What to Say to People Who Push Food on You


Most meals pushers are well-intended, if misguided, however others could also be making an attempt to damage or sabotage you. Listed here are knowledgeable suggestions to assist deal with each kind of food-pushing scenario it’s possible you’ll encounter this 12 months.

Festive meals

“It’s the vacations. Let free a bit of bit!”

“One drink gained’t wreck your weight-reduction plan!”

“You want to eat extra; you’re too skinny!”

“Simply attempt a chunk. I labored all day cooking this. I promise you’ll adore it!”

Should you’ve shared a meal with different folks, likelihood is you’ve heard somebody attempt to push another person to eat or drink. And the vacations are primetime for “meals pushing.”

The vacation season is usually a parade of wealthy meals, indulgent treats, and overflowing drinks—tempting you not solely to bask in less-than-healthy meals, but in addition to eat an excessive amount of of it.

Overindulging by your individual selection is one factor. Nonetheless, typically folks overeat or eat meals they don’t need as a result of they really feel pressured to achieve this by others, says Susan Albers, a psychologist on the Cleveland Clinic specializing in consuming points and the writer of seven books on conscious consuming.

These “meals pushers” could make you are feeling wired, anxious, attacked, offended, and/or regretful. In some instances, it might even make you keep away from attending sure capabilities.

(Within the meantime, use these 29 easy methods to cut back holiday stress and anxiety.)

passing out traditional desserts on christmas

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Why folks push meals on others

There are plenty of social rituals, recollections, and feelings that go together with meals and the vacations, so it’s not stunning that folks could really feel extra invested in getting you to eat throughout particular events.

“Food is a superb connector. It may be an expression of affection and a means to strengthen bonds,” says Dr. Albers.

Not all meals pushing is completed in good religion, nonetheless, and there are seven essential causes folks inform others how to eat, says psychologist Jeff Gardere, an affiliate professor and course director of behavioral medication at Touro Faculty in New York Metropolis.


Feeding others is a really primal means of exhibiting care. It might be exhausting to really feel within the second, however the individual making an attempt to push you to eat one thing most definitely has good intentions.


Some family members could fear after they see you not consuming. They could be involved that you’re being too restrictive or choosy, and it’s harming your psychological or bodily well being. (These worries are usually not all the time right, but when this occurs lots, or comes from somebody you actually respect, it’s your decision to think about whether or not their considerations about your well being are justified.)


Some folks see weight-reduction plan or weight loss as a contest. Hardly ever, folks could attempt to sabotage your makes an attempt to get more healthy by getting you to overeat or break your targets. It’s an try to preserve you from being profitable after they really feel like they aren’t.

Misguided morality

Food is meals, however many individuals have come to affiliate sure meals as being “good” or “dangerous.” So when you’re being “good” by passing up an unhealthy deal with, then they could really feel like they’re “dangerous” and wish to persuade you to be a part of them to make themselves really feel higher.


In lots of cultures, sure meals are an enormous a part of vacation traditions. While you decline to eat a sure meals, your family members may even see that as declining to take part within the household traditions.


Somebody who has put appreciable effort into cooking one thing could push you to eat it as a means of validating their exhausting work and their cooking abilities.

Totally different experiences

Somebody pushing you to eat one thing could merely not perceive your emotions about sure meals. As an illustration, it’s possible you’ll know that one drink will ship you on a binge, however as a result of that isn’t a problem for them, they don’t see why it’s an issue for you.

(Be a superb instance by giving these healthy holiday food gifts that aren’t fruitcake.)

What to say to individuals who push meals on you in the course of the holidays

Kindness, courtesy, and empathy go a good distance in resolving points in the course of the holidays. Listed here are some suggestions from our specialists to allow you to deal with each kind of food-pushing scenario it’s possible you’ll encounter this 12 months.

Know what your boundaries are upfront

Resolve what you need to have and what you need to keep away from earlier than going to any vacation gathering. This manner you gained’t have to resolve within the second. Stick to your boundaries.

Instance: “I’m sticking to seltzer water tonight, thanks!”

(Right here’s how to set boundaries.)

Acknowledge the love behind the request

Many meals pushers are merely making an attempt to specific their love via meals. Acknowledging this can assist them really feel beloved again, whether or not or not you eat the meals.

Instance: “You remembered how a lot I like your baked brie, and meaning a lot to me! I’m going to move for now, however you might be so considerate, and I like spending Thanksgiving with you.”

Attempt a bit of humor

Woman Laughing While Sitting at the table for christmas dinner

Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Photos

Laughter is one of the best social lubricant, so attempt to preserve your reply light-hearted.

Instance: “Darn, until you’re providing to be my new private coach and cope with my again sweat for the following month, I feel I’d higher move on seconds.”

Praise the chef

If somebody has labored exhausting to make you particular meals, it’s well mannered to attempt a chunk or two, however when you actually don’t need to or if it would hurt your well being, it’s wonderful to provide your compliments and depart it at that.

Instance: “This cake seems to be like a murals, and I’m positive it tastes simply as superb! You are such a gifted baker, and I look ahead to making an attempt your meals one other time.”

At all times be well mannered

Even when you assume somebody’s intentions are usually not good—like a jealous sibling making an attempt to make you look dangerous—reply as if their intentions are good. You’ll seem like the higher individual, they usually gained’t know they obtained below your pores and skin.

Instance: “Thanks a lot for enthusiastic about my well being, that actually means lots to me! So I’m positive you’ll perceive why I’ve to move this time.”

Be OK with a bit of awkwardness

Saying no is uncomfortable for most individuals, and a method to cope with that discomfort is to simply acknowledge it.

Instance: “That meals actually seems to be scrumptious, and I don’t need to offend you, however I’ll move this time. I hope you perceive.”

Be sincere

Generally family members push meals as a result of they don’t perceive why you’re saying no. You don’t owe them a proof, however typically letting them know why it’s vital to you may assist easy issues over.

Instance: “I’ve been working actually exhausting with my nutritionist to get my diabetes below management, and sugary meals are an enormous set off, so I might admire it when you don’t carry me any dessert.”

… or inform a white lie

Mendacity isn’t an ideal technique, particularly when talking with family members, however typically a white lie may give you an out whereas sparing the opposite individual’s emotions.

Instance: “I’m so sorry, I ate earlier than I got here and I’m so full! Subsequent time I’d love to attempt your fruitcake.”

(That is how to cease being a people pleaser.)

Provide an alternate means to have fun

two friends looking at hats at the christmas market

Betsie Van der Meer/Getty Photos

Food isn’t the one means to have fun collectively, so if somebody needs to use consuming or ingesting as a means to join, you may attempt suggesting a unique exercise.

Instance: “As a substitute of going out for brunch, what if we stroll across the Christmas market?”

Ask for his or her assist

People typically love to assist, particularly in the course of the holidays. Allow them to know the way they may also help assist you.

Instance: “I’m so shut to my weight-loss targets! It might imply lots to me when you may assist me and never carry the workplace treats into my cubicle.”

Redirect the eye

A method to cope with individuals who push meals maliciously or repeatedly is to direct the eye away from you and towards their habits.

Instance: “Wow, you might be actually targeted on what different persons are consuming! Why is that?”

Change the topic

If somebody merely gained’t take “no” for a solution, it might simply be time to change the dialog and transfer on.

Instance: “Nah, I don’t want ice cream proper now, however inform me about your new job—do you prefer it?”

Share well being data correctly

Telling everybody that lactose provides you horrible diarrhea, and so that you gained’t be consuming the cheese dip, isn’t good dinner etiquette. Nonetheless, it’s OK to let folks know if a sure meals impacts your well being.

Instance: “These rolls are stunning, they usually scent superb! However I’m on an anti-inflammatory weight-reduction plan to assist my arthritis and if I eat them, my joints will damage. Thanks for understanding!”

Say what you’ll do

When it’s much less in regards to the meals and extra in regards to the exercise surrounding the meals, letting folks know you’ll nonetheless be taking part may also help them again off the meals pushing.

Instance: “I’ll skip the popcorn and scorching chocolate, however I’m excited to snuggle up with the household and watch Elf collectively!”

Be agency and repetitive

On the finish of the day, you’re the solely one who will get to resolve what you eat. You are below no obligation to give folks a motive for selecting meals, nor are you chargeable for managing their emotions. “No” is a whole sentence.

Instance: “No thanks.” Repeat as many occasions as essential.

Backside line

No matter your causes for turning down meals, it’s vital that you simply be true to your self, real, and well mannered, says Dr. Gardere. “This may engender mutual respect and can preserve it from turning into a clumsy scenario as a result of your response comes from the center simply as does their provide,” he says.

Subsequent, learn up on holiday issues only people with anxiety will understand.


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