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by Gael Myers, Accredited Practising Dietitian


This is my ode to the lonely jar of pickles in the back of the fridge. The little leftover bit from last night’s dinner, the pear that I didn’t eat for morning tea and the forgotten crust in the bread bag.

Sometimes, life happens, and we don’t always have the energy or time to make a capital m ‘Meal’. While the dinner purists may turn up their nose at the idea of an odds and ends snack plate, I would like to sing its praises.

A snack plate dinner (or, if you know your TikTok trends, a ‘girl dinner’) can be just as nutritious and delicious as a regular home-cooked meal. Plus, because it uses up whatever you have on hand, it has the added bonus of reducing food waste.

The trick is to balance out your plate using the magic formula below, with at least one item included from each group. I’ve given some suggestions, but feel free to get creative!

Fruit and veg            +

  • Salad veg e.g. carrot, snow peas, avocado, cherry tomatoes
  • Leftover roast veg
  • Steamed broccoli, green beans, potato
  • Pickled/marinated veg e.g. beetroot, artichoke, olives
  • Cooked corn cob
  • Sliced fruit e.g. apple, pear, watermelon
  • Whole fruit e.g. blueberries, grapes, peeled mandarin

Protein foods           +

  • Boiled eggs
  • Cheese slices
  • Hummus
  • Leftover roast meat slices
  • Leftover cooked chicken slices or BBQ chicken
  • Dumplings
  • Nuts e.g. cashews, almonds, peanuts, macadamia
  • Flavoured tofu pieces
  • Yoghurt tub


  • Pasta e.g. penne
  • Wholemeal or grainy bread, toast, rolls, flat bread or wraps
  • Grainy crackers
  • Noodles
  • Rice
  • Couscous
  • Dumplings
  • Polenta
  • Quinoa

As the most modular of meals, there are limitless ways to put together a snack plate dinner, and you can go as basic or as fancy as you like. To help you get started, check out these inspo plates.

Snack plate dinner example
Snack plate dinner example
Snack plate dinner example

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