Pancreas Diet: Healthy Meal Plan For Pancreatitis

When the pancreas is inflamed or irritated it can cause a certain degree of pain and discomfort resulting in malnutrition and weight loss. Individuals with mild pancreatitis can benefit from thought pancreas diet recipes along with some lifestyle changes to control its symptoms.

fresh cut fruits in 2 heart shaped bowls

Pancreatitis is a condition that results from the inflammation of the pancreas.  The pancreas produces insulin as well as other digestive enzymes essential for our body to absorb the nutrients from the food we eat. When the pancreas is inflamed or irritated it can cause a certain degree of pain and discomfort resulting in malnutrition and weight loss. Individuals with mild pancreatitis can benefit from thought pancreas diet recipes along with some lifestyle changes to control their symptoms.

Symptoms of  Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis can suddenly manifest itself and can be diagnosed as either mild, acute, or chronic pancreatitis. Mild pancreatitis may heal on its own without treatment but if left unchecked can progress to severe and life-threatening complications. 

The signs and symptoms of pancreatitis are not the same for each person.  Mild cases of pancreatitis can have the following symptoms :

  • Abdominal pain radiating to your back
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Pain in the abdomen after eating
  • Abdomen is tender to the touch
  • Presence of fever
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Rapid pulse

Individuals with chronic pancreatitis will often experience these symptoms :

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Smelly and/or oily stool
  • Upper abdominal pain 

It is advised to consult your doctor immediately should you feel persistent pain in the abdomen and if the pain keeps you from comfortably sitting down. 

What Causes Pancreatitis? 

Certain health conditions can lead to a poorly functioning pancreas. It is best to have regular blood work done to keep track of triglycerides, thyroid function and calcium levels in the blood as these can help determine if you are at risk for pancreatitis A pancreas that does not function properly can cause further health issues such as diabetes. Here are some common causes and conditions that may lead to pancreatitis : 

  • High triglycerides or hypertriglyceridemia
  • High levels of calcium or hypercalcemia
  • Overactive parathyroid gland
  • Infections
  • Gallstones
  • Alcoholism
  • Smoking
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Abdominal Injury
  • Abdominal Surgery
  • Some medications

Coping with Pancreatitis 

Nutrition plays a vital role in treating pancreatitis. The impact of this disease in patients can be devastating if left unmanaged. Once a patient has been diagnosed with pancreatitis, proper diet and nutrition is the main goal for pancreatitis management to help with the impact of the disease in the patient. These specific goals are crucial in the treatment and management of the disease :

  • Maintain optimal blood sugar levels
  • Beat malnutrition and avert nutritional deficiency
  • Guard against diabetes and  kidney issues

These goals can be best achieved by providing a pancreatitis diet for the affected individual which can help manage the symptoms.  It is crucial to stick with foods low in fat, high in protein from lean sources of meat, whole nutrient-rich fruits, and vegetables. Alcohol consumption is a big no as well as staying away from fried greasy food. The very first step to a pancreatitis diet is to go on a fast for a few days.

Doing this helps give the pancreas a clean break and give it time to rest from its already stressed out function. When it is time to resume food consumption, it is recommended to have small frequent meals instead of three big meals in a day. 

What are the best foods to eat? 

Keeping a low-fat diet is essential to manage pancreatitis. This eases the workload on the pancreas in digesting food. Choose plant-based dairy alternatives so your pancreas does not need to work double-time to process it. Fiber lessens the chances of gallstones as well as a high level of fat in the blood while lean meats become a good source of protein. If you happen to have a sweet tooth, grab a handful of fresh or frozen berries instead. Snack on a platter of cucumbers, celery, and hummus. Consuming adequate amounts of fiber provides the body with antioxidants that naturally fight off free radicals and help reduce inflammation in the pancreas. 

Which foods should you limit or avoid?

Organ meatsRed meat
Alcohol Full fat milk, cream, cheese
Mayonnaise Butter and margarine
Fries and chips Pastries, bread, donuts, cakes
Sugary drinksWhite rice, white pasta
Processed food /meats Starchy vegetables
Fast food

Pancreatitis requires clean eating to help the pancreas from working twice as hard in processing food. Food products made with refined sugars, simple carbohydrates from white rice and refined flour don’t make things easy for the pancreas and can cause a spike in your insulin levels. Most people with acute and chronic pancreatitis often tend to acquire diabetes. The aim of going on a pancreatitis diet is to ease the workload on the pancreas and keep it clean. Consuming foods that burden the pancreas in digesting will more than likely result in severe health issues and even death. Planning and prepping your meals will go a long way in managing pancreatitis. Healthy and filling recipes such as this Lime Chicken in herbs and spice is a great recipe for a hearty lunch with a green salad or with some grilled vegetables and wild rice for dinner. 

Sample One Day Menu


  • Scrambled eggs with spinach, ( use egg whites only )
  • 1 slice whole-wheat toast + 1 tbsp fruit compote/preserve
  • Black coffee or tea

AM Snack

  • An apple + tea  or an Avocado smoothie


  • Red rice and beans
  • 1 pc Tortilla 
  • 3 oz Chicken breast, grilled
  • Salsa, guacamole 

PM Snack

  • Whole wheat crackers, thins
  •  1 banana 
  • Water oAlmond milk tea with chia seeds


  • Green Salad with Grilled Shrimp + balsamic dressing
  • Fresh fruit juice

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