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Family getting ready for holiday dinner

How to Manage Heartburn Over the Holidays

Many people see the holidays as a time to catch up with family and friends over a shared meal. However, they can be a little anxiety-inducing for individuals who suffer from heartburn. While everyone loves a hearty and filling dish, many of the rich foods served around the holidays can leave heartburn-prone individuals with a familiar, uncomfortable sensation in their chest. If you’re worried about getting heartburn while spending time with family, don’t worry! With these tips and tricks, you can manage your heartburn over the holidays while still enjoying your meal.

What Are the Worst Foods for Heartburn?

Heartburn feels like a burning pain in your chest, usually behind your breastbone. Symptoms can include a bitter or acidic taste in your mouth and pain that gets worse when you lie down or bend over.1

While each individual has their own triggers, certain foods and drinks have been shown to cause heartburn in some individuals, including:1,2

  • Onions
  • Tomato products and red sauces
  • Citrus fruits
  • Spicy foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol
  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Coffee and other caffeinated beverages
  • Large meals
  • Processed foods
  • Fast food
  • Cheese
  • Fatty meats

Foods That Help with Heartburn

While the above list may seem intimidating, there are also a variety of foods that help with heartburn. If you’re cooking this holiday season, try incorporating some of the following into your meals:2

  • Whole grains including oatmeal, couscous and brown rice.
  • Root vegetables including sweet potatoes, carrots and beets.
  • Green vegetables including green beans, broccoli and asparagus.
  • Low-acidity (alkaline) foods including bananas, melons, nuts, fennel and cauliflower.
  • Watery foods including celery, watermelon, cucumber, lettuce, clear soups and herbal tea.

How to Lessen Holiday Heartburn

If you’re making (or just eating) a large holiday meal, don’t forfeit all the delicious sides and mains. Instead, swap out some heartburn-triggering foods for the following friendlier alternatives.


Many holiday meals include turkey. Turkey isn’t a particularly fatty meat and can make a great addition to your plate. Aim for white meat cuts over dark meat as they contain less fat, which can aggravate acid reflux.1


To make your stuffing more heartburn friendly, cook it outside the turkey to reduce the amount of fat it absorbs. In addition, leave the onions out of the recipe and add in some extra celery.2

Mashed and Baked Potatoes

Some mashed potato recipes contain whipping cream and cheese, which can aggravate heartburn due their high fat content.2 If that’s not the case, feel free to add some mashed potatoes to your plate. You can also opt for a baked potato instead, just avoid using onions or heavy cheese as a topping.  


While tasty, the classic green bean casserole topped with crunchy onions may exacerbate indigestion. If possible, aim for a serving without the onion topping or go for the steamed vegetables instead. Green beans, broccoli and asparagus are all reflux-friendly foods that make a great addition to your meal.2 If you’re doing the cooking, avoid using excessive spice as it can exacerbate heartburn.


There’s no need to forego a sweet treat at the end of your meal. Instead, choose a dessert that doesn’t contain common heartburn triggers, including acidic fruits, coffee or chocolate. For example, a slice of pumpkin pie can be a good alternative if it’s not over spiced.

Eat Mindfully

For some heartburn sufferers, it’s not what you eat, but how you eat. Eating slowly and mindfully, chewing your food and giving yourself time to digest before getting seconds can help prevent overeating and heartburn.1

If you accidentally overindulge, there’s no need to beat yourself up over it! It happens to many of us over the holidays. The time after a big holiday dinner should be reserved for board games with the family and relaxation, and uncomfortable heartburn symptoms can distract you from those quality moments with your loved ones. When heartburn makes an appearance, turn to TUMS for heartburn relief. Taking TUMS after a big meal can help neutralize stomach acid and put a stop to your heartburn due to upset stomach. Use as directed.

Don’t let heartburn get in the way of your holiday joy. Find more helpful tips on heartburn relief from TUMS.

Source Citations:

  1. Heartburn - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 9/17/22.
  2. GERD Diet: Foods That Help with Acid Reflux (Heartburn). Johns Hopkins Medicine. Accessed 9/17/22.
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