Party Recipes Without the Burn

Medically Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on March 08, 2024
7 min read

Almost everything we do during special occasions increases the chances of having heartburn. From eating large, indulgent meals (especially if they include spicy foods), drinking too much alcohol or coffee -- to simply eating late at night -- heartburn can make you feel miserable when you want to be at your best.

But heartburn doesn’t have to put a damper on your party plans. A few basic rules of thumb can help you manage heartburn: Eat slowly -- don’t rush your meals. Stick with small meals instead of huge portions. Pump up the fiber whenever possible. Common heartburn trigger foods include:

  • Fried or fatty foods
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic and onions
  • Citrus and tomato
  • Chili peppers and other spices
  • Beverages such as coffee, caffeinated tea and cola drinks, alcoholic beverages, citrus and tomato juice. Instead, choose plain tap water, which dilutes acid in the stomach and helps remove any acid coating the esophagus.

Remember, you can enjoy the party without the “burn” by making smart choices when celebrating. Try these easy and delicious recipes that replace high-fat, greasy, or creamy ingredients with heartburn-friendly alternatives.

Rich and fatty foods and foods with garlic, onions, and certain spices, can trigger heartburn in some people.

Heartburn-Friendly Macaroni Salad:
This higher-fiber macaroni salad features a low-fat and lightly seasoned dressing. You can easily add additional ingredients as tolerated.


3 hard-boiled eggs
2 cups dry whole wheat macaroni noodles
2 teaspoons parsley flakes or 2 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste and as tolerated
3 tablespoons real or light mayonnaise
1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (fat-free sour cream can be substituted)

Optional Additions: (if tolerated):
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet or dill pickles


  1. Boil your eggs if you haven’t done this already. Then boil the macaroni noodles, following directions on the bag (boil noodles for about 8 minutes). Drain noodles well and rinse with cold water and let cool.
  2. Place noodles in serving bowl along with parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and any optional additions that are well tolerated.
  3. In small bowl, blend mayonnaise with Greek yogurt well, then stir into the noodle mixture in serving bowl.
  4. Peel shells off eggs and remove half of the yolks. Chop remaining eggs and stir into the macaroni mixture. Cover and let macaroni salad sit in refrigerator overnight (if you have the time).

Yield: 8 side servings (double recipe to make 16)

Per serving: 129 calories, 6 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 2.4 g fat, .5 g saturated fat, .9 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 41 mg cholesterol, 2.2 g fiber, 142 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 17 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids = .1 gram Omega-6 fatty acids = .8 gram

Deep-fried or fatty food can trigger heartburn and so can eating larger-sized meals -- we tend to get both when eating at fast food restaurants.
Heartburn-Friendly Chicken Strips:
Help yourself by making your chicken strips at home and using the oven instead!


1 pound chicken tenders
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon canola oil (for greasing bottom of baking sheet)
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper (if tolerated)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Canola cooking spray


  1. Wash the chicken tenders and dry well with paper towels. Place chicken pieces and buttermilk in medium-sized covered bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Spread the canola oil over the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  3. Place flour, pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl and whisk to blend ingredients. Place Panko crumbs in a shallow bowl and line up the bowls and pan in this order: flour mixture then chicken then Panko crumbs then prepared baking dish.
  4. Place one piece of chicken in the seasoned flour, then dip the chicken back into the buttermilk briefly. Place chicken in Panko crumbs next, and then place in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining chicken tenders. Coat top of chicken strips generously with canola cooking spray.
  5. Bake in center of oven for about 25 minutes or until chicken is nicely browned on the outside and cooked throughout on the inside. Remove from oven and serve with desired sauces or condiments that are well tolerated.

In general, people with a tendency to have heartburn might react to condiments/sauces containing tomato based products, chili pepper, Tabasco, mustard seed, curry powder, and fresh garlic.

Yield: Makes about 8 chicken strips

Per strip:124 calories, 14.5 g protein, 7.5 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g fat, .7 g saturated fat, 1.7 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 36 mg cholesterol, .2 g fiber, 116 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 25 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids = .2 gram, Omega-6 fatty acids = .6 gram

Many dips and spreads at parties are made with high-fat ingredients like butter, mayonnaise, or cream cheese and fatty foods and foods with garlic, onions, and certain spices, can trigger heartburn in some people.
Heartburn-Friendly Dip:

This delicious hot dip features a low-fat and lightly seasoned Alfredo sauce and your choice of spices to use as tolerated.


Alfredo Sauce:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups low-fat milk, divided (whole milk or fat-free half and half can also be used)
4 tablespoons unbleached white flour or Wondra quick-mixing flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (if tolerated)
1/8 teaspoon white pepper (if tolerated)
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and gently squeezed of excess water
2 cups chopped artichoke hearts, water packed or thawed from frozen, drained and chopped (marinated artichoke hearts can be used if drained well)
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Coat an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with canola cooking spray.
2. Make Alfredo sauce by whisking together olive oil, 1/3 cup of the milk, 4 tablespoons flour, nutmeg and pepper to medium, nonstick saucepan. Slowly stir in remaining milk. Bring mixture to a gentle boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to medium-low and continue to gently boil, stirring constantly until sauce thickens (about 2 minutes). Stir in 1/3-cup shredded Parmesan cheese.
3. Add garlic, green onions, spinach, artichoke hearts, Alfredo sauce, and mozzarella cheese to a large mixing bowl and stir to blend with a spoon.
4. Spread mixture into an 8 x 8-inch baking dish and bake until bubbly (about 30 minutes). Serve warm with bite-size pieces of whole wheat sourdough bread or whole grain crackers or tortilla chips.

Yield: Makes 12 servings

Per serving (just the dip): 98 calories, 7 g protein, 9 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 1.5 g monounsaturated fat, .3 g polyunsaturated fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 130 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 37 percent.

Omega-3 fatty acids = .1 g Omega-6 fatty acids = .2 g

Rich desserts and desserts with chocolate or peppermint may trigger heartburn in some people.

Heartburn-Friendly Blonde Brownies:
This higher fiber and lower fat blonde brownie has plenty of flavor -- without the chocolate!


1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup less fat margarine with 8 grams fat per tablespoon and no trans fat
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Mix-ins (optional, not included in nutritional analysis): Include 1/2 cup dried cranberries and/or 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans and/or 1/2 cup of any other ingredient you can tolerate well.


  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Coat a 9-inch nonstick round or square pan with canola cooking spray.
  2. Add flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and whisk together well; set aside.
  3. Melt the margarine in a small, nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and continue to cook for about a minute. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  4. Add brown sugar mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until well blended. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, just until blended. Stir in the optional “mix-in” ingredients if desired, then spread into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies are done to your liking (don’t over-bake if you like them on the chewy side). Let cool about 10 minutes then cut into 16 squares.

Yield: 16 servings

Per serving: 98 calories, 1 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1.2 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 136 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 32 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids = .1 gram, Omega-6 fatty acids = .8 gram