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‘Girl Dinner’ trend influences eating habits

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Sophia Kelly

Containers stuffed with leftovers from dinner line the shelves of junior Rochelle Wong’s fridge. As her stomach grumbles, Wong pushes aside the foods that won’t work to satisfy her current cravings. Then, she lays her eyes on a plastic tub filled with cold, bland pasta which she will later turn into a delicious “Girl Dinner.”

According to the New York Times, the idea of Girl Dinner has always been a part of teenagers’ eating habits and could potentially lead to eating disorders. Still, it didn’t become well known until the beginning of the year when creator Olivia Maher posted a video on TikTok of a plate with a spread of grapes, cornichons, bread, and cheese. For many, Girl Dinner isn’t just tied to their meal. Junior Vit Do said Girl Dinner can be applied to every meal, with Girl Dinner being a meal broken down and bunched-up snacking periods. 

“I’m a chronic snacker, so I often just grab a random tiny snack with this cycle repeating every day,” Do said. “Because I have so many snacks, the amount of snacks adds up to become my three meals and that’s why my parents don’t believe this type of dinner is harmful.”  

Do also said part of the reason Girl Dinner posts have become popular on social media is that a lot of people have similar ways of eating.

“I remember seeing this trend on TikTok for the first time and thinking, that girl is eating the same way as me and wondering if anyone else had similar eating habits,” Do said. “Then I became bombarded with videos of everyone, not just girls, replicating this trend though many were random people with little following.”

Following the rise in popularity of the Girl Dinner trend, the Boy Dinner trend emerged. According to the New York Post, Boy Dinner is a dinner a man would eat. As expected, the Boy Dinner trend is stereotypically masculine — simple and barbaric, often including food such as frozen pizza, deli meats, potato chips, no vegetables, and a lot of protein. 

“While Girl Dinner has always been a part of my life and I have seen many TikToks about it, I had only recently seen a TikTok on Boy Dinner and hadn’t realized how similar the trends were to each other as I didn’t even know Boy Dinner was a trend until after watching the TikTok,” Do said.

Since Sept. 11, videos about the topic Girl Dinner have received over 1.7 billion views on TikTok.  While many students know the basic premise of this trend, Do said only a few Paly students have tried to replicate it in their own lives.

In a survey conducted by The Campanile on Nov. 29, some students shared that microwave nachos, chocolate chips cereal and even plain ice were part of their Girl Dinner. 

According to Cosmopolitan, the Girl Dinner trend can emphasize unhealthy eating habits that can lead to eating disorders since they consist of small meals with little sustenance and variety. 

However, Wong said this trend is less about dieting and more about choosing to opt out of the work of cooking and cleaning dishes.

“Girl Dinner encourages people to eat what they want, which improves people’s relationship with food since you are eating a meal you wanted when you’re hungry rather than following a schedule or feeling you need to diet for a certain reason,” Wong said. 

Do agrees.

“While I want to be that person who plans her whole week out, it just isn’t realistic or practical for a high school student,” Do said. “But while I can’t plan ahead of time, I will try and be healthy, and think about what I have eaten that day already and try to balance it out.”

Do also said the Girl Dinner trend hasn’t changed her eating habits but has reinforced the benefit of eating what she wants when she wants it. 

“Girl Dinner has allowed everyone to see why some of us snack instead of eat (meals) and understand the benefit of it,” Do said. “This helps us normalize different eating habits and encourages a healthier relationship with food overall.”

 

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