Declining Food

This can be a tough one, sisters …

Picture it:

You’re in the throes of Thanksgiving.

Much to your delight, someone else has done all of the cooking.

(A girl can dream, can’t she?)

So, you’re sitting pretty before a plate that is courteously clean …

nary a smudge of gravy left behind.

You’ve tried the turkey,

sampled the stuffing,

reveled in roasted veggies,

nibbled, noshed,

sipped, and sampled—

and, lo and behold,

you’re finished!

Now, here comes the hard part:

Your hostess,

beaming with benevolence,

says you must eat more, a little taste of this, oh, and you haven’t tried that.

Perhaps she’s already bearing down on you …

with a wedge of green, foamy jello “salad” (a family tradition)

Instantly, you feel


Maybe you’re on a diet,



or maybe

you’re just plain full (or anything that’s green and foamy doesn’t appeal to you).

You don’t want another bite,

but how can you say so

and not hurt her feelings?

No worries.


Tactfully declining an offer of food can be as easy as 1-2-3.

Here’s the plan of action:

  1. Put aside your panic, resist the urge to blurt excuses, and just smile. Yep, smile. This simple gesture conveys satisfaction and confidence without a single word.
  2. Gently hold up your hand and subtly shake your head—again, these are wordless messages that spare you the agony of justification.
  3. When asked point-blank to partake in more of the meal, keep your verbal answer short and sweet. A nice “no,” accompanied by a gracious “thank you” will work wonders. If you face further plying, state how much you enjoyed the meal but can’t possibly take another bite. Period. Avoiding excessive explanations will prove to be a lot less painful for you and your hostess. (In other words, no lectures about good health and green foam.)

Image courtesy of

  1. Terry Steinmetz says:

    So good to hear this again!

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Why do people think it is important to try and force people to eat more food? This has always been so annoying to me who happens to not eat a lot at each setting. I never would do this to my guests. Your tips are a good reminder of how to be gracious while getting your point across that the answer is NO!

  3. Emily says:

    I would add another suggestion. . . Sometimes a hostess has so much leftover, she’s trying real hard to get rid of it. Perhaps you decline politely, “No thank you, it was so delicious, and I’m quite satisfied! But if you’re truly looking to get rid of it, I wouldn’t mind taking home some to enjoy again later!”

    Then the hostess (or host) will certainly not feel insulted. At least I wouldn’t if someone declined this way.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *