Loving Girl Dinner? A dietitian shows you healthy and balanced snack plate ideas, based on the viral TikTok trend.
Girl Dinner has been ALL over TikTok. It's safe to say I'm obsessed, because as adults we can eat cheese and crackers for dinner if we want to.
What even is a Girl Dinner? It's basically a snack plate for nights when us girls just don't want to put together a full meal. Girl Dinners can have everything from popcorn to tinned fish to veggies, but it usually involves minimal prep and no cooking. Sounds like my type of meal!
I may be a recipe developer but some nights I just don't feel like cooking. Still, nourishing my body is important to me and snack plates have been a lifeline. Girl Dinner is something I've been unintentionally doing forever. Today I'm going to share my healthy snack plate ideas and a full recipe for a Mediterranean inspired Girl Dinner.
Benefits of Girl Dinner
There's so many reasons I've been on the Girl Dinner and snack plate train for years.
- It's fast and minimal prep. You CAN build a balanced meal in 5 minutes with zero cooking.
- Meal prep friendly. These snack plate ideas are really similar to my adult lunchables. They can also be packed for school or work - not just for dinner!
- Listen to your body and adjust to your needs. Girl Dinner is an excellent opportunity to tune into your body. How hungry are you feeling? What kinds of food are you craving? Since these snack plate ideas are highly customizable, you can easily scale portions up/down and adjust to your dietary needs.
- Use what you have on hand. Raid your pantry and use up leftovers all in one go. Girl Dinner is perfect for days when you're overdue on a grocery run.
- Learn about the balanced plate method. Girl Dinner lets us put our nutrition knowledge into practice! It's beginner-friendly visual way to build a balanced plate using my easy formula below.
My Formula for Snack Plates
Building a balanced plate really boils down to including these 4 components:
¼ plate Protein + ¼ plate Fibre-Rich Carbohydrate + ½ plate Fruit and Veggies + 2 tbsp Healthy Fats
¼ of your plate protein
½ your plate fruits or veggies
¼ of your plate fiber rich carbohydrates
2 tablespoon of healthy fats
Note that these are just rough guidelines for a general population. You may or may not need different ratios of each group. Now let's dive into examples to include in your snack plates and Girl Dinners.
Protein has SO many functions in our body, but you can think of it as a building block for muscle, hair, skin and more. It's also important in appetite regulation and keeping us full.
- Deli meat
- Hardboiled eggs
- Chickpeas (try roasting them!)
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Tinned fish
Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for our cells. Your brain thrives on carbohydrates, so don't be fooled and think that low carb is healthier for everyone.
Eating fibre-rich carbs is something I like to prioritize because of fibre's roles in blood sugar balance, gut health and more. Most adults should aim to eat between 25-30g of fibre daily, so prioritizing fibre-rich carbs is a good starting place. You can read more about why fibre is important here.
- Whole grain naan or pita
- Whole grain crackers
- Sweet potato toast
Tip: Try including 2 different sources of fiber at every meal!
Fruit and Veggies
Fruits and veggies provide fibre, water, and a ton of micronutrients that our body needs. Try aiming for as many different colors as possible- this ensures you're getting a variety of nutrients throughout the day!
- Cherry tomatoes
- Bell peppers
- Baby carrots
- Snap peas
- Apple slices
Not a fan of raw veg? Spend a couple extra minutes air frying your veggies! Girl Dinner can definitely include cooked ingredients in my books.
Fats are a part of all our cell membranes and many of our hormones, so it is an essential part of our diet. Eating fat with our meals also helps to promote satiety by slowing digestion and increases satisfaction- simply because it makes our food taste better!
But what even is a healthy fat? Without digging into the chemistry, I am referring to high fat foods that have additional nutrition and health benefits. They are often (but not always!) from plant sources and are also called monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. You may have heard of omega-3 fats, which plays roles in preventing inflammation and supporting brain health.
- Olive oil
- Nut butters
- Fatty fish (smoked salmon, tinned mackerel, etc.)
- Dips and sauces
- Avocado and guacamole
- Nuts and seeds
Balanced Snack Plate Ideas
So what does the formula look like in action? Here are some basic snack plate ideas to get you started.
- Nut-free: cottage cheese + crackers + guacamole + baby carrots + snap peas
- Gluten-free: jerky + popcorn + nuts + celery + blueberries
- Dairy-free: deli turkey + bagel bites + olives + cherry tomatoes + strawberries
- Pescatarian: tinned fish + crackers + cheese + carrot sticks + cucumbers
- Vegetarian: boiled eggs + pita + cheese + grapes + bell peppers
- Vegan: chickpea salad + tortilla chips + peanut butter + apple slices + celery
Get creative with your snack plate combinations! I like to think of a general theme and go from there. Here are some themes that I've used:
- Mediterranean inspired
- Mexican inspired
More Balanced Nutrition Inspiration
I always advocate for nutrition without restriction. Check out these posts for more easy tips:
- Easy Adult Lunchables (Ultimate List of Work Lunch Ideas)
- Beginner's Guide to Fiber (High Fiber Foods Printable List)
- How to Build a Balanced Snack (25 Healthy Snack Ideas)
- 10 Vegan Breakfast Meal Prep Ideas
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make any of these snack plate ideas for Girl Dinner, don't forget to snap a photo and tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked it!
*Contribution by Charlotte Chan, nutrition and dietetics student at University of Western Ontario
Easy Snack Plate Ideas (Girl Dinners)
- ½ large pita sliced into 4 equal sized wedges
- ½ a large english cucumber sliced
- ½ red bell pepper slices
- 2 cocktail tomatoes cut into wedges
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 slices of deli turkey meat
- 2 tablespoon feta cheese crumbled
- 2 tablespoon hummus
- 4 fresh basil leaves optional
- On a large plate arrange pita slices in one quarter of the plate.
- Add the cucumber, bell peppers and tomatoes to half of the plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.
- Roll up turkey slices and place on the remaining ¼ of the plate.
- finish the plate off with the feta cheese, hummus and basil leaves for additional flavour!