Happy Birthday ____(Insert every name here_!)


(My niece Clara on her 1st birthday & 1st time eating sweets)

Another obstacle I find myself eternally battling is surviving family functions while trying to continue clean eating. I always say being Italian is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing of course to have a close knit, loving, large and supporting family. The curse, is our perpetual love and devotion to food. I say devotion in the true literal sense of the word. My family loves food. I mean, really loves food. We eat when we are happy, and we eat when we are sad and every emotion in between. Our favorite thing to do is celebrate birthdays. And with such a large family, there are plenty of birthdays every month, and we celebrate each and every one, no matter how young or old. And when it’s not someone’s birthday, we make it one because the kids are so used to singing the Happy Birthday Song now they get upset if we don’t. For example, on Christmas, we sing to baby Jesus. (You get the idea.)

And with every celebration comes a plethora of junk food, either a foodie’s dream come true  or  for those of us on diet, your worst nightmare. When every where you look there are cupcakes and cookies calling your name, and homemade vodka sauce and fresh Italian bread, you may become to feel overwhelmed.

But I like to look at the glass half full.So I’ve developed a plan of action to enjoy the best of both worlds. You can’t dodge the parties, but you can arm yourself and face them head on. So here’s how I find my happy medium.

1. On the days you know you are attending the party, get up early and workout! Go for a run, a walk, do p90x, Crossfit, the gym, whatever floats your boat. Just get up and get moving, no excuses!

2. Do not, I repeat, do not go in there hungry. If you are hungry before you even get there, then chances are you will end up starving and ravenous.  Make sure you drink plenty of water, and have a nice healthy meal prior to arrival. This is key. That way you are full and not as likely to pile up the junk food.

3.Indulge, yes, you read that correctly, Indulge. Scope the party, and find the one thing that looks the most appealing to you or that one cookie you have to try, and do it! Just limit yourself and stick to that. up

4. Keep busy! Talk to friends and family, catch up on their lives. Run around with the kids and help the host or hostess clean up. The busier you are the less time you have to keep eying the snack table, and while actively burning calories.

5. Have fun, and remember if you do overindulge, just pick yourself up and dust it off. It happens, and life is too short not to sometimes


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