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Ask The Allergy Chef: How to Politely Decline Food?

Ask The Allergy Chef: How to say no when I’m offered food?

    Hi. I’m somewhat new to food allergies (diagnosed as an adult) and I’m really struggling with what to say when people offer me food. I don’t want to say no and disappoint them. Please help.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re struggling with this. Honestly, I’ve seen that it doesn’t matter when you were diagnosed, this is something a lot of free-from people struggle with. I think personality type also plays a role. It’s extra hard to say no if you’re a people-pleaser by nature. Here are some strong thoughts I want to share. It might be hard to sit with, so be warned.

    1: You are under zero obligation to eat any food offered to you.

    2: It doesn’t matter how much a person spent on the food. You are under zero obligation to eat it.

    3: If you’re grandma made you a batch of cookies, you are under zero obligation to eat those cookies.

    4: You are in full control of what enters your mouth/body. You’re under no obligation to eat something you don’t want.

    5: Your health and safety come first. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re under zero obligation to eat the food.

    Coming to terms with those kinds of statements will make it easier to say no thank you to people. Also keep in mind that if you accepted X from someone in the past, and can no longer do so, explaining your new diagnosis to them will help them understand what’s going on. With good friends, this can also help them know how to better support you.

    I’ve got this great article for you to read that I think will really help you formulate a plan when you need to say no.

    Remember, this is a critical skill at this point now that you’ve been diagnosed. Practice. Don’t allow yourself to be harmed to spare someone else’s feelings. Real/good/true friends (and family) will be understanding. Maybe not at first, but they will absolutely come around and want to help you feel your best.

    Anyone who tries to steamroll over your boundaries needs to be a text message friend.

    I’ll add this note for others reading. If you’re managing children, make sure you teach them this skill. It’s so important as they grow up and have time away from you to know how to advocate for themselves. The article I linked is a great starting point.

    You can do it!
    ~The Allergy Chef

    Importance of Saying No When Living with Food Allergies

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