Right now, another TikTok food trend is taking the digital world by storm. Officially, as of this story’s publication, #girldinner videos have reached 97.6 million views, and there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon.
But what is a “girl dinner” anyway?
After browsing numerous TikTok videos with the #girldinner tag, the consensus is that this trendy meal is a variation of a small buffet of snack items or charcuterie staples that can easily be found in a fridge or pantry.
Typically no cooking is involved in making a “girl dinner,” as shown in this video from food content creator Alana Laverty (@alanalavv).
@alanalavv Replying to @María GM thank you to everyone who commented ‘girl dinner’ on my snack plates and introduced me to the best concept / phrase ever #girldinner #snackplate #snackplates â¬ original sound – hanana
Laverty talked to the New York Times about embracing the girl dinner trend after looking for something different at mealtime, especially in the warm summer months.
“I feel like cooking full meals just gets so repetitive and exhausting, especially in the summer,” she told the publication. “When dinner came around, we would just pick up one main cheese or one, main protein and get a fresh loaf of bread and throw it all on the plate. It’s a really normal way of eating for me now.”
You Can Go Gourmet With Girl Dinners
Many people have jumped on the girl dinner trend because the prep is simple, and the ingredients are as individual as the person creating the plate.
CNN writer Casey Barber refers to her version of girl dinners as her “snack dinner” or “permission slip dinner” because of the lack of rules to follow in creating the meal.
Sometimes, Barber will create her snack dinners out of what’s already in the kitchen. However, she also likes to use her girl dinners to splurge on special items she enjoys.
“Castlevetrano olives, a wedge of Gorgonzola or fresh figs,” she wrote. “[…] Normally I’d feel a little guilty about buying these ingredients for myself, but for a snack dinner, there’s inherent permission to eat what brings you joy.”
While Barber and other girl dinner creators like to get fancy with their plates, other TikTok users have no issue keeping things simple and amusing.
Shai (@bricheblunt) proudly showed off her girl dinner on her TikTok account, and it’s one many people could relate to.
But, Do These Dinners Contain Enough Food?
Not everyone is on the girl dinner bandwagon. A growing number of viewers and behavioral specialists question the trend’s impact on our culture.
As girl dinner TikTok video views continue to climb, other users are using the platform to share concerns about the trend’s potential to glorify food deprivation.
Lexie Firment (@missfirment) recently shared a TikTok video about how girl dinners can trigger some people with eating disorders and how these meals aren’t dinner.
“Sure, it looks healthy,” she said as she pointed out a typical girl dinner plate. “You have a protein in the corner. You have a little bit of maybe a carb…but I can tell you this is not enough for an active growing person […] This is sad and should not be promoted to young girls on this app.”
@missfirment The problem with girl dinner for me is that this is NOT enough Dinner. #girldinner #girldinnerdate #eatmore #dietreview #diettok â¬ Yacht Club – MusicBox
Behavioral and mental health experts also worry about the impact these viral videos might have on impressionable viewers.
Chelsea Kronengold, who holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology and specializes in eating disorders, body image, and social media influence, talked with USA Today about the issue.
“There’s a social comparison factor where you’re seeing viral videos of what other girls are eating and then as someone watching this, especially young vulnerable girls, they’re thinking ‘I should only be eating that amount, too,'” she said.
In addition to concerns about the trend’s influence on eating behaviors, Kronengold also points out that calling this trend “girl dinner” advocates gender stereotypes about what females eat and how much they should eat.
“The concept of women and girls eating smaller portions has been presented to us through time and social media perpetuates this unhealthy notion,” Kronengold said to USA Today.
For now, the girl dinner video trend will likely keep filling our social feeds. This can be a fun trend to try on days when you don’t want to cook. However, like any viral trend, knowing its limitations and risks is important.