Social media has a big say in what you think, feel and act. Guess what, it can even influence the way you eat and your relationship with the food. No wonder health experts caution people to be mindful before diving into the latest craze – “girl dinners.”
If you are late to the trend, girl dinners are nothing but simple snack plates put together with food items that need minimal to no cooking. The fad began in May after Olivia Maher, a 28-year-old content creator from Los Angeles, shared a video of her dinner menu on TikTok showing a spread of bread, butter, grapes, cheese, gherkins and wine.
Although the easy quick-fix dinner appeared pretty harmless in the beginning, health experts started to raise concerns as people began sharing pictures of aesthetically arranged small dinner plates showcasing cheese, crackers and fruits to less nutritious things like candies and sodas. Experts believe small portion size meals meant for a once-in-a-while snacking when followed regularly could lead to nutrient imbalance and disordered eating.
“There is legitimacy in every trend when it starts, but then it can take on a life of its own. So, I believe the premise of this, when it started was on good merit. Now it’s just kind of been taken out of hand, as things do on social media,” Sarah Moore, a certified holistic nutritionist from Nashville, told Medical Daily.
Although girl dinners might help in portion control in a “super size meal” world, Moore said caution should be taken when food trends become all about deprivation and not eating enough.
“I have seen a lot of unhealthy girl dinner plates. I believe the premise was to get items and make a small plate of the things that you already have in your home. If you are someone who doesn’t eat well your small girl dinner plate will also be unhealthy. If you have leftover things like vegetables or a hard-boiled egg or maybe some leftover chicken, you will make a smaller plate that is more healthy, well-rounded,” Moore said.
“Make sure that whatever you put on your plate whether it be the most random things in your fridge or things that you bought to put together small meals, it’s food that actually is going to serve your body and not just be calories to fill your belly,” she added.
If approached with “balance in mind,” girl dinners can be healthy, noted Maya Oueichek, a registered dietitian from Chicago.
“As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I’m always on the lookout for innovative ways to make nutritious eating more accessible. If done with balance in mind, this trend embraces minimal to no cooking, making it an excellent choice for those with busy schedules. The trend recognizes that time is a significant barrier to eating healthily and offers a solution that is both convenient and satisfying,” Oueichek told Medical Daily. “One of the most appealing aspects of a girl’s dinner is its high level of customizability. This trend can be easily modified to fit various dietary restrictions and needs.”
So how do you ensure you have a healthy plate? The trick is in picking up a variety of food while ensuring all food groups are included.
“Make sure to get an adequate amount and variety of different foods on your plate and do not forget any of the food groups. Start with adequate protein. Add one source of starch and aim for whole grains when possible. Include at least one source of healthy fats. Fill the rest of your dinner plate with fruits and vegetables. Following these simple steps can help you make a healthy girl dinner that will save you time and energy while nourishing you and supporting your health goals,” Oueichek said.
Published by Medicaldaily.com