A Daily Meal Plan for Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

The digestive enzymes your body needs to break down food and assimilate nutrients are produced by your pancreas every time you eat. The different enzymes are released in the duodenum. It is the upper part of your small intestine. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), however, is a condition in which the pancreas produces insufficient amounts of these enzymes, leading to nutrient deficits and symptoms including diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain.

You'll probably use pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, or PERT, along with close dietary monitoring to treat this problem.

Timing the Enzymes with Meals

PERT, which imitates the body's organic pancreatic enzymes, is used to treat EPI. These replacement pancreatic enzymes come in pill form and combine lipase, protease, and amylase.

It takes some trial and error to determine how many of these pills you need to consume. The optimal strategy will be determined over time by you and your doctor, but enzyme pills must always be taken just before each meal and snack. It is too late to wait till after eating.

Consuming a Balanced Diet

Have a healthy, balanced diet that includes lean meats, skinless poultry, fish, beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Also, you should include beneficial mono- and polyunsaturated fats in your diet while attempting to consume fewer items high in saturated and trans fats. You should follow a diet that is tailored to your unique requirements and as close to normal as possible. To make sure you're consuming the greatest possible foods, consider working with a qualified dietician, who can help you sketch out a diet strategy.

Opt for Small Meals

Try spreading out your meals throughout the day into four to six smaller ones rather than three large ones. The doctor advises keeping your daily total fat consumption to 30 to 50 grams and consuming some healthy protein at each meal and snack. Instead of frying food, bake, grill, or steam it. When purchasing packaged meals, check for the phrases "low-fat," "non-fat," and "fat-free" on the label. Staying hydrated is a crucial reminder to keep in mind throughout the day. Consume lots of clear liquids like water and steer away from high-calorie beverages.

Consume Vitamins

The body cannot metabolize lipids to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K with EPI. Your doctor or nutritionist could suggest vitamins to make up for these losses. Morning is the ideal time to take these vitamins, according to doctors. Vitamins A and E particularly may aid in reducing inflammation, which can exist in your pancreas if you have EPI. Consult your doctor or nutritionist to determine how much and which of these vitamins you may need.

Be Aware when Consuming Processed Foods

Partially hydrogenated oil can be found in the ingredients of packaged snacks, frozen meals, and similar foods, which increases the number of dangerous fats. Before making a purchase, review the ingredient and nutrition labels.

Avoid Smoking or Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Both could exacerbate your problems. Chronic pancreatitis, the sole cause of EPI, is also frequently brought on by excessive alcohol consumption. Since that alcohol might cause dehydration and inflame your pancreas, it may be advisable to avoid it. Drinking also hinders your body's ability to absorb fat. Speak with your doctor if you need assistance quitting these habits. Programs exist that can make quitting a little simpler.

The EPI Menu

So what menu can one follow when they suffer from this disorder? We have compiled a menu that they can follow.


Start each day with a serving of nutritious grains, vegetables, and protein. Prepare an egg white omelet with chopped peppers and tomatoes and serve it with fruit spread on a slice of whole-wheat toast. Some nutritious options are whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, almond milk, rice milk, or fruit with protein-rich Greek yogurt. While drinking tea or coffee, choose low-fat milk rather than cream.

When consuming fiber (such as whole-grain toast), keep an eye on your symptoms and alter your fiber intake or PERT dosage as necessary. Fibre might be annoying, especially if you already have some malabsorption from the outset. Fiber should be alright if you're using PERT successfully as a supplement; it shouldn't cause you more trouble than simply consuming fiber. If you pass enough fiber and fat, it will worsen the symptoms.


Plan your meal around lean proteins like water-packed tuna, chicken, or skinless, sliced turkey. One can add it to a salad or layer it on whole-grain bread with tomato and lettuce. Use mustard, flavored vinegar, or light mayo instead of high-fat condiments like salad dressing and regular mayo.


Consider serving 3 ounces of broiled fish with a half-cup of brown rice or couscous, some sliced carrots or peas, and a small number of other sides for supper. Use quinoa, polenta, or kasha to add diversity to side dishes by experimenting with other nutritious grains. Have fresh fruit for dessert or fruit-flavored frozen yogurt, ice cream, or gelatin for something sweeter.


You can increase your energy levels and get extra calories and nutrients by eating snacks throughout the day. You will be more inclined to consume smaller portions. Instead of reaching for the chips and dip, prepare a fruit smoothie with almond or soy milk, low-fat yogurt with a dash of vanilla and a banana, or a small cup of low-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit. Remember to take your enzymes before each snack, just like with your big meals.

What Foods must one Avoid with EPI?

Try to cut back on your intake of fat in general, especially saturated fats from animal-based foods like butter, cream, fatty portions of red meat, organ meat, and poultry skin. Don't eat anything fried, creamy, or cheesy.

According to doctors, you should also stay away from alcohol and trans fat, a hydrogenated oil that is particularly dangerous and frequently found in packaged foods.

Eating a nutritious, enjoyable diet is ideal, however, it can require some planning. Ask your doctor for guidance or enlist the aid of a nutritionist if you need assistance creating a food plan.


Although every case of EPI is unique, you may obtain the care you need to be healthy with the correct medicine, a healthy diet, and guidance from your doctor.

Updated on: 30-Mar-2023


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