A bowl of hummus with red pepper on top.

Girl Dinners — It’s a Thing

Here’s what goes into these deconstructed snack-style dinner parties.

With 534 million views on TikTok and LOTS of people talking about them, Girl Dinners are a thing right now. From what I can tell, these girlfriend get-togethers, book clubs and casual family dinners are constructed around snack-y platters of food eaten primarily with your fingers.

What is a Girl Dinner?
These meals seem to meet the following criteria:

  1. Served at the end of the day (dinner)
  2. Easy, fast throw-together, low-maintenance meals
  3. Snack-style platters containing enough food to constitute a meal
  4. Good for grazing, full of finger foods
  5. A non-cook night at home

This type of eating could be healthful, but could also NOT be healthful (think chips and dip or the big bowl of buttered popcorn or worse). The devil is in the details. I personally think that a platter-style girl dinner is fun, delicious and CAN be a healthy way to get together with friends or family.

Creating a Healthy Girl Dinner
We have a couple of different Girl Dinners on rotation at my house. They are healthy enough, delicious throw-togethers that include veggies, fruit, healthy fats and protein.

Girl Dinner #1
The Amped-Up Charcuterie Board
Includes an assortment of the following:

Veggies: Cucumber slices, red/yellow/orange pepper slices, snap peas, radish slices, cherry tomatoes, raw green beans, celery or carrot sticks

Fruits: Apple slices, pear slices, raspberries, sliced strawberries, blackberries, melon cubes, peach or plum slices

Healthy Fats: Cashews, walnuts, almonds, olives, guac, pesto

Protein: Hummus, white bean dip, cheeses, good quality salami (natural nitrates only), canned tuna or smoked oysters, hard boiled eggs

Maybe: Crackers, flatbread (preferably gluten-free)

This plate provides balanced nutrition, is anti-inflammatory and filled with fiber-rich, nutrient-dense vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It’s yummy, filling and easy to put together.

Make Your Own: Spinach Guac
Modified from Amelia Freer, Cook. Nourish. Glow.
2 avocados, mashed
1 small handful of spinach or kale, shredded
¼ of a red onion, finely diced
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fresh, diced red chili
5 cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow pepper, diced
A generous handful cilantro, chopped
A pinch of cumin and salt
Combine all ingredients. Enjoy.

Make Your Own: Pistachio Pesto
1 cup shelled raw pistachios
1 cup basil (you can sub cilantro or spinach for a slightly different flavor)
1 cup flat leaf parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ olive oil
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

In a food processor, pulse nuts until coarsely chopped. Add herbs and garlic and pulse again. With the motor running, slowly add olive oil and then lemon and salt and pepper.

Girl Dinner #2
Board with Salad(s)
A bit more work or pre-thought needed, but still a very easy throw-together dinner. Use the same fruits, veggies, healthy fats and extras as above.

Veggies: Cucumber slices, red/yellow/orange pepper slices, snap peas, radish slices, cherry tomatoes, raw green beans, celery or carrot sticks

Fruits: Apple slices, pear slices, raspberries, sliced strawberries, blackberries, melon cubes, peach or plum slices

Healthy Fats: Cashews, walnuts, almonds, olives

Maybe: Crackers

Protein: Make or pick up a chicken salad, tuna salad or egg salad or quinoa salad. The salad becomes the center, with all the other items around it. It is beautiful, low maintenance and delish!

Pick Ups: Whole Foods makes a couple of mean salads — chicken, egg, tuna or quinoa.

Make Your Own: Chicken Salad
2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup mayonnaise, or to taste
6 romaine lettuce leaves, cleaned, patted dry and chilled

In a medium bowl, stir together the chicken, celery, parsley, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Stir in the mayonnaise, little by little, to achieve desired consistency.

Make Your Own: Crunchy Thai Quinoa & Peanut Salad
From Cookie & Kate

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup thinly sliced sugar snap peas
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/4 cup chopped roasted and salted peanuts, for garnish

Peanut sauce (or pick up bottled peanut sauce):
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 lime, juiced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water. Check the packaging, it might already by washed. In a medium-sized pot, combine the quinoa and 1½ cups water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until it has absorbed all of the water ~12 minutes or follow package directions. Remove the quinoa from heat, cover the pot and let it rest for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool. Cooling the quinoa is an important step-because you don’t want a mushy quinoa dish.

Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce: Whisk together the peanut butter and tamari until smooth. Add rest of the ingredients. Combine the cooked quinoa, shredded cabbage, carrot, snow peas, cilantro and green onion. Toss to combine, then pour in the peanut sauce. Garnish with peanuts. 

Girl Dinner #3
Asian for the Win

TOTAL Pick Up: Order sushi and non-fried spring rolls, arrange on a board with wasabi and tamari on the side and call it good! Very tasty, so easy and makes everyone happy every time.

Girl Dinner #4
Bird Food Done Right

Make an easy one-bowl dinner salad. Here’s one I’ve been making on repeat this summer. Doubles beautifully, if needed.

Smoked Salmon Avocado Salad
From Myrecipes.com

1 bag of arugula
6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 (4-oz.) packages thinly sliced smoked salmon
1 avocado, sliced
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¾ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Whisk together the dressing: olive oil, lemon, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Combine dressing with arugula, radishes, and half of olive oil mixture. Arrange on individual plates and top with salmon and avocado. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

Pick Up: You can pick up salads from LOTS of places around Denver. My faves are Sweet Green, CAVA, Mad Greens, Chipotle, and Chook Kitchen.

Final Thoughts
Men, women, girls or boys, these dinners are about meeting up with friends in a non-stressful and healthful way. Friend and family get-togethers should be fun and delicious. NOT exhausting and unhealthy. We hope this info spurs you on to gather and enjoy your community in a joyful, nourishing way!

For more tips on healthy eating, visit us at healthynestnutrition.com/blog. For info on feeling your best through smarter food choices, contact our holistic nutritionists. Book a complimentary 20-minute consultation with Healthy Nest Nutrition owner Robin Hutchinson to see if our programs are right for you.