The 7 Worst TikTok Food Trends Of 2023

The cottage cheese situation has become truly harrowing.

TikTok is full of cursed content, but TikTok food trends represent the very worst of the worst. Lucky for you, we've waded through the trenches of snack hacking, illicit ice cream licking, and troubling soup habits to find the eight absolute worst TikTok food trends of 2023. You're welcome?

Bad nutrition advice

TikTok has always had a problem with diet-related content—some of it sneakier than the rest. Throughout 2023, diet and wellness influencers have spread "nutrition" advice linked with potentially harmful dietary supplements and substitutions, often without disclosing that they were paid to do so by lobbying groups. Take it from us: When in doubt, don't look to TikTok for medical advice. You may well land in the pocket of Big Aspartame.


Girl Dinner

Intrepid Takeout writer Angela Pagán bravely went long on Girl Dinner, the massive TikTok trend that involved assembling a series of wee bites—little crackers, little grapes, little cheeses, little pickles; the little list goes on—and labeling it "Girl Dinner." As in, dinner for girls.


Writes Pagán: "I am a Girl Dinner maker, a Girl Dinner eater, but have I ever felt the feminine urge to label my creations this way? Nope, not really."


Water: You need it to live! Unfortunately, droves of TikTokers aren't satisfied with the standard stuff. Enter #WaterTok, the viral phenomenon that involves doctoring your water with artificial sweeteners, syrups, and powders to make "plain" water taste "better."


Alas, nutritionists warn that those artificial sweeteners can take a real toll on the body. It's not the sugar we're worried about—it's the impact on your gut health. If you've ever slammed a 16-oz. bottle of Dasani doctored with Crystal Light, you know exactly what we're talking about.

Snack hacking

Oh, sorry, were you about to open a bag of microwave popcorn? Make sure you do it the right way—the TikTok way, that is. This year, Tiktokers have popped off on snack hacks, explaining the "correct" usage for everything from can openers to Ritz crackers. And, yes, these videos are annoying as hell.


Takeout contributor Laura Wheatman Hill writes:

"TikTok, like the rest of the internet before it, is rife with people eager to tell us how to open a packet of spaghetti or more safely operate a can opener. That's all well and good, but it's within my rights to resent these 'hacks' for their insinuation that I can't simply do things my way, and that I should be kicking myself for not doing things as I was 'supposed' to be doing them all along."

Menu hacking

Even worse than snack hacking is menu hacking: sneakily creating custom off-menu items at chain restaurants. Menu hacking has been a thing for a while, but restaurants fought back this year: Chipotle disabled taco orders on its mobile app to discourage "hacked" orders, and Chick-fil-A even fired a worker for posting menu hacks on TikTok.


Our favorite menu-hacking protest occurred at an Atlanta-area Waffle House, where employees posted a sign that read: "ORDER FROM THE MENU WE ARE NOT MAKING ANYTHING YOU SAW ON TIKTOK!!"

Meanwhile, Starbucks embraced menu hacking, because of course it did.

Illicit ice cream licking

We are so sorry to report that TikTok users went viral this year for licking ice cream in the grocery store freezer aisle—that is, picking up a pint of ice cream, removing the lid, licking the surface of the ice cream, then putting it back in the freezer case for unsuspecting customers to buy. (Horrifically enough, this isn't even a stunt that started on TikTok—it just leapt there in 2023 after going around Twitter in 2019.)


What's next, TikTok? Nurses licking newborn babies? Bankers licking fresh Benjamins? The only licking videos we want to see involve little cats receiving treats. Please keep that in mind moving forward.

Apocalyptic cottage cheese usage

The weight-loss TikTokers have struck again, this time besmirching the good name of cottage cheese via cottage cheese ice cream. The concoction went viral in the spring of 2023, billed as a "healthy alternative" to ice cream. Fast forward to today—we got TikTokers out here mixing strawberry jam into frozen cottage cheese and calling it ice cream.


Meanwhile, influencer Tiffany Magee went viral for posting her extremely restrictive weight-loss lunch ritual: chicken sausage, hearts of palm, veritable buckets of mustard and enough cottage cheese to sink a transatlantic vessel. Internet, please stop.

The only good TikTok food trend

We're just gonna leave this here.