Is “Girl Dinner”… Dinner? Why This TikTok Food Trend Is Getting Heated
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s summer editorial intern Alexandra Speck. Find her on Instagram at @alexandraspeckk. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first iterations of TikTok’s “girl dinner” were a snacker’s dream. A plate filled with morsels of cheese, bread, fruit, crackers, veggies, dips, and dressings is perfect for those nights when you have no idea what to cook. “#Girldinner” has over 650 million views on TikTok, but not every video is a personal charcuterie wonderland. The trend’s critics recognize that the girl dinner trend may now be promoting unhealthy habits. Is “girl dinner” for you? Read ahead for our thoughts on the trend.
How “Girl Dinner” Started
The phrase “girl dinner” went viral on Tiktok thanks to creator Olivia Maher (@liviemaher). Maher humorously compared her charcuterie-esque meal to something a medieval peasant may have eaten. Bread, cheese, fruit, wine, and what appear to be pickles are featured. As far as quick meals are concerned, the macronutrient balance is solid. Pickles are a great source of gut-healthy probiotics, cheese provides necessary protein and calcium (which is particularly important for women), and fruit rounds out the meal with additional micronutrients. Dietary variety is important in the long term, but the original girl dinner is a perfectly healthy and quick meal. The snacking structure means that it can be tailored to your individual preferences and seamlessly incorporate more fresh veggies, fat sources, and protein (prosciutto for me, please) if desired.
Despite being the term’s creator, Maher isn’t responsible for the viral audio featured in most videos with the hashtag “#girldinner.” The catchy song you’ve probably heard by now was created by @karmapilled on TikTok, the video in question currently boasting 14.4 million views. She shows off a half-eaten ice cream bar in the video, taking the “girl dinner” convenience to new heights. This video sparked a trend of showing off sweet or “fun” foods as “girl dinner,” deviating from the savory snacking plate in Maher’s original video. (Hey, we all eat ice cream for dinner sometimes.)
The jingle became the official “girl dinner” audio, with thousands of users on the app using it to share their favorite meals. Childhood comfort foods, favorite treats, and convenient snacks are among the most popular “girl dinners.” Staples like cinnamon toast and acai bowls perfectly encapsulate the trend; they’re enough of a treat to merit a TikTok, but not so outlandish that you couldn’t imagine eating them for dinner yourself. Whether or not these meals fit your personal nutrition goals, they’re solid meal inspiration for busy days and an enjoyable change from the complicated recipe tutorials that make up much of culinary TikTok.
The simplicity of these “girl dinner” videos is another refreshing change. Food-focused TikTok videos are usually cluttered with ads for new products, fad diets, and supplements. The short audio leaves no room for preachy marketing tactics. “Girl dinner” TikToks are – genuinely – just videos of dinner.
Where “Girl Dinner” Gets Dicey
Girl dinner’s critics take little issue with the nutritional content in viral meals on the app. Any meal can be part of a balanced diet, and it’s obvious that most “girl dinner” videos are exaggerated for the sake of TikTok content. If I post a “girl dinner” video with an ice cream cone, most users will reasonably conclude that it’s not my true daily routine.
The true concern regarding girl dinner is that the trend has – in some cases – been distorted to promote undereating. Rather than showcasing fun combinations of snacks and treats, some “girl dinner” videos feature only ice, coffee, energy drinks, and similarly low-calorie snacks. While these videos may be in jest, they beg the question – is this irresponsible content to post on TikTok? Unless adequate nutrition is achieved earlier in the day, dinner must contain more calories. Given the trend’s popularity, I believe that it is fair to ask older creators to think before posting this type of content, thereby protecting younger audiences and preserving what is meant to be a healthy, enjoyable trend.
What do you think of the girl dinner trend? Do you have a favorite “girl dinner?” Share in the comments down below!