The other day since it was too hot to cook, I put a cluster of grapes, baby carrots, some crackers, a couple of mini bries, a clump of hummus and some Boursin cheese on a plate and called it dinner. Little did I know I was eating what the TikTok trend calls “girl dinner.”

“Girl dinner” is essentially “an aesthetically-pleasing Lunchable,” per The New York Times. It’s a mini-smorgasbord of snacks intended for one person to eat as a dinner. Whether the plate is inspired by charcuterie or it’s an eclectic meal, girl dinner is about bucking the trend of traditional dinner combinations, like pot roast.

There aren’t a lot of rigid rules around what constitutes a girl dinner. Do you want to add goldfish? Go for it. How about pickles? Definitely. How about a plate with a slice of leftover pizza with cheese, crackers and vegetables? Absolutely. In its basic form, a girl dinner is a meal that is a combination of different foods, typically not cooked in that moment.

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One example of a girl dinner comes from Alana Laverty, a content creator who has become known on the platform for posting her snack plate dinners. She made a snack plate with sourdough, burrata, boiled eggs, soppressata and tomatoes with white truffle oil and extra-virgin olive oil.

Another TikTok content creator named Marissa Mullen showed her array of girl dinners. One of them included a slice of brie with honey, figs, some meat, walnuts and slices of bread. Another was crackers with hummus, olives and fresh vegetables.

A girl dinner could also be what a Brooklyn-based TikTok creator named Kate said was her girl dinner: a caesar salad with crispy chicken, side of fries and a Diet Coke.

This trend, particularly the part about eating snack plates for dinner, has sparked some internet controversy over whether or not these dinners have enough calories for a meal, per Today. Everyone’s calorie and nutrition needs are different, and some snack plates might not be ideal for a person’s needs. But there are plenty of girl dinners that are.

Many of the snack plates across TikTok include protein, carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, and are in bigger portions than one would typically eat for a snack — aka an appropriate portion for dinner.

For example, this cheese board from Suburban Soapbox has about 500 calories in it. Depending on what you eat throughout your day, that’s enough for dinner. Registered dietician Mackenzie Burgess told Pop Sugar that people’s calorie needs differ, “However, a good starting point may be around 500 to 700 calories.”

As it turns out, a lot of girl dinners are balanced, even though the purpose of a girl dinner is to buck the trend of traditional dinners.

Take, for example, Laverty’s snack plate: there’s protein from the burrata, boiled eggs and soppressata, there’s fresh produce with the tomatoes, carbohydrates from the sourdough and fats from the white truffle oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Those components together could create a sandwich, which is widely considered an acceptable dinner meal.

Instead of seeing snack plates as part of diet culture, some see them as the opposite of diet culture. Kathrine Kofoed, a nutritionist and health coach, told The New York Times, “It’s a pleasant departure from diet culture, and from all these rigid expectations of what food should be.”

Historically, there have been other trends similar to girl dinner that depart from what is typically expected at dinner.

Enter in appetizer dinners. During the Super Bowl, it’s not uncommon to gather around plates of nachos, chicken wings, vegetables and hummus and other appetizers, and call it dinner. And all of those components can be part of girl dinner.

When eating out with my friends, sometimes we’ve just ordered a bunch of appetizers like bruschetta, caprese salad and charcuterie, and eaten it as a meal.

We’re not alone in doing this. Better Homes and Gardens published an article detailing how to host an appetizer-only dinner party full of stuffed mushrooms, charcuterie, nuts, meatballs and more.

Now if all this talk of girl dinners is making you hungry, here’s a simple formula you can follow to make a snack plate.

  1. Slice up a fresh fruit and a fresh vegetable. If you like dip with either one, put some dip in a ramekin on the side.
  2. Pick a protein. The protein could be some sliced cheese and meat or it could be turkey roll-ups, boiled eggs, hummus or leftover steak — or a combination of them.
  3. Add a carbohydrate. Baguette slices and crackers are popular choices when it comes to a charctuerie-like snack plate. Other options can include pretzels or chips or tortilla.
  4. Include whatever else you’d like. Do you want to add a pickle or some olives? That’s great. How about a couple of squares of chocolate? Awesome. What about some honey for cheese or bread? Good choice. The point of a girl dinner is to put together different foods that sound good to you even if they might not traditionally be considered dinner.

Here are some examples of snack plate combinations that follow the above formula in case you’d like to try them.

  1. Cucumbers, carrots, peach, hummus, cheddar cheese and baguette slices.
  2. Boiled eggs, brie, honey, apple, tomatoes, bruschetta and balsamic glaze.
  3. Leftover chicken chopped up, cubes of pepper jack cheese, radishes, strawberries and some potato chips.
  4. Tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, hummus, pita, feta and walnuts.
  5. Prosciutto, melon, gouda, brie, carrots, ranch and seedy crackers.
  6. Strawberries, steamed broccoli, ham, cheddar cheese, crostini and a side of ranch.