If most of the carbohydrates in your diet come from wheat sources like pasta, bread, cakes and cookies, you're on the fast track to obesity. Being overweight can put you at risk for such health conditions as sleep apnea, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and hypertension. If you're on the wrong nutritional path, a wheat free diet may be the solution for you.

Importance of Carbohydrates in a Wheat Free Diet

A wheat free diet is not the same thing as a carbohydrate free diet. When you follow a carb free diet, you eliminate all sources of carbohydrates from your eating plan. When you follow a wheat free diet, you simply stop eating foods that contain wheat.

Carbohydrates are essential to a healthy eating plan because they provide your body with the fuel it needs to perform everyday. When you eat carbs, your body digests them, converts them into glucose, and stores them for energy.

If you do not get enough carbs in your diet, your energy reserves will deplete and you will feel fatigued, weak and everyday movements will become uncomfortable. Eventually, your metabolism will slow down and your body will use fewer calories to perform. A stalled metabolism will make it harder for you to lose weight.

Healthy Sources of Carbohydrates on a Wheat Free Diet

Refined carbohydrates like wheat-containing bread and pasta raise your blood sugar levels, and increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and weight gain. Refined carbs digest quicker in the body and cause you to get hungry sooner. If you are trying to lose weight, being hungry all the time will not help you reach your goal.

When you get your carbohydrates from plant-based sources, you automatically reduce your caloric intake and stay full longer. When you are not hungry, you eat less food and you lose weight faster. Fruits and vegetables are also filled with fiber, so they keep your digestive tract healthy and help prevent constipation.

For optimum health, it is recommended that you eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This may sound like a lot, but you can easily achieve this if you add a vegetable with every meal, have a large salad each day, and snack on fruits and vegetables regularly.

Create Wheat Free, Carbohydrate-Rich Meals

Diets that do not contain wheat are growing in popularity, so specialty cookbooks are everywhere. If you invest in a few of these cookbooks, you can find healthy recipes that use plenty of carbohydrate-rich fruits and veggies. If you can't afford to buy cookbooks, you can find a ton of carb-rich, wheatless recipes online.

When you find recipes you enjoy, print them out and put them in a binder for future use. Here is an example of a carbohydrate-rich meal that doesn't contain wheat.

Asparagus Salad:

• juice of a lemon
• 1/4 cup of olive oil
• 12 fresh asparagus spears
• 1oz almond slivers
• 6 cups of fresh spinach
• 10 halved cherry tomatoes
• 1/8 cup of fresh shredded parmesan cheese
• 1/2 thinly sliced red onion

Mix the lemon juice and olive oil together. Coat the asparagus with half of the dressing mixture. Put the dressing-coated asparagus on a cookie sheet and pop it in a preheated, 350-degree oven for about15-minutes.

Put the tomatoes, onions, spinach, almonds, and parmesan cheese in a large bowl. After the asparagus spears are done, cut them up into small pieces and add them to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the remainder of the olive oil and lemon dressing over the salad. Toss and serve.