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How to Snack Responsibly While Gaming: Healthy Gaming Snacks That Won’t Cause Heartburn

Reach for snacks that won’t give you heartburn while you’re playing video or tabletop games. This guide from TUMS can help you snack responsibly while gaming.

Gaming can mean something different to everyone. For some, it’s an involved tabletop game. Others may go online to connect with friends, compete in servers, and progress their characters. Whether you’re creating your own world or immersing yourself in one, reaching for something to eat seems like a no-brainer. To game comfortably and reduce the chances of heartburn, make sure you’re making healthy choices while choosing snacks for gaming.

Gaming Snacks That May Cause Heartburn

If you’re inviting some friends over for a board game night, you may think nothing of ordering a few pizzas to ensure that everyone has something to eat. After all, it’s a crowd-pleaser that’s just as good cold as it is right out of the oven. You may even want to add some spicy fried chicken wings to your order because they’re popular with your friend group.

Similarly, if you’ve logged on to a gaming server for a few late-night hours of finding limited-edition drops, it may seem normal to have an energy drink and an easy snack on hand. It might be easier to stop at a fast-food place and grab some chicken nuggets and fries rather than cooking a full dinner, and a bag of chips is an easy finger food.

Unfortunately, these snack choices are common heartburn triggers.1 Normally, when people eat, food passes down the esophagus and through a valve surrounded by muscles called the esophageal sphincter and into the stomach.1 However, if this valve is relaxed, the acid in your stomach that breaks down food can back up into your esophagus—a condition known as acid reflux.1 The things you eat can cause your esophageal sphincter to relax, leading to reflux, so it’s important to understand which foods can cause heartburn so that you can manage your symptoms appropriately.1

The foods that are the worst for acid reflux and heartburn are those that are high in fat, spice and salt such as:1

  • Pizza
  • Fried or fast food
  • Processed snacks like potato chips
  • Fatty meats like bacon
  • Cheese
  • Chili powder

So, while a giant pizza with cheese and bacon and pepperoni might sound amazing on game night, it may cause you to feel the burning discomfort that’s the hallmark of heartburn.1

Other common heartburn trigger foods include:1,2

  • Chocolate
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Tomato-based sauces and products
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Alcoholic drinks

Healthy Snacks for Gaming

You may look at the list above and wonder, “what can I eat then?” There are a whole range of tasty snacks that can help keep heartburn at bay, so game night isn’t interrupted by a burning pain in your chest that keeps you from enjoying yourself.2

Instead of reaching for greasy, salty, fatty or fried foods that can trigger your reflux, consider some of these snacks for gaming that won’t give you heartburn:1

  • Baked sweet potato fries
  • Raw veggies like carrots, broccoli, green beans, celery, cucumber and cauliflower with a dipping sauce
  • Fresh fruits like bananas or sliced melon
  • Nuts of all kinds
  • Lettuce wraps with grilled chicken and brown rice

These snack suggestions help curtail acid reflux in a few different ways. High-fiber foods can make you feel full so that you’re less likely to overeat.1,3 If your stomach is too full, the food may sit for a long time, causing your stomach to create more acid, which may then come back up your esophagus – the exact thing you’re trying to avoid.1 Adding foods that are high in fiber, like sweet potato, broccoli and whole grains, are a great way to stave off reflux.1

Foods that are low in acid like banana, melon and nuts are more likely to help offset the effects of your stomach acid.1 Choose foods that are more alkaline to avoid heartburn or add foods that are more watery – like watermelon or cucumber – which can help to dilute stomach acid.1

If you looked at that list of healthy choices and wondered where the sweets were, don’t worry: replace fatty brownies with good-for-you oatmeal and make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!1

Managing Reflux While Gaming

As with most things, moderation is key. You can still eat as you like but take care that the snacks you choose when you’re gaming aren’t ones that will make you feel terrible after you eat them. Strike a balance with your snacks for gaming – have some slices of pizza, but instead of fried chicken wings, put out a tray of raw veggies for snacking.

If acid reflux is negatively affecting your gaming, try some of these lifestyle tips to help ease your heartburn:3

  • Avoid tight fitting clothing that puts pressure on your abdomen
  • Don’t eat too late at night.
  • Try to wait at least 2 hours after eating something before going to bed.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – excess weight can put unnecessary pressure on your abdomen and cause reflux.
  • Avoid foods that you know will give you heartburn.

Another smart idea is to keep TUMS products around. These antacids can help weaken the acid in your stomach on contact, so you can focus on getting through a dungeon in one piece.

Source Citations:

  1. GERD Diet: Foods that Help With Acid Reflux (Heartburn). Johns Hopkins Medicine. Accessed 9/6/23.
  2. Heartburn Symptoms & Causes. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 9/6/23.
  3. Heartburn Diagnosis & Treatment. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 9/6/23.
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