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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVA chapter.

While “girl dinner” is one of the newest viral crazes, it’s a phenomenon we have been participating in for a long time, even if it didn’t have a name. Even as a kid, my mom would come home from a double shift and make “appetizer dinner” which featured high volumes of low-effort snacks, like pigs in a blanket, nachos, and more tasty treats! Especially in college, girl dinner is so useful because it is low effort, easy to clean up, and you can eat based on the vibe of your day. These are all important because I hate having to cook dinner or put effort into a meal after a long day of class! Over the years, I have figured out what is most important to have in a girl dinner so that you can have a low-effort meal that’s satisfying, tasty, and nutritious.

1: Protein element: It’s important to have a protein in a girl dinner, even if your plate isn’t centered around it. For me, it’s usually a cold protein that comes ready to eat. A current favorite of mine is Trader Joe’s Wine Country chicken salad, which is a white chicken salad with pecans, cranberries, and complementary spices. Cold meats like salami are always reliable, and you can easily find vegan options at places like Wegmans, Aldi, and Whole Foods! To keep this low effort, as is necessary for a girl dinner, we aren’t turning these into sandwiches. These are finger foods, so take some crackers or a spoon and dig in! Low effort, and little clean up=the perfect start to girl dinner!

2: Crunchy element: A fundamental pillar of the perfect girl dinner is something crunchy! Crunchy finger foods are a dime a dozen, but for best results, it’s best to find something crunchy that goes with the other elements on your plate. For instance, if my girl dinner is centered around pizza rolls, I am going to reach for some doritos, whereas if I’m having chicken salad, I’ll probably have some almonds or cashews. You definitely don’t have to make things ‘match’, but I prefer to have a thematic flavor throughout the dish. Another great thing about the crunch element is that, most of the time, they come ready to eat, so you can just toss them on a plate!

3: Sweet element: The only way I can feel satisfied with a meal is if I have a sweet treat to finish it off, and I know I’m not alone! There’s really no secret to picking the perfect girl dinner sweet treat, since there are so many different types of sweets and we all have different preferences! A girl dinner sweet can be anything from a snack cake to a bowl of your favorite ice cream! However, for me, the two most important factors to choosing your sweet are convenience and quality! I prefer something that I can just grab and something that doesn’t require a lot of dishes to wash later! Because of this, I usually grab a single serving of ice cream instead of a whole tub (I also never commit to a flavor for long, so tubs don’t make much sense). But honestly, the sky’s the limit!

4. Wild Card: The wild card element makes things very interesting! The way I pick my wild card is by looking at my plate, and deciding what would go well with it! And honestly, there’s no way to define what goes ‘well’ with your girl dinner, it’s up to you! Many times, I will grab a pickle as the wild card. Sometimes, I’m tired of pickles, so veggies and ranch come to play! The wild card can be anything, sweet or savory! However, going with the theme of girl dinner, it’s got to be something I can conveniently grab and enjoy! The purpose of the wild card is to make your meal more diverse and satisfying, so grab whatever you’re craving, don’t think too hard about it!

Building the perfect girl dinner is an art based completely on vibes. That’s why there are so many different variations of the meal! However, it’s important to have a well-balanced plate every time you eat. A method that I really like is “eat what you want, and what you need.” By following this method, you can build the perfect girl dinner by centering your craving, and adding complementary items that will give you the fuel you need to finish your day! And don’t forget to add a fun bevvy! Every girl dinner is different, but they can all be enjoyable and easy! Happy snacking my friends!

Hi I'm Morgan! I use she/they pronouns. I'm a 4th year at the University of Virginia majoring in Art History. My greatest passion is raising my 2 cats. I'm a first gen, low income student living on my own, so if you ever need budget hacks, I'm your gal! Happy to have you here!