Politely Declining Food

Politely Declining Food


after weight loss surgery


It’s hard to tell people no

It can be really hard to tell people no, Even more so when it’s family! If you’ve already worked through what you are not willing to give up when it comes to holiday foods, it might be that someone’s homemade dish wasn’t that item. So how do you say no the food, but not offend the person behind the food? It’s a super delicate topic!

I would venture to guess this is an area for many people as food issues are more common now. I know in my family we have someone that can’t eat gluten, another can’t have dairy and another can’t eat onions. So FOOD focused holidays are tricky. These are a few of my thoughts when it comes to approaching the holiday meals with food restrictions.

Communicate before the holiday meal

First, talk with your family in advance. Whether you’re hosting or going to someone else’s house, usually the topic comes up about the menu and who is bringing what. Here is my biggest piece of advice here, don’t use the word “diet.” Don’t even say you’re going low carb. Why? These phrases can bring up sensitive feelings. If someone is planning to bring all high carb foods, they might feel offended or judged. It really does matter to start with polite words before the event has started.

You might try saying something like “Thank you so much for hosting!  I’m so grateful for you and would love to help. You might know I have some food restrictions but the last thing I want is to put any more burden on you.” Doesn’t that sound polite? Then you can offer a few different dishes for the hostess to pick from. Avoid saying “what can I bring?”  because that’s too open ended and you might get assigned something you don’t want. Instead you might say “I would be happy to bring something. Would you prefer stuffed mushrooms, deviled eggs or sautéed green beans?”

This puts the hostess in the drivers seat too and allowing her a say in the matter. You gave options that you can definitely have so whichever she picks, you’ll be in great shape. Starting with the hostess also allows you get her on your team. She’ll know in advance that you have food restrictions and may help be an advocate for you when other guests are asking. If you’re hosting, you get to be the one in the drivers seat. You can plan your menu around what you need for yourself.

What to say when the food is in front of you and eyes are on you

Okay, now the biggest hurdle comes which on the day of the event. My advice for staying polite?

Distract and redirect.

Yes, the same thing I do with my young children. Seriously! If your family member is so concerned about what you aren’t eating, they need to focus their attention on something else. You can certainly keep it polite and say “everything smells so good and I love being at Aunt Carol’s house! Did she paint her kitchen since I was here last?” Or what about I’m already so full which is such a shame it all looks amazing! You’ve always been such a good cook. Who taught you to cook?

Or have you made anything new lately that you liked?” Even if she lists off foods you can’t eat, act very attentive and interject with recipes you’ve tried lately. Hopefully, this approach will help you dodge some “she’s on a diet” conversations {which are the worst}.

Heart to heart conversations with those closest to you

That being said, if the family members that are giving you the hardest time are the ones closest to you (like the ones that live in your house) you need to have honest, one-on-one conversations with them about how they can help love and support you through this process.

Extended family members need the “distract and re-direct” treatment but if it’s your spouse, mother or even grown child, I suggest a heart-to-heart talk to gain their support. If you’re a member to my site, videos like getting family on board and trashing the triggers will go a bit deeper how to handle these conversations. Those videos are reserved for members and will be linked below.

May you enjoy time with family, time off work and the joys of the season!

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