What can a pancreatitis patient eat?

4 Answers

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.
Husband has acute pancreatitis. And loves fried food, chocolate bars, chips, milkshakes, whole milk. Need to find good substitutes.
I want substitutes to these, that can be yummy and low calories. It's simply impossible.
No, can't eat them. Go on DASH diet.

The primary goals of nutritional management for chronic pancreatitis are:

  • Prevent malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies
  • Maintain normal blood sugar levels (avoid both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia)
  • Prevent or optimally manage diabetes, kidney problems, and other conditions associated with chronic pancreatitis
  • Avoid causing an acute episode of pancreatitis

To best achieve those goals, it is important for pancreatitis patients to eat high protein, nutrient-dense diets that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, and other lean protein sources. Abstinence from alcohol and greasy or fried foods is important in helping to prevent malnutrition and pain. 

Patients with chronic pancreatitis must be tested regularly for nutritional deficiencies. Vitamin therapies should be based on these annual blood tests. In general, multivitamins, calcium, iron, folate, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 may be supplemented, depending on the results of blood work.

If pancreatic enzymes are prescribed, it is important to take them regularly in order to prevent flare-ups.Taking enzymes can help to digest your food, thus improving any signs or symptoms of steatorrhea (excess fat in the stool, or fat malabsorption). In turn this will improve your ability to eat better, lowering your risk for malnutrition.

No alcohol.

No smoking.

A low-fat diet

The amount of fat you should eat varies depending on your weight and height, but for an average person, it is felt that you should not consume more than 20 grams of fat a day. No one meal should have more than 10 grams of fat. Eating boneless chicken breasts and most fish helps keep your meals low in fat. Cooking with Pam or any cooking spray instead of oils also helps. You can add fat-free chicken broth when you need moisture.

Alcohol and dehydration

If you have pancreatic disease, it is important to never drink alcohol. Research has shown that dehydration causes the pancreas to flare. Always drink plenty of fluid. It has been recommended that a patient always have a bottle of water or any liquid with them at all times. Drinking Gatorade or other sports drinks is a good way to keep from being dehydrated.

Taking a break

Sometimes it is best to rest the pancreas and limit your food intake. If you are experiencing a flare, your doctor may even recommend no food for a day or two. A diet of clear liquids can be followed when pain is severe. Clear liquids include apple, cranberry and white grape juice, gelatin and broth. The clear liquid diet, however, is not nutritionally complete and the diet should be advanced as soon as additional food is tolerated and according to the schedule given to you by your doctor.


 Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Cranberry Relish


1/4 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon chopped shallots (1 medium)

1/2 teaspoon sugar


2 large carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces (about 4 1/2 ounces)

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut in 2-inch chunks (about 3/4 pound)

1 small onion, cut into 8 wedges (about 14 ounces)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

 Lime -Spiked Black Bean Dip


2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper


Place beans in a food processor, and pulse until almost smooth. Combine the beans, carrot, and the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until well blended. Let stand 30 minutes. Serve with baked tortilla chips.

Main Dishes

Gloria Loring’s Lentil Stew


1 small onion, chopped

2-3 Tbs. Olive oil

(Optional: add one clove garlic, minced)

8 cups vegetable broth

1 cup lentils

2 bay leaves

½ cup basmati rice

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 small yam or sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 bunch spinach or Swiss chard

1 grated zucchini

1 small bunch basil, chopped

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. cinnamon

Salt, to taste


1. Sauté onion in olive oil until slightly golden brown. (Optional: Add one clove garlic,


2. Add vegetable broth, lentils, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer

for 20 minutes.

3. Add rice, carrots, and sweet potato. Simmer 15 minutes. Add water if the stew looks too


4. Add spinach, zucchini, basil, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and salt to taste. Simmer until all ingredients are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Serves 8

Citrus Chicken with Oregano and Cumin


(serves 4)

4 boneless chicken breast

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 garlic cloves, minced

zest and juice of 1 lime

zest and juice of 1 orange

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil


1. Place the chicken, oregano, cumin, garlic, and zest and juice of lime and orange in a large non-reactive shallow bowl and stir to combine.

2. Cover and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour and not more than one hour.

3. Remove and discard as much of the marinade as possible. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.

4. Place a large cast iron or non stick skillet over high heat and when it is hot, add the oil. Add the chicken breasts one at a time, waiting about 30 seconds between additions.

5. Cook until well browned and cooked throughout.

6. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve immediately.