They mean well, but we all have them in our lives…

…a grandmother, aunt, colleague, or friend, or anyone really, who insists that you haven’t had enough to eat.

Or, that you need to eat just a few more mouthfuls.

Or, that you simply MUST try the new and improved trifle they made. Or, the new recipe they tried out.

Looking at these scenarios with our compassionate glasses on, we can understand that they are most likely pushing food on us as a way to show their love for us. You know the old, food = love?!


Purple background with text overlay that reads: what to do when people push food on you. feel good eating.


But as intuitive eaters, we like to choose our food based on our internal hunger signals and what is going to be the most satisfying. And we like to stop eating when we feel physically comfortable and satisfied.

Which causes a bit of a dilemma and makes things really hard when people push food on us and we are feeling the pressure to eat it and not upset the other person.

So, here are some ideas of how to navigate people who push food on you – whether that be over the holidays or at any time of the year!


1. physically escape

When food is pushed on you, you can excuse yourself to go to the bathroom or say, “I’m just going to chat with Uncle John – I haven’t caught up with him yet.” Your food pusher will likely have forgotten by the time they see you again.


2. postpone

When you are urged to eat more food, politely let your food pusher know you are still savouring your first plate and that you will have more a bit later. Again, hopefully, by the time you finish your first plate, they will have forgotten that they were trying to make you eat more.


Image of orange pumpkins and a bowl of pumpkin soup on a table. Second bowl of pumpkin soup in hands being offered.


3. distract

Genuinely compliment the person on how delicious the food is and thank them for the effort that has gone into preparing the meal or dish. Ask them where the recipe came from, or where they sourced an interesting ingredient from, or how they managed to get the pork crackling so crunchy etc. etc.

They are likely to be interrupted by another guest who can’t find the serviettes, or who needs help operating the dishwasher and then you can politely take your leave saying; “Oh, I’m sorry, I can see you are busy here, please don’t let me keep you.”


4. compromise

Rather than force yourself to eat more now, ask if you can take the food home to have later as leftovers instead. What you do with those leftovers once you get them home is then up to you.


5. simply say No

It is such a small word, but we have a lot of trouble saying it! Making sure you are super polite but firm is the key.


Remember that it is not your responsibility to make everyone happy! And that part of taking care of yourself is respecting your own boundaries and advocating for yourself to ensure that others respect your boundaries as well.



do you have another strategy that works well when food is being pushed on you?