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Everything You Need to Know About TikTok's "Girl Dinner" Trend

Food

August 05, 2023

If you haven't been living under a rock lately, you've most likely seen the "girl dinner" trend going around. According to Healthline, this trend has amassed more than 533 million views on TikTok and, by the looks of it, is not going away anytime soon. Given its rising popularity, I think it's important that we sit down and chat about what girl dinner is and its effects on perpetuating eating habits.

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What is Girl Dinner?

For those who are wondering, what is "girl dinner"? And why is it so popular? Picture this: You're scrolling on TikTok, and suddenly your phone erupts into a catchy melody, singing, "This is what I call... Girl Dinner!

Girrrrl dinner, girrl dinner, girrrrrl dinnnner!" You see the most random combinations of food/snacks pop up on your screen. That's basically girl dinner. These combinations can range from Pepsi with unseasoned ramen noodles to macaroni and cheese served in a wine glass with a side of chicken tender (yes, these are actual "girl dinners"). My favorite includes the main dish of air, a side of water, and a piece of gum for dessert or a meal consisting of five strawberries, a boiled egg, and one cheese stick. However, the trend didn't always start out this way.

Like many other viral sensations on TikTok, this started as a simple joke made by a creative mind. Olivia Maher casually shared a video of her dinner, a delightful assortment of bread, cheese, grapes, and cornichons, playfully likening it to a meal fit for a medieval peasant. Other girls chimed in and started implementing their own versions of girl dinner.

They create charcuterie-adjacent assortments of bite-sized treats that they'd grab from their fridges and cupboards when they're alone and seeking a quick snack fix. But then, It just spiraled into the flaming hot Cheetos dipped in sour cream and box of Texas Roadhouse bread roll-filled mess we have now.

@liviemaher #girldinner #medievaltiktok ♬ original sound - Olivia Maher

It's even gone as far as fast food places started using this as an opportunity to promote their businesses. Popeyes has jumped on the viral "girl dinner" trend with its own twist, offering a selection of sides that can be combined to create a complete meal. These sides include mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, Cajun fries, coleslaw, biscuits, and red beans with rice. Unlike the typical combo deals, this promotion allows customers to order the sides individually.

This trend offers a creative departure from the usual aesthetic-focused eating habits and encourages intuitive eating. Here, you don't need to worry about "eating pretty" or looking "aesthetic." It's a refreshing change, especially when you're pressed for time or energy and can't go grocery shopping. Instead of elaborate gnocchi dishes, you get to enjoy more relatable meals like Doritos and other simple treats. Needless to say, anything can truly count as girl dinner and can be a fun challenge to take part in when you're doing it the right way.

@elevateyourboutique Girl dinner to the extreme #girldinner #girldinners #girldinnersong ♬ original sound - karma carr

The Dark Side

However, even the most well-intentioned actions have some kind of negative side effect. With videos of girls implying that going to sleep or having a glass of wine is "girl dinner," there has been some backlash from health experts, stating that it's promoting eating disorders and unhealthy habits. Previous research has shed light on the potential risks social media poses to young girls, as it may contribute to developing or worsening eating disorders.

In 2022, the Center for Countering Digital Hate conducted a study revealing that the app's algorithm swiftly delivers harmful eating disorder content to adolescent women shortly after they join the platform. Moreover, there is concern that the trend of sharing food-related content on social media could be detrimental to individuals in eating disorder recovery, as suggested by the Journal of Eating Disorders. With girl dinner essentially being a glorified snack plate, many food experts are concerned that girls aren't having a balanced diet and ensuring their body gets the nutrients they need.

@brookiebarry Girlllll dinnerrrrr #food #macandcheese #dinonuggets #dinnerideas ♬ original sound - karma carr

How to have a healthy girl dinner

It's probably ironic that I'm giving you advice on how to have girl dinner when it's meant to be a "rules free" meal. So, feel free to disregard my advice if you prefer to continue having your "girl dinner" your own way—that's absolutely okay. However, it's essential to remember that your body is like a temple responsible for powering your everyday activities and ensuring it functions properly. It's crucial to provide it with the necessary food groups.

Nourishing your body can require a bit of thinking, but it will go a long way in keeping you active and healthy. If you're a fan of the girl-dinner lifestyle, you'll love this helpful advice! Opt for whole, unprocessed ingredients to ensure your quick meals still provide all the sustenance your body needs.

To create a well-balanced spread, aim to include a protein, fat, and carbohydrate, incorporating at least four or five of the main food groups like grains, protein sources, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. And here's a pro tip: serve your meal on a 10-inch plate to ensure the right portion size. When planning a satisfying meal, try including at least one protein source, such as meat, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese, or chicken salad or smoked salmon for a more indulgent option. To add a burst of color and essential fiber, put some vibrant fruits or veggies on your plate. Don't forget to infuse some fun into your dinner! Consider adding flavorful elements like crackers, olives, or pickles to make the experience even more enjoyable.

Lastly, ensure you have a proper helping size that will keep you full and satisfied. Remember, a tiny slice of meat and a few berries won't curb your hunger—make it substantial enough to meet your body's needs. That way, you can still have girl dinner while making sure you're eating properly.

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Final Thoughts

As a woman myself, I must admit that I've participated in the concept of "girl dinner" in my daily life. It was initially meant to be a fun way for girls to relish their meals without facing judgment. However, health officials raise a valid concern about how this trend could lead to unhealthy habits.

That said, I strongly believe that we should be able to enjoy our meals freely and have our "girl dinners" whenever we desire. Food is something to be celebrated, and we shouldn't be burdened by others' opinions while savoring our meals. Still, we must be mindful of keeping ourselves well-nourished and not engaging in harmful behaviors.

Ultimately, "girl dinner" is about living life on our terms. So, go ahead, indulge in charcuterie boards or ramen, and don't let anyone make you feel guilty about it. Enjoy your meals to the fullest!

Williana Serve
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Williana is currently a freshman in college. She likes to learn new things especially involving Law & Advocacy. When she’s not doing schoolwork, she can be found watching TikTok, YouTube, or reading.

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