Clean Eating Hacks: A Survival Guide for Girl Dinner high angle shot delicious salad with various sliced vegetables 1

Clean Eating Hacks: A Survival Guide for Girl Dinner

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When the thought of cooking doesn’t inspire you, but the aspiration to still keep on healthy eating habits does, it might feel like a tight spot. Contrary to popular belief, girl dinner doesn’t equate to unhealthy eating. With some clean eating hacks tailored for the girl dinner approach, you can still be on track with your health goals without mastering the kitchen.

What’s “Girl Dinner?”

If you are aren’t a gen Z or millennial female, I’m sure you are wondering what exactly is girl dinner? Evoking the vibes of an adult Lunchable, a “girl dinner” mixes your favorite snacks, including fruits, cheeses, pickles, crackers, and cold cuts. It’s a collection of bits and pieces from the pantry or fridge that doesn’t need to adhere to a theme.

The beauty of “girl dinner” is in its spontaneity. It might combine a slice of leftover burrata from a dinner out, some morning cantaloupe, and an artichoke, followed by a handful of Cheerios. It’s elevated snacking, embracing intuitive eating without needing your meals to be Instagram-worthy.

What I love about Girl Dinner is that I get to savor every bite of what I crave, leaving me not just full but genuinely content. Before the term  girl dinner was coined, I used to just call this tapas night! It’s cost-effective; it’s simple. Why order out when you can assemble delightful combinations from what you already have? Plus, it’s a clever way to minimize food waste. Here are my favorite clean-eating hacks to help guide you on your next girl dinner.

Clean Eating Hacks: A Survival Guide for Girl Dinner FoolProof Hacks For Girls Who Cant Cook Want To Eat Healthy 1
A breakfast favorite, oats, made into a burst of savory flavor,mimicking risotto.

7 Clean Eating Hacks for Your “Girl Dinner” Nights:

Visible Fruits

The visual appeal of fruits can often be the nudge you need to make healthier choices. By placing them within sight, perhaps in a fruit bowl on your countertop or as the centerpiece on your dining table, you ensure they’re the first thing you see when searching for a snack. Several studies confirm that people tend to eat more of items they can see easily. Since fruits are naturally low in calories and densely packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, incorporating them into your “girl dinner” is delightful and nutritious.

Prioritize Protein & Healthy Fats

Protein is essential for muscle maintenance and growth. When planning your meal, lean towards high-quality protein sources such as nuts, legumes, cheese, and lean meats. But don’t stop there. Complement these proteins with healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and seeds. These fats don’t just add flavor; they help in nutrient absorption, give you a sustained energy source, and, most importantly, they can give you that full feeling for a longer time, reducing the chances of unnecessary snacking.

Clean Eating Hacks: A Survival Guide for Girl Dinner high angle breakfast sandwiches bed with salmon avocado 1

Mind Your Portions

In the age of super-sized meals, it’s easy to misjudge what a standard serving looks like. Investing in a kitchen scale and familiarizing yourself with measuring tools can make a difference. This helps in understanding how much you should eat and ensures a balanced intake of various food groups. Remember, it’s not just about eating less but eating right. Proper portions can ensure you get all the necessary nutrients without overindulging.

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Embrace Carbs, Wisely

While low-carb diets are trendy, carbohydrates remain a primary energy source for our bodies. The key is in the selection. Instead of refined carbs that spike blood sugar, choose complex carbs like whole grain crackers, cereals, bread, and brown rice. These provide sustained energy and are rich in fiber, aiding digestion. Naturally occurring carbs in fruits and vegetables come packed with essential vitamins and minerals, making them an excellent choice for balanced eating. One of my favorite girl dinners is savory oats, where I add in all the delicious savoy, spices, and flavorful left overs from nights before to make loosely-tasting “risotto.

Clean Eating Hacks: A Survival Guide for Girl Dinner food chopping board
Cooking frame, food. Table full of food

No-Cook Healthy Sides

On days when cooking seems too daunting, it’s a relief to have quick-to-assemble side options. Low-fat cottage cheese can be a protein-rich addition, pairing well with a sprinkle of nuts, guacamole or hummus. Freshly chopped salads with a mix of colorful veggies add vibrancy to your plate and a dose of antioxidants. Fruit salads, with a dash of honey or a sprinkle of chia seeds, can satiate sweet cravings while packing nutrition.

Limit Junk Food

It’s common to reach out for chips, cookies, or sugary drinks when hunger strikes unexpectedly. However, these are often empty calories, providing little to no nutrition. By consciously avoiding stocking up on these items, you reduce the temptation of overindulging during girl dinner nights. I’ve been there before, where I didn’t have healthy items on hand, a bag of Cheetos, and a badge of Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmer, which ended up being my entire dinner. While it was gratifying at the moment, a few hours later, I wasn’t feeling so great and felt as if I had a hangover the following day!

I learned quickly! Instead, have a pantry with healthier snacks like trail mixes, yogurt, or dark chocolate. I love seaweed snacks and these Nori sticks. They are healthy, nutritious and very satisfying. When healthier options are within easy reach, you’re more likely to make nutrition-forward decisions.

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Incremental Changes

Revamping your entire dietary habits can be daunting and often lead to early burnout. Instead, focus on small, sustainable changes. Maybe start by swapping out a high-fat cheese for a sharper, more flavorful variety you’d use in smaller quantities. Opt for lettuce wraps instead of bread for your sandwiches, or introduce a ‘meatless Monday’ into your week. These minor shifts can gradually lead to significant, lasting changes, making your clean eating journey both manageable and enjoyable.

So, whether you’re a seasoned cook or a girl dinner enthusiast, remember it’s all about balance and listening to your body. What clean eating hacks have you discovered? Share them and keep the conversation going.

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Hi, I’m Valerie!

I'm an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), offering guidance to high achievers in aligning their lifestyle with well-being through daily wellness and self-care routines, promoting balance and harmony. Join me at Wellness Bum for tips on living well, and consider subscribing to my newsletter or booking a coaching session.