Nutrition Advice & Recipes
This is a very important section for us at The National Pancreas Foundation. We recognize that quality of life is important for all of us but is certainly much more of a challenge for individuals and their loved ones trying to manage chronic illness.
Our goal is to provide support and information on all aspects of daily life, including nutrition, medical treatments, pain management, and practical tips.
For patients with pancreatic disease, there are many times when it is difficult to eat at all. Even when you are feeling well, you still have to be very careful to follow a low-fat diet. Below are some guidelines, and, as always, your doctor is the best one to tell you how to eat. Note that sometimes it is easier to eat small meals several times a day, instead of trying to sit down to three big meals.
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 50 grams of fat a day. Fat intake could range between 30-50 grams of fat, depending on tolerance. Daily fat consumption should not be concentrated in one meal but spread throughout the day in possibly 4-6 small meals. 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.
The NPF revamped and produced a new printed cookbook, an e-flip cookbook version, and created a printed patient-centered wellness pocket guide. The cookbook includes healthy, tasty, and low-fat recipes for pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and pediatric pancreatitis patients and their families. It also includes an “About the Pancreas” section. Click here for the e-flip cookbook.
Wellness Pocket Guide
The pocket guide includes tips, things to consider, and information for diet and wellness for both pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer patients. Click here for the pocket guide.
The cookbook and pocket guide were made possible by a comprehensive nutrition program grant provided by Abbvie.
To order the NPF Cookbook or Pocket Guide click here.
Before embarking on a new diet, exercise program, or medical therapy, please consult with your physician.
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.