Does the 'Girl Dinner' Trend Promote Disordered Eating? Nutrition Experts Weigh in

If you’re one of those people who is thinking about what they’re making (or not making) for dinner by the time lunchtime rolls around, welcome. Meal prep for the entire week isn’t for everyone and sometimes the fridge is empty save for a few leftovers, a block of cheese, and some hummus. Anyone who’s ever thrown a makeshift meal together out of whatever snack foods and appetizers they had laying around has made what hundred of millions of TikTokers are calling a “girl dinner.”

Some posters sharing their meal choices to the catchy “Girl Dinner” theme song are posting what looks like a hearty charcuterie board you’d get in a nice restaurant, complete with meats, cheeses, veggies, and other bites. Others are posting a plate of chips, a bag of popcorn, or a cheese stick and handful of strawberries as their “dinner,” whereas that might be a light midmorning snack for many people.

What do nutrition experts think about the TikTok trend with almost 800 million posts — can glorifying eating snacks for dinner or lighter portions influence people who might be susceptible to disordered eating? Keep on scrolling to find out what you should know before you grab a girl dinner and how you can make sure your meal is balanced and filling.

Take note of what you have eaten throughout the day.

Did you have a big, filling midday meal that was more like a dinner? You might in the mood for something lighter in the evening in that case, which is okay. “Even if someone has a smaller dinner that’s balanced like a charcuterie board, but they had a pretty big lunch, then that makes sense. The concern is when it’s consistent and there’s not enough nutritional value,” explains family physician Dr. LaTasha Perkins.

But if the rest of your meals that day weren’t packed with nutrients, just having a bag of chips for dinner that night is not enough to get you through until the next day. Some of the “girl dinner” posts can leave out the context of what else the person ate that day. “It’s possible they had a bag of chips for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s not clear and it normalizes disordered eating,” says Perkins.  “It’d be great to have that context, people saying ‘this is my girl dinner because my lunch was full and delicious.’”

The idea of a ‘girl dinner’ isn’t inherently bad.

Hey, if you’re saving time on preparing an elaborate meal (especially if you cook for one or yourself and a toddler) and have more time to relax and get a restful night’s sleep, go for the girl dinner when you can. If it’s a balanced, “snacky” dinner, filled with veggies, eggs or other proteins, dips, cheeses, and breads, that is absolutely okay, says dietitian Amanda Wahlstedt, RDN, CDN, MSc.

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