Written by sweet, sweet intern Sondi Bruner.
Social situations that revolve around food can be awkward. We’ve all been there, whether you’re doing the fab detox cleanse, trying to lose weight or have food allergies.
Plenty of people don’t see food as nourishment - they view it as a vehicle for socializing, spreading the love and bonding with others.
But what is the best way to respond to well-meaning friends, family and coworkers when we’re presented with an item that doesn’t jive with our food philosophy or health style? Do you accept the offering and feed it to the family dog, or do you snort with haughty derision?
Unless you have Meghan’s wit and charm, the latter will likely land you alone with only your kale chips and goji berries to keep you warm at night.
So here are a few ways to decline offers of food without coming across as a smug, sanctimonious jerk.
Smile. Cause everything’s better when you smile, right? Numerous studies have shown how smiling can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, lift our spirits and release endorphins. Smiles are also contagious - and people presented with smiling faces are more likely to mimic a happy face in return. So smile when you politely decline, and mean it.
Bring a dish with you to a party. Toting something healthy along to share ensures you have something to munch on and gives you the chance to share your love of healthy eating with others. Quinoa salads and dips are good choices, and who could say no to Meghan’s spicy sweet potato brownies?
Tell the truth. It’s not necessary to divulge every gory detail, but clearly explain that you can’t eat peanuts, dairy, red meat, wheat, or whatever the case may be. No apologies, simply give ‘em the straight facts. Just don’t say that you’re on a diet or a cleanse, as others may think you’re merely jumping on the bandwagon of a fleeting fad. It’s better to say that you’re working on improving your health.
Don’t preach. Though you may have good intentions and are passionate about the way you eat, you can come across as pious or superior. No one wants to be around a negative nelly who lectures about the evils of factory farming or the benefits of sprouting. People don’t fancy being told what they ‘should’ do, so keep the recommendations to yourself.
Stand your ground. Be polite, but firm. Don’t let anyone push you around or make you feel like a nerdy purist who doesn’t know how to have fun, since we all know that eating healthy takes you to awesometown. If necessary, tactfully direct the conversation away from food to more interesting topics. You know, like the weather.
Question Of The Day: What are your tips for politely declining food?
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