Meal replacement bars, shakes and diabetic foods are part of a healthy meal plan for people with diabetes. The right snacks and meals help people with diabetes maintain blood sugar levels and may curb hunger.
- Meal planning and snacks. Meal planning is an important part of managing diabetes. Sometimes you crave a salty or crunchy snack. The better snacks ward off hunger, control blood sugar and help you avoid weight gain. Snacking can be beneficial if it is counted in your daily meal plan and does not elevate your blood sugar.
- Uncooked starch. Also called raw starch, uncooked starch is resistant to digestive enzymes and does not easily break down. It absorbs more slowly into your bloodstream than other types of starch. Some diabetes snack bars contain uncooked starch to improve blood glucose control.
- Overnight problems. People with diabetes may experience problems overnight such as the Somogyi effect or rebound hyperglycemia. Hormones such as cortisol, catecholamines and growth hormones are released in the early morning hours and can increase blood sugar when proper insulin is not available. This is referred to as the Somogyi effect. Rebound hyperglycemia can take place when you have low blood sugar overnight and the liver dumps excessive glucose into your bloodstream to compensate. Snacking on meal replacement bars before bed may prevent overnight problems.
- Food, snacks, bars and shakes. There are a wide variety of diabetic foods. Satisfying diabetic snacks include Extend bars, shakes, crisps and drizzles and Glucerna shakes and bars. Extend snacks and shakes help you control hunger, manage weight, avoid blood sugar lows and highs and maintain energy throughout the day. They contain resistant starch which can help maintain night time sugars. They are also low fat, high protein and gluten free. Glucerna shakes and bars are low sugar to help you maintain blood sugar levels, manage hunger and control your weight.
- Healthy weight and snacks. Conscientious snacking can minimize hunger pangs that lead to binging and weight gain. People will diabetes need to maintain a healthy weight by watching their calorie and carbohydrate intake. The ADA suggests the ideal diabetes meal plan has 50 to 55 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat and 10 to 15 percent protein. People with diabetes are often put on a diet of 1,500 to 1,800 calories daily to maintain a healthy weight. This may vary based on sex, age, body style, activity level and current weight. Check with your dietitian or diabetes educator for individualized recommendations.
- Meal replacement. Bars and shakes are meant to be snacks and can occasionally be used for meal replacement with a larger bar. Real food at mealtimes is always the preferred choice for people with diabetes. Skipping meals is never recommended as it causes blood sugar drops and spikes. Meal replacement bars and shakes should only be used in a pinch. A liquid shake on-the-go can be very satisfying because it fills the stomach.
The right snack choices are part of a healthy meal plan for people with diabetes. Skipping meals causes blood sugar drops and spikes. Diabetic bars and shakes can be used occasionally for meal replacement to avoid fluctuating blood sugar levels.