Food is ingrained into so much of our culture. As a dietitian, I talk about food all day, everyday…sometimes even when I’m not at work. But you know what? The way we talk about food matters. A side comment made in passing can create a whirlwind of internal turmoil for one who is or has been sensitive about their body or the way they eat. Somewhere along the way- in the past thousand years- it has become acceptable to make unsolicited comments about what others are eating. Well I’m here to tell you, it’s not. 

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Here are 5 things not to say about food during this holiday season…

1. Avoid commenting about the food or lack of food on another’s plate.  A lackadaisical comment about a roll or extra scoop of green bean casserole will achieve nothing in that moment. But such a remark can create an obsessive thought process about eating in public- how much is okay to eat in front of people and is this a socially acceptable food?  Specific phrases to avoid: Are you sure you should eat that? I thought you weren’t eating that food anymore? 

2. Avoid commenting on how much someone is eating. I don’t know about you but my body tells me when I’m full, not Joe Shmoe over there.  If I eat a fourth of what is on my plate or if I eat three plates- it is not a place for commentary. Specific phrases to avoid: I can’t believe you can eat all of that. Are you sure you want to go back for seconds? Is that all you are eating? You eat like a bird! That’s a really big piece of pie- someone will be on the treadmill for awhile tomorrow. 

3. Peer pressure is not okay. Avoid commentary that encourages someone to eat a food they do not want. If someone does not want a piece of your pecan pie or the homemade hot rolls- they will survive, I promise! Do not continually ask/pester/question why they are not eating the pie. Specific phrases to avoid: Just one piece won’t hurt you. You have to have _____ , it’s the holidays! This is the best pie, you sure are missing out. 

4. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. Not pie. Thanksgiving is still Thanksgiving if I don’t get to eat my granny’s apple pie. I still get to see my family. I still get to spend an uninterrupted day with my husband and new puppy. I still get to have a warm place to eat a great meal. Specific phrases to avoid: It’s not Thanksgiving without _______. 

Who wouldn't want to spend Thanksgiving with this sweet face?! Meet Henry Armstrong, my sweet pups

Who wouldn’t want to spend Thanksgiving with this sweet face?! Meet Henry Armstrong, my sweet pups.

5. Avoid negative self talk and guilt associated with food choices. Food is food- that’s it.  Your food choices do not own you or determine your self worth. You will not be a better or worse person based on the food on your plate. Make your choices and own it. 

This post was adapted from https://www.buzzfeed.com/ariannarebolini/what-not-to-say-about-food-at-thanksgiving