By Katie Johnson
We’ve all been there—in the middle of a dinner party with plates of “special occasion,” “just this once,” and “grandma’s special recipe” being shoved in our faces. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably heard a variety of these small, but persuasive comments from so-called “food pushers.” With hundreds of calories hanging in the balance, you see your diet about to be derailed, springing forth an inner panic.
Before becoming aware of calories and nutrition, I would have easily given in to any and all requests to eat (I even remember eating homemade cheesecake once…I hate cheesecake). But now, foods fit into one of two categories: the “Worth It” foods, and the “Not Worth It.” Truth be told, not every dish I come across at a party or office event is going to fall into the “Worth It” category, so I started really thinking about the foods I chose.
The first time I displayed this consideration at a big party, I actually got the “you’re eating too healthy” comment, like health is something we should only worry about when it isn’t a special occasion. Of course, we all want to go with the flow. No one wants to insult the host or cook! At the same time, why eat the extra calories when you’d really rather not?
To help you get through the special occasions, or even just a treat from the office baker, here are some of my go-to ways to put off the food pushers and still save face:
- The Good Old “I’m Not Feeling Well”
This one can be great all-around, but you have to be willing to play the part. It would only insult someone if they saw you on the dance floor ten minutes later! Best for: work food pushers, low key events.
- “Can I take a doggie bag?”
This one is one of my favorites! What better way to compliment the cook than to ask for some food to bring home? This one can go hand-in-hand with letting the food pusher know you’re full. “I’m actually pretty stuffed! Everything is so delicious. Can I take a bit home if you’re planning on getting rid of any of it?” Check. And. Mate! With close friends and family, doggie bags could be a really great option.
- Laugh it off
Humor is the easiest way to divert the attention if you’re asked at a party with a group of others. Depending on the joke or comment you make back, it can even change the subject! A win-win. You’ll have to be a bit creative to come up with the best comeback! This excuse is great for parties and situations of all kinds.
- Go simple—You’re Full!
I know it seems like no one will believe you, but feigning full (or even if you really are full) can be a great way to silence people. Best at all times.
- Allergies or Medication
For certain foods, especially elaborate dishes with a variety of ingredients, allergies can be a great excuse. Medication is the key excuse for alcohol-pushers! Nights out with friends and a few drinks can be a diet-buster. Fortunately, no one would want to push alcohol on you if you’re on an interacting medication!
- Eat slowly
You’ll still be eating when everyone else is finishing up! It will actually look like you’re eating more than the others because you’re eating for longer.
- Take a bite, eat some, put the rest in a paper napkin or tissue.
Don’t want to turn down that “special recipe” completely? Put a little on your plate, eat a bite or two, carefully put the rest in the napkin! You don’t have to eat the whole dish just to make the cook happy—the very action of taking some should do just fine.
- Enjoy a bite or two—explain you’d like to try a bit of everything
No one will want you to be full too quickly! Put the food on your plate, have a bite, push it around a bit and explain you’d like to save room to try everything. Make sure you share your thoughts on the dish after you’ve had a bite or two.
Ultimately, the better your reaction to food pushers, the easier it will be for you to face any situation with complete control. What are your favorite excuses for food-centric events?