Low fat high protein foods are essential for those who suffer with pancreatitis. Unfortunately there are not a ton of choices when it comes to low fat, high protein foods. As a result many people find themselves losing weight due to the inability to tolerate most high protein foods because a large majority of those high protein foods also boast a high fat content.
As you should know from reading my blog, fat is a major enemy of an inflamed and or damaged pancreas, especially saturated fat. Digging out low fat high protein foods that are safe and conducive to pancreas healing may seem like a daunting task. So I’ll help.
Low Fat High Protein Foods List
I’ve compiled a list of low fat high protein foods in order to save you time and make your life a little easier.
Here is my list of low fat high protein foods that I’ve found work in my personal diet.
You’ll have to test whether or not they work in yours.
They should but there is always a chance they won’t. By following a step-by-step pancreatitis meal plan that you formulate by doing a proper food diary you can tailor make your own pancreatitis diet plan.
SKINLESS chicken, quail, grouse, pheasant (breast only) and chukar all seem to work well especially if roasted, boiled or baked. The best and easiest to obtain year round is of course chicken.
1/2 of a skinned (skinless) chicken breast yields 27 grams of protein, a full spectrum of B vitamins and a some minerals with 3 grams of fat, only one of which is saturated fat.
If you note the nutrition data shown at the link above is for roasted chicken breast. Leg and thigh meat has a little more fat content, in fact TWICE the fat.
I am able to tolerate some thigh and/or leg meat (at the time of this writing). You may not be able to as yet. Stick with white meat (breast, wing) until you are completely healed. Then if you feel adventurous you can try some leg or thigh meat.
Turkey breast pushes the envelope at a couple grams of fat over the 5 allowed per meal. It works for me (at the time of this writing) but may not work for you. I know I have previously said turkey is safe however, some nutrition data sources have conflicting data on fat gram content. Cooking style may have a lot to do with how much actual fat poultry has upon ingestion.
I would suggest that all poultry be trimmed of fat then roasted, grilled, broiled or boiled so that the fat content can be drained off or removed. When boiling bring poultry to a boil and then soft boil for 10 minutes, remove the meat, dump the fat , clean the pot and then add more water, the meat and cook until done. Skim off any fat floating on the surface after cooking thoroughly. Yes, I know it sounds like extra work, it is, but, your pancreas will like you.
Goose, duck, cornish game hens are NOT good choices. All have to much fat content. So it is wise to avoid them.
Low fat high protein foods include white meat fish.
Cod, rock fish, pollock, bass, pike, walleye, perch, crappie all seem to work well.
You can grill, poach, bake, roast (broil) or even pan fry your fish (no oil). White meat fish, like those mentioned above, are the best low fat high proteins foods.
It is good to like fish.
Wild Atlantic Pollock (if you can find it) and wild Pacific Cod are my personal first choices when it comes to low fat high protein foods.
A 90 gram fillet (about 3 oz) of Pacific cod offers high quality protein (21 grams), low fat (1 gram), a school of vitamins, minerals and omega 3’s. In fact cod is probably one of the best sources of high quality protein you can eat. Wild Atlantic Pollock boasts more Omega 3’s and more B12 in the same amounts and the same 1 gram of fat as Cod.
Try to avoid farm raised or the new GMO franken fish.
Shellfish, like mollosks and scallops, are all good choices for low fat high protein foods as long as they are NOT cooked in oil or butter or some mystery fat.
Shellfish are an excellent source of protein and other nutrients and make a great addition to your pancreatitis diet. The only problem is that they are expensive.
If you are lucky enough to be close to a clean fresh water source (river, stream, lake) that contains freshwater mussels and crayfish (crawdads) you could catch a mess of mussels and crawdads and have a feast.
Nice big crayfish have tails like little lobsters and are simply delicious. The mussels are similar to clams. I’m lucky and many of the places I love to fish have both and so I make some yummy, nutritious, campfire cooked meals while out enjoying the wonders of nature.
Beans, peas, lentils are powerhouse sources of vitamins and minerals. They are low fat high protein foods that should be a staple in your diet. Beans and rice can be a complete meal with complete protein.
Couple either of the above choices (chicken or fish) with a cup of home-made pinto beans and you have a powerful, nutrient dense, low fat, high protein meal. One cup of home-made pinto beans adds 15 grams more protein, vitamins, minerals and 1 gram of plant based polyunsaturated fat. Brown rice added to the mix provides even more.
Egg whites are a decent source of protein and should be included in your low fat high protein foods diet. The cool thing about egg whites is that they have ZERO fat, ZERO cholesterol.
Egg whites don’t boast a lot of nutrients but they do provide qulaity protein. 6 egg whites scrambled or made into a spinach omelette make a fine breakfast and provide about 24 grams of protein. If you add in a potato, with skin on, (fried in a non-stick pan without oil), a slice of whole wheat toast and some fresh organic vegetable juice you have a powerhouse breakfast or dinner. The only fat is in the toast, maybe 2 grams depending upon brand of bread.
Eating low fat high protein foods is important for those who suffer with pancreatitis. If you know what is usually safe and how to cook it you should see a difference in your journey towards beating pancreatitis. The above list should help.
I’ve had really bad pain from legumes, and my doctor said to avoid them because they’re generally harder to digest compared to the other sources of protein that you listed here.
I hear stuff like this all the time or used to when I was a member of a couple support groups. The people were all sick, eating foods that would make me sicker than a dog and blaming cabbage, grapes, beans, spices and all kinds of GOOD anti-inflammatory foods while still eating high fat garbage such as steak, roast, bacon, mayo and more. You can believe whoever you want, eat whatever you want but there are only two enemies, FAT and ALCOHOL. Either will make you sick so …
IF you had weiners and beans it wasn’t the beans that caused you pain it was the weiners or beef or bacon or ham or whatever other dangerous food you coupled with the beans. IF the beans were NOT vegetarian, look at what was in the beans, it is more likely the garbage fat from whatever meat was in those beans that really caused the problems. One cup of cooked pinto beans have 1 gram of plant (polyunsaturated) fat. I can eat 3 cups of the little devils (my home-made fart makers) and have ZERO pancreas problems but …
You’d have to do a proper prep and food diary to know what I am telling you is true. As far as being difficult to digest, everyone seems to be under that opinion but I beg to differ. They make people fart. If you don’t want to fart don’t eat beans. Eat whatever you like. It’s your show, you’re the director. If you get tired of being sick come on back, read, learn what I actually did to start healing and see if it works for you. Good luck with whatever you do and I hope you get well! 🙂
thank you for all your information! Just got home from the hospital with Chronic Acute Pancreatitis. Thought I was dying this time. I don’t drink at all and I have Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction. Thanksgiving is going to be lovely. LOL. I do appreciate your site and all your info.
The good news is that SOD seems to respond well to a low fat diet and the supplements. So take a serious look at your diet and consider taking grape seed extract and vit C to keep the inflammation at bay and to also help inhibit the acute pancreatitis. Grapefruit juice or grapefruit seed extract also helps inhibit AP. Good luck to you Stephanie 🙂
Is it safe to eat bread? And which type is best for pancreatitis?
Bread is usually safe in small amounts (one or two slices) depending upon ingredients and fat grams.
What about salad dressings? Have you found anything at all that can be added to help flavor up the rabbit food? Thanks!
Hi Sherie – flavoring rabbit food is a challenge. Rice vinegar may help you find it more palatable. Then there is the basalmic vinegarette (without the oil). If you like tomatoes, lime juice, garlic, chipotle chili powder, and catsup well you may like this as well (4 tomatoes juiced, 7 juiced limes, 4 garlic cloves minced, 1 Tbls chipotle chili powder, and 1/2 cup of catsup) mix it well If you like cilantro add a dash. If you don’t have a juicer just cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the juice. This is my spicey ceviche sauce but goes well with just about any type of greens. If you don’t like spicey leave out the 1 Tbls chipotle chili powder. I’ve done it either way. I have found that I can modify almost any vinegarette (NO OIL) and have something that is palatable, even good! Good luck 🙂
Lifetime cheeses have been good for me :-), old Swede that I am…
I’ve looked for fat free cheese and it seems to be elusive! lol
Thanks so much. Should have read this before I messaged you. I’ll try some of these protein-rich foods you’ve recommended. Thanks for doing the time-consuming research. Pat
Pat you are most welcome 🙂
I was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis (fall into the unknown category, lypase level around 750 during attack), and I’m juice fasting -clear liquid diet- currently until my lipase levels go down. Still at 400. Does protein at this stage put a burden on the pancreas? I know the pancreas excreted Protease to break down protein, but I don’t know if it’s similar to lipase, where it will cases inflammation and strain this early in the game. I found a bone broth that had decent protien yesterday, but it felt like my stomach got a little uneasy. Trying to be super careful so my condition doesn’t go chronic.
Lastly, do people ever 100% recover from acute Attacks? All signs point no, but I did have a mild attack. I’m wondering if maybe after a year of a strick diet I can go back to a semi normal life and eat a burger every once in a while.
Thx for any answer you can provide!
Hi Kris – sorry to hear you have joined the pancreatitis hall of pain.
Question #1 – “Does protein at this stage put a burden on the pancreas?”
Answer: If your lipase is still at 400 EVERYTHING will undoubtedly burden your inflamed pancreas. If it were me I’d be on a water fast for a few days. The organic juice (veggie and fruit). I’d be taking the supplements grape seed extract, vitamin C and curcumin (all highly anti inflammatory). I’d go to the store and get some white, unsweetened grapefruit juice and drink about a quart per day (it fights inflammation and protects the pancreas BUT (word of caution) grapefruit does NOT play well with prescription medications. SO FIRST – Check with your doc AND pharmacist to see if amy medications you are currently on prohibit the use of grapefruit. If you’re good to go get some GFJ. And stay away from animal products especially red meat (beef, lamb, sheep, goat, elk, deer, moose, antilope), pork, bear, duck, goose and cornish game hens. No broths made with animal products or parts. Any high fat foods will cause problems (egg yolks, milk, cream, butter, margarine, cooking oils, nuts, peanut butter, almond butter, soy, etc.). NO alcohol.
Think VEGAN, MODIFIED VEGAN – vegans do NOT eat meat but they use high fat ingredients in cooking, you should not. There is a whole bunch of posts about healing your pancreas with diet and supplements on this blog. It takes about 3 – 6 months for one timers to completely heal. So make sure you do what is necessary because the good news is ….
Question #2 – “do people ever 100% recover from acute Attacks?”
Answer: According to statistics 80% of those who have one mild attack usually heal with no further incident. Do things right and try to make sure you are one of the 80%! I would like for you to heal and be normal and then never see your smiling face on here again. 🙂
P.S. I’d also take 200 – 400 mgs of Ibuprofen daily for about a week to help eliminate the residual inflammation. Ibuprofen is NOT safe (can cause bleeding and in rare instances heat attack, kidney and liver damage but that is usually confined to those who use high doses, over 1000 mgs per day, for long periods for conditions like arthritis) so I would MOT take it any longer than necessary.
Hi There, just discovered your website.
Wish I had come across it a month or two ago.
My husband has been diagnosed… so far with chronic pancreatitis. Problem is feeding him. He has no desire to eat at all. The only thing he will take is an ens_re shake. I have been doctoring it with tumeric, a sprinkle of bicarb and some honey. I’m not so sure about the soy protein though. And not sure he is getting enough protein from it? There is 5gm fat per shake. Also give him lemon juice about 3 tablespoons with a teaspoon of honey and half a teaspoon bicarb which settles his tummy almost immediately. Can I add whey powder?
Tomorrow I will go find grape seed extract!
We are in South Africa.
Hi Bron Grey Fulton – sorry to hear your husband isn’t well. be very careful with those Ensure shakes. MOST contain oil. Oil is pure fat. Fat is not good and oil is not good at all. Ensure does make a drink that is usually safe (no oil). Read about it here. You should be able to find it in your local store. Whey powder may or may not work You’ll have to TEST it. Make sure you read labels and avoid high fat products, especially those that contain ANY kind of oil.
Hi Health Guy,
Thank you for your response.
I check every label now. But unfortunately we don’t have the products here you suggested.I did see though, a shake product for breast feeding mothers that has no fat, do you think that would work?
I bought the grape seed extract and the digestive enzymes and boosted his vit c, also give pre and probiotic x1 per day, and started him on grapefruit juice last night.
He’s had the best day today in a month!
I also took out the turmeric as on Wednesday the doc was saying something about the bile duct being dilated. I also bought fat free milk and will test it as well. He’s never been lactose intolerant before, so maybe we can extend his limited culinary fare with that .. and some powdered chocolate. Found one that is dark cocoa and fat free. 🙂
You are a blessing! Thank you.
If ever you feel the desire come out to Africa We live in Zimbabwe. We would love to show you our Africa.
Bron Grey Fulton – This is good news! I like hearing stuff like this: “I bought the grape seed extract and the digestive enzymes and boosted his vit c, also give pre and probiotic x1 per day, and started him on grapefruit juice last night. He’s had the best day today in a month!” Pretty cool, so something must be working! IF I ever get to Africa I’ll tell you before I leave. Thank you for the offer. 🙂
About that shake product – as long as it doesn’t have oil in it or any other high fat food it should be ok. You’ll have to test it to find out for sure.
Thank you for the kind words and I hope your husband continues to improve!
If you have questions please ask.
Is pasta ok to eat with Acute Pancreatitis ?
Hi Rhonda – I’m not sure whether you mean AFTER acute pancreatitis (symptoms have resolved and you feel ok) or during an attack. IF you are having an attack you should seek medical care and eat nothing. No food during an attack. Pasta by itself is fine (after an attack when you feel well enough to eat). What you put on it is a whole different story. NO OIL in preperation (some people put olive oil in the water to cook it), NO oil in any commercial red sauce (read labels), no beef or pork etc. No high fat sauce (alfredo, etc). No butter, margarine, etc. It is best to make your own red sauce. That way you can leave the oil out.
What about fermented foods, seaweeds, and tofu?
Hi liaskitchen2014 – fermented foods often contain alcohol from the fermentation process so make sure to check them out, seaweed is excellent and full of nutrients, tofu is usually to high in fat (made from soy).
My initial episode of pancreatitis was secondary to the diagnostic procedure ERCP and my Lipase levels initially were 26,400. I had been recovering nicely until a couple of days ago( initial pancreatitis was 6 months ago) and I am in horrible pain and awaiting my blood work results. I lost so much weight with my original bout and was just beginning to eat more normally. Now, I am drinking Pedialyte, Gatorade and water. The doctor told me I could have clear broths, Jello etc. what do you think?
Deborah – IF I were in “horrible pain” (I have been) I wouldn’t eat or drink anything for sometime then water to hydrate. Pain is a sign the pancreas is inflamed and angry. Food of any kind is NOT a good idea. Water only until the pain resolves and a good dose of Ibuprofen (800-1200 mgs) would certainly help. In a couple days after the pain resolves I’d try V8 juice or my own home blend of juice and if that went well for a couple days then steamed veggies (plain, salt, pepper ok – NO FAT such as butter etc) and rice (plain). If that works for two or three days then I’d try some protein such as egg whites (no yolks) done without oil or fat. That is what I’d do.
Hi there. My mom was recently diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis and she is having a hell of a time trying to get enough calories and nutrients without getting sick. Doctor’s haven’t been very helpful on giving her a list of do’s and don’ts of diet. She is afraid to do meat right now because she just had a flare up and is so sensitive. I bought her Isopure zero carb zero fat whey protein powder. Thoughts on that? She is afraid of eating all together, she has been in so much pain. Right now we just need to get her sustenance. Thanks for taking your time to help so many people!
Hi Anna – I understand. It is super difficult to get enough nourishment when you get very ill every time you eat. Make sure she has anti nausea meds (promethazine 25 mgs in either suppository or pill form. Zofran 8 mgs in tabs). Get both because sometimes both are needed and ask the doc for enough so she can take the zofran daily before eating and have the promethazine (suppositories) as back up if needed. I buprofen 400 mgs daily or even twice daily may be extremely helpful for pain because it is an anti-inflammatory med and when the inflammation resolves the symptoms usually do as well. The Isopure zero carb zero fat whey protein powder looks awesome if she tolerates it that could help a lot!
Recently had pain related to pancreas, trip to ER excruciating pain, found your info most helpful.