How to Politely Deny Delicious Dishes

Steph Wagner

August 21, 2013

Casseroles, Breads & Dessert….ohhhh my.

I mean, that sounds like an amazing line up of food. A creamy homemade casserole, garlic bread and some cobbler? That meal would leave me officially comforted. Until it was over!

Sometimes I have lunch meetings with different groups of people. Which I love. I love gathering around a table for a meal together. It makes things less business like and more relational. We’ll get the business of course….but let’s just eat and chat for a bit.

Trouble is, sometimes I can’t control what we’re having. And todays menu? You guessed it: creamy casserole, garlic bread and dessert..oh my!

What do you do in this situation? Someone has worked really hard to create something amazing. Everyone around you is enjoying. You want to join in the fun. But there is a small hesitancy that holds you back or makes you feel incredibly unsure. Then you awkwardly have to answer when you aren’t eating. That’s the hard part for me, trying to get attention off of me and pointing it back to how great it looks!

I’m going to be transparent and give my honest go-to response in this situation. Which means I’m subjecting myself to the possibility of getting called out on it! 

**Note: I don’t say anything at all until someone asks. I just fill/order/sip my beverage and chat nonchalantly and have  good time. If someone eventually asks “aren’t you eating??” I say something in the realm of:

 I actually had a late breakfast/lunch so I’m not hungry. I wish I were! It all looks so good!

Then I move on with something else. I complimented the food, took the attention off of myself and changed the topic. Is it honest? Mostly…the food does look good! The most important part of this statement was true.

Did I really have a late breakfast/lunch? Perhaps but likely not. I probably packed a protein bar just in case I couldn’t make the meal something to fit within my nutrition needs. Or even better, I’m heading home afterward and can eat when I get there.

What’s awkward is responses like “I’m trying to watch my weight” or “I haven’t been eating carbs”

Why? Because the person you are talking to is more than likely enjoying their plate…or about to. Why go and throw a damper on their party? Food choices are just that…choices. We can chose and so can anyone else. I encourage politeness and moving the conversation along. It makes everyone more comfortable.

What about you? What’s your tactic for situation you won’t be eating when everyone else is?? Comment below. I’d love to hear from you!


5 thoughts on “How to Politely Deny Delicious Dishes”

  1. Hi Steph! Thanks for the great words of what one could/should say. I will try (TRY) to be strong and do this. –Instead of having a small bite of everything. So hard…

  2. It’s also difficult when you have food intolerances or allergies. The person went through a lot of trouble to make something yummy! You want to be polite. You want to be gracious. You definitely don’t want to hurt their feelings, but you also don’t want to spend the night in the ER. Thanks for writing this article, sometimes I forget that I’m not the only one who has to deny food.

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