely result in a burning sensation in your chest.
✔ Try turkey with light mayo on toasted bread with a cup of chicken noodle soup for a warm, heartburn-friendly alternative.

Macaroni and Cheese
✘ Mmmm, mac and cheese is good. But all that fat will lead to a heartburn flare-up.
✔ Try making a low-fat version with whole wheat macaroni instead.

✘ With fatty meat, onions and a heavy spices, this winter dish is pretty much guaranteed to cause heartburn.
✔ Try a white chicken chili instead; just go easy on any spices the recipe calls for.

✘ If the cheese doesn't get you the tomatoes will.
✔ Go for a delicious butternut squash lasagna instead.

Eggplant Parmesan
✘ Fried eggplant, tomatoes and cheese all combine to make a heartburn nightmare.
✔ Try warm honey garlic grilled eggplant instead.

Cheese Fondue
✘ It's straight from the '70s, but fondue is still fun…until it causes heartburn.
✔ Try a traditional fondue of boiling broth instead of bubbling cheese. You can cook meat and veggies in it and enjoy them with yogurt-based dipping sauces. (Learn more about broth fundue.)

Chicken Pot Pie
✘ While this sounds like the ultimate comfort food, the high fat content makes it anything but.
✔ Try a low-fat chicken pot pie recipe instead.

French Onion Soup
✘ Onions and high-fat cheese make for a dangerous combo.
✔ Low-fat broccoli cheddar soup is a safer bet.

Meat Loaf
✘ The tomatoes in the ketchup topping and the high-fat ground beef might make you regret this traditional comfort food.
✔ This low-fat turkey meatloaf recipe will hit the spot without causing pain.

Spaghetti with Meat Balls
✘ The tomato in the sauce and the high-fat ground beef are going to be a problem.
✔ Substitute turkey meatballs and go easy on the sauce for a heartburn-free dinner.

Corned Beef and Cabbage
✘ You can actually see the fat on this cut of beef so you know it's going to cause heartburn.
✔ Choose a flat cut corned beef brisket instead of point cut to lower the fat content and load your plate with cabbage to control the portion. (You may need to visit a specialty butcher to find different cuts of corned beef.)

Smothered Pork Chops
✘ Between the onions and the fatty meat, you're in for a doozy with this dish.
✔ Try this delicious roasted Italian pork tenderloin instead.

Braised Beef Short Ribs
✘ Sadly, there are no low-fat cuts of beef from the rib section.
✔ This slow cooker beef stew is a super tasty alternative, though.

Potato Soup
✘ This winter soup can easily turn into a heartburn friend or foe depending on how it's made. Skip the butter, cream and cheese unless you want to feel the burn.
✔ This veggie-loaded version can be topped with a small amount of low-fat cheddar for a heartburn-friendly meal.

Potatoes au Gratin
✘ This classic side dish might taste good now, but the fat will come back to haunt you later.
✔ Substitute cider roasted sweet potatoes for a delicious alternative.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietitian.
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Member Comments

It was discouraging to see how many of my favourite go-to foods are on this list, and yes, I have GERD. Thank you for the suggested alternatives. I will try some of them. Report
I just use Braggs if I have heartburn but other than that I stay away from pills that stop the production of stomach acids because you need it to help with the calcium getting into your bones. Report
I have to watch what I eat all year, not just in winter. You were right on target with the foods you posted. I have issues with all of them. Report
Heartburn from these foods can happen during any season not just winter and I've never gotten heartburn from those foods. I get heartburn from tuna salad! Report
Wow... I never realized how many of my favourites (tomato soup and grilled cheese, meatloaf, mac & cheese to name just a few) were acid reflux,inducing! I thought that eating smaller portions and staying within my calorie, carb,and fat recommendations I could eat pretty much everything. This explains why I still have problems! Report
My tips on how I completely cured my heartburn & acid reflux.
Tip 1; an immediate relief is found via root ginger. Seems to neutralise the esophagus immediately.
Tip 2; apple cider vinegar diluted with a bit of water and then down it. Every morning.
Tip 3; have a look at the free video on solvehealthproble
m.com/acidreflux and just follow the methods it gives you. Takes about a week but reflux symptoms will then be gone forever.
Tip 4; dont push your luck! once you feel your symptoms have relieved still don’t be silly and have that greasy take away! Be cautious what you eat without it ruling your life.

Acid reflux can indeed cause many various symptoms, I think thats another thing what struggled me for many years when i had it
so it's fat everywhere? fat actually protects you from heartburn. every person has his/her own heartburn triggers. I have no problem with many of the no no list and only reading about the solutions makes my stomach ache lol Report
Why don't I justop eating? Report
A tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar (Preferably Bragg's with the Mother) in a glass of water about 30 minutes prior to a meal will make it so that you don't get heartburn at all. Give it a try. We've been doing this for about 3-4 years now. The bottle of Tums simply collects dust. Report
This list seemed odd to me as no of the items bothers me. Too much pizza perhaps, but I was raised on many of these foods and no trouble with heartburn. Report


About The Author

Megan Patrick
Megan Patrick
Megan Lane Patrick has been a professional writer and editor for the past 16 years, and was a chronic dieter for at least 30. A combination of weight-loss surgery, mindful eating and daily exercise finally allowed her to maintain a weight loss of more than 100 pounds. When she's not lifting weights at the gym, you can find her walking shelter dogs as a volunteer for the SPCA.