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Best cooking methods for heartburn sufferers

If you've got a craving for fried chicken, coat boneless, skinless chicken pieces with water or chicken broth, then roll them in seasoned breadcrumbs and bake until they're cooked through. © iStockphoto.com/Benjamin Brandt If you've got a craving for fried chicken, coat boneless, skinless chicken pieces with water or chicken broth, then roll them in seasoned breadcrumbs and bake until they're cooked through. © iStockphoto.com/Benjamin Brandt
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By Jessica Goldbogen Harlan
 

Do high-fat foods tend to give you heartburn? If so, then how you cook can be as important as what you cook. Even if high-fat treats aren't one of your personal heartburn triggers, they can still lead to extra pounds, which in turn can make heartburn episodes more frequent and severe. By opting for low-fat cooking methods, you can fuel your culinary passion and create tasty meals while keeping heartburn symptoms in check. Here, the best cooking methods for heartburn sufferers: 

1. Forego the fryer.

If it's fried -- or battered and fried -- it's high in fat, notes Angela Ginn-Meadow, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietitic Association. So if you've got a craving for fried chicken, coat boneless, skinless chicken pieces with water or chicken broth, then roll them in seasoned breadcrumbs and bake until they're cooked through. You'll get that crispy texture and flavor with less risk of aggravating your heartburn.

2. Fire up the grill.

"Grilling, like broiling, reduces the total fat of whatever it is you're fixing," says Dr. Kristine J. Krueger, a gastroenterologist and the chief of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky. Try grilling lean meat, like turkey tenders or flank steak, then brushing it while still hot with a little bit of teriyaki or barbecue sauce (stick with mild sauces if spicy ingredients are a heartburn trigger for you). Cover the meat with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

3. Get steamy.

Steaming vegetables in either an electric steamer or a steamer inserted in a saucepan can lock in flavor and nutrients and preserve the veggies' crisp texture without adding fat. For an Asian twist, steam a mix of baby bok choy, water chestnuts, snow peas and broccoli, then sprinkle with a tiny amount of low-sodium soy sauce and a handful of sesame seeds.

4. Roast for richness.

Roasting food in the oven can bring out a wonderful caramelized flavor, especially in vegetables. Krueger suggests roasting tomatoes, peppers and onions that have been lightly sprayed or tossed with olive oil, then tossing them with pasta for a low-fat, heartburn-friendly treat.

5. Cook under pressure.

A pressure cooker cooks food in an enclosed pot using steam and pressure to ramp up the temperature. Because it cooks in about one-third of the time, it's a great way to make a hearty stew or a rice-and-beans dish without a lot of extra fat. That's why pressure cooking is one of the best cooking methods for heartburn sufferers.

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Jessica Goldbogen Harlan has written about food and nutrition for Pilates Style, Arthritis Today and about.com.