How to eat holiday meals if you have heartburn, acid reflux, GERD or bariatric concerns

Heartburn, acid reflux, GERD or bariatric concerns don't have to completely derail your enjoyment of holiday meals.

Holiday meals like this one with turkey and dressing are often hearty.


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Hearty meals replete with large servings and desserts can fill the holiday season, and that presents problems for people who suffer from acid reflux or those who are making efforts to control their weight. 

Fatty, spicy or acidic foods might trigger acid reflux, heartburn or regurgitation in people who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, while foods high in carbohydrates or fat can cause issues for people who are trying to lose weight. 

Overeating can cause serious problems for both, ranging from discomfort or disrupted sleep to need for medical attention. 

Limiting food choices and serving sizes can help preserve the joy of cooking and eating with family and friends. 

Here are some tips from Dr. Paul Frassinelli of AnMed Piedmont Surgical - Anderson that can make holiday meals more pleasant: 


What to eat if you have acid reflex or GERD 

Skip cranberry sauce, tomato-based foods, onions, garlic and any others that are acidic or are known to cause problems. 

Avoid foods cooked in grease. 

Choose dressings and desserts that are low-fat, non-dairy and chocolate-free. 

Stick to safe foods that have not caused symptoms before. 

Drink only water, decaffeinated tea or coffee, and non-alcoholic beverages. 


What to eat at holiday meals without gaining a lot of weight 

Choose high-protein foods, and eat them first. 

Skip high-carb and fried foods. 

Select low-carb vegetables and casseroles. 

Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol. 

Include activity before and after the meal for exercise. 


How to eat holiday meals while controlling GERD or limiting weight gain 

Use small plates. 

Practice portion control and moderation. 

Eat slowly and chew thoroughly. 

Stick to one helping. 


How to address the source if you have chronic heartburn or acid reflux 

AnMed offers dietary counseling and management for referred bariatric patients. The program can help clients make healthy food choices for life, including the holidays. Assistance includes identifying behavioral patterns, meal planning, nutritional education and sustainable dietary changes. 

Our experienced team of physicians and surgeons are honored to be recognized as area leaders in weight-loss services. We have a dedicated weight-loss center conveniently located in Anderson, and we are proud to serve residents across Upstate South Carolina and northeast Georgia. For more information, visit 

If chronic heartburn or acid reflux are causing you to miss out on enjoyment of holiday meals or favorite foods, AnMed Piedmont Surgical can help. Dr. Frassinelli performs transoral incisionless fundoplication, also known as the TIF procedure – an outpatient procedure that treats heartburn, GERD and acid reflux at its source. This procedure has a quick recovery time and no scarring. 

And Dr. Frassinelli has performed the TIF procedure more than any doctor in the Upstate. 

Get back to living without pills or heartburn. To find out if you are a candidate, visit or call 864.512.7222.