I vividly remember my first introduction to the lovingly coined “girl dinner”—scrolling through my TikTok feed of influencers and silly cat videos, the chaotic chant of “girl dinner, girl dinner” blasting through my phone speakers as I watched bright red nails place string cheese, a couple of strawberries, and hard-boiled eggs onto a plate. After perusing the comments, I learned this wasn’t just a snack, or a meal, or even a simple supper. It was girl dinner.
But what is girl dinner, exactly? If you search the hashtag, you’ll find a plethora of possible explanations. One video highlights a plate of breakfast hashbrowns and ketchup paired with a chocolate cookie, and an even more chaotic scene is of a girl carrying a bowl of popcorn with two speared pickles on top. Not much to go on for a definition, right?
Once you look past the mountain of short clips of girls showing off their curated plates, it becomes clear that a girl dinner is less about what is in their meal and more about why. And just why can you find a TikTok of two girls eating mac and cheese out of wine glasses garnished with dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets? The answer is simple—because they want to!
As women, we’ve always been scrutinized for what we’re eating. At face value, girl dinner is simply a delightful, quick meal made of what you have at home. In essence, it’s about eating what you want—what you’re craving, what looks good, what you’ve been waiting all day to munch on. The women making these videos aren’t ashamed of their food choices in the slightest. Instead, they are sharing their sometimes silly, often chaotic culinary masterpieces with a community that has created one massive inside joke.
So, to recap—what is girl dinner? Whatever you want! It’s a way to nourish your body that aligns with intuitive eating and lets you feel good about your food choices. And, there’s no need to feel pressured into following that 20-step recipe that might not even turn out edible. With a combination of nutrient-rich choices for your other meals, girl dinner is what you want to make of it.
Want in on the trend? Here are some girl dinner ideas for your next meal.
No, I don’t mean the whole rolling out and cutting-your-own noodles kind of homemade pasta. Think simple—the hardest part will be boiling the water. Cook up boxed pasta noodles, scoop them into a bowl with a slab of butter, then sprinkle shredded cheese on top and even add some salt, pepper, or garlic powder. Voilà! Gourmet pasta. Just kidding. But that’s the beauty of girl dinner—it doesn’t have to be fancy to taste delicious.
Lunchables aren’t just for kids anymore! You can make your own with the simple ingredients you have on hand. A few cubes of cheese here, some slices of prosciutto there, all put together with crackers and slices of apples or a handful of nuts. You could also make a more traditional charcuterie board out of this idea with cheeses like brie in addition to adding olives or fruit preserves. Think of creating a snack box as well—cookies, crackers, pretzels, you name it. Pair with some fruits or vegetables like berries and carrots for variety in flavor and texture.
Flavorful nachos are one of the simplest things to make at home. All you need is tortilla chips and some shredded cheese: sprinkle the cheese over the chips evenly and place in the microwave for 30 seconds, and out comes cheesy, crunchy goodness. Take your meal further by creating loaded nachos—incorporate a protein of your choice, some sour cream, spicy salsa, olives, tomatoes, or onions. The childhood nostalgia will instantly come flooding back.
Whether you want dessert or dessert for dinner, try out this viral hack that only requires you to drive to your nearest McDonald’s with a plastic bowl. If you’re dining solo, order a soft-serve cone, warm-baked cookies, and a cup of fudge sauce. Go ahead and smush the ice cream into your bowl, and then layer on pieces of gooey cookie and warm fudge. This idea also works for a group girl dinner—just order a few more of everything.