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What is “girl dinner?”

By Margaret Weiner, health enews

A news service from Advocate Health Care® and Aurora Health Care®

“This is my meal, and I call it ‘girl dinner.’”

Perhaps you have seen the viral videos floating around online of people sharing their snack-based meals that have now been dubbed “girl dinners.”

These quick and easy meals combine people’s favorite foods from chicken tenders to pickles and fresh berries. People create random combinations of their favorite foods to form a “girl dinner.”

A team of nutrition experts at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., explain whether or not “girl dinners” are healthy.

“Eating smaller meals more frequently can improve your metabolism and help you avoid binge eating. This is because when you feel starving, you often are grabbing something convenient that is not always the healthiest choice,” says Nurse Practitioner Amy Paulus.

Snack-based meals can also be useful for people on the go who don’t have time to sit down for a large meal.

“While some people may prefer six mini meals versus three traditional meals, it can lead to ‘grazing,’” says Julie Cohen, registered dietitian.

And grazing can lead to overeating if you are not careful. To avoid this, Registered Dietitian Melodi Peters recommends identifying your “eating times,” or the times during the day when you are truly hungry.

“You can avoid grazing by ‘bookending’ your meal or snack — establishing a beginning and an end. Make sure to allow at least two hours between each meal and snack,” says Peters.

While many “girl dinners” contain processed foods, it’s important to make sure you are creating a nourishing and satisfying meal. Paulus recommends you include proteins, produce and whole grains to create a complete meal.

“Proteins can include hard-boiled eggs, lean meats, cheese, chicken salad and salmon,” says Paulus. “You can incorporate fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains.” Healthy examples of whole grains include crackers, bread, bulgur, quinoa and brown rice.

“You can also incorporate more plant-based protein options,” says Cohen. “Try adding tofu, beans, edamame, nuts and soy milk to your meal.”

Eating a “girl diner” can be fun and satisfying for everyone, if done correctly. When you are planning your “girl dinner,” make sure that it’s enough food to keep you full and that you are mindful of carbohydrates and processed sugars.

This article originally appeared on health enews.

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