Check Out This Cookie (Scary)

November 18, 2010   31 Comments

Snack Girl has a problem she wants to share.

The 600 Calorie Cookie

She loves cookies.

Not just sorta kinda loves them - LOVES them. So, when she goes to a local cafe she wants to buy one with her coffee for an afternoon treat.

As she looks into the glass case, she spots this MONSTER. huh? Where is my sweet little chocolate chip cookie?

My cookie has been replaced with a cookie that will set you back 600 calories. Look at it compared to the knock off Oreo next to it. How many of those do you think would fit on top of the massive cookie? 15 or 16?

My town has a bunch of cafes and I can tell you right now - this is normal. Finding a regular sized cookie (150 calories) is pretty much impossible.

I realize that this isn't news. "Super Size Me", a documentary by Morgan Spurlock, did a great job talking about how portion size is out of control.

On a daily basis, we are confronted with WAY too much food. And not just too much food, but unhealthy food.

Here is a photo of a refrigerated case of food at the airport:


This is a nicely framed photo (if I do say so myself :), but imagine yourself walking up to it. What is the first food you are going to see?

Yeah, the muffins, cookies, banana bread, etc. I feel kinda sorry for the fruit salad shoved in the corner next to the yogurt with granola.

So, when you need to grab something for the plane that no longer serves food - the first thing you have to decide is, "NO! I don't want butter, sugar, flour, eggs, chocolate." and then you have to order the $4 fruit salad. ouch.

How many of you are capable of making the HEALTHY choice? I can tell you right now that I have to exercise SERIOUS restraint when I approach a counter like this.

If you are having trouble eating healthy snacks, keep in mind that life isn't set up for healthy snacking. You are constantly confronted by too many calories in food that has few nutrients.

Hang in there, healthy snackers!!

How do you deal with MONSTER cookies? Please share.

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Great reminder! Most of the cookies and muffins out there are HUGE!!!

I only get a "monster cookie" when I'm with other people I can share it with. Otherwise it's just too difficult to eat a reasonable portion... I also make mini muffins/cupcakes and small cookies at home. I freeze them, so it's easy to pull a small treat out of the freezer once in a while. And, I usually try to carry a few snacks in my purse..

I am with Andrea. We try to make all of our cookies minis and cupcakes. Because then you can have 2 or even 4 and still be within calories. My daughter is 2 so she is just the right size for minis.

..I am always talking to our campus food service. Their options for baked goods are: jumbo cookies; rice crispie treats that are the size of bricks (seriously, I have done a comparisons) and slightly larger then regular cookies that are stuffed with icing and sold only in three packs. And all candy bars on campus are sold in king size only. And yet they insist they really do care that college students pack on pounds!

I always bring my own everything. So I don't have to rely on the selection of other places. And then when I'm tempted, I just think that I can't get it because it would be a waste of food and money not to eat what I already have.

Definitely. Portions are way out of control. Even if they served a cookie half that size, it would be great to split with a friend! I try not to even let myself be faced with a counter like that. Honestly, I would look at the fruit cup and say $4? %#@~ that! I have gotten in the habit of carrying a healthy snack with me if I'm going to be gone during that long stretch of either late morning or mid-afternoon where my stomach infamously begins to grumble. The days where I pick up a baked treat from Starbucks are a special treat and happen very rarely, so I will get what looks good ;)

In my book, I state the #1 problem (unfortunately, there are many) with the American food system is portion sizes. The National, Blood, and Lung Institute does a great job demonstrating portion distortion. You can find the information at my site:

Emily is 100% correct. All you need to do is identify a few replacement food items and you can easily ignore the temptation of the enormous junk food they are pushing.

One of my favorites is Pure Protein Bar. Not only does it create the feeling of satiety, it's very satisfying that I don't spend $15 bucks at the movie theater for crap. One bar costs 1-buck.

One thing I forgot to mention: Many of those baked goods have trans fats in them ... a known killer. So, every time I see those seemingly delicious cookies, I think poison.

That's typically enough incentive to stay clear of them.

You don't realize how big they are until you put them next to a regular size cookie - WOW!!!!!!!!

Bigger cookies are better cookies!

One thing I try to remind myself is that these types of things NEVER taste as good as you want them to, so it's not even worth it. They're always half-stale, and a refrigerated muffin is NEVER as good as it looks. If I'm gonna eat 600 calories of sugar and fat, it better taste fantastic. I'd rather wait to get something I know I'm going to love!

I thank my parents every day for giving me genes that doesn't make me crave sweets lol. when i went to the airport, i actually grabbed the granola on yogurt thing, since i know fruit salad won't be able to make many fuller. at least it's a slightly better choice than the muffins and whatnot on top? Lol

Haha... This is so timely. Just yesterday we had monster cookies in the office. I stayed away. I heard another girl in the office come up and offer half to someone else. Then my boss came and offered me half of hers. I accepted. I would have had a hard time only eating half if I had gone to get it so I was glad she came and offered it:-) I just try to avoid those cafes and stuff all together now.

I read a book a few years back, The Portion Teller: Smartsize Your Way to Permanent Weight Loss by Lisa R. Young, and it was mind-boggling how portion sizes have changed. I had no idea that the fun size Snickers' bar-type candies were the original full-portion size. It really drives home the point that we are really responsible for what a true portion is, not necessarily the product label provided by the company... which of course would want us to consume more of their product.

It's tough. I love cookies, too. I try not to EVER buy items out of bakery cases because then I would have a hard time NOT doing it every time I passed one. I try to really hold out for the special cookies, the ones that are homemade and taste good and I try to only eat them out. With holidays coming, does anybody have any recs on what to do when you find these delicious homebaked goodies in your house and don't want to inhale them all?

Chocolate chip cookies are my absolutely, positively most favorite food in the whole world!

I think bakery muffins are even worse...some people think they are being healthy by choosing a muffin over another type of baked good...some of those mosters will set you back over 1000 calories!!

It is sooo hard to choose the right thing, usually my first downfall is the croissant/danish with I was proud to say in my starving rush I stopped at a 7-11 and got milk and a banana.....69cent banana that was huge, not organic but at least not the cheese danish! and they were right by the cash register!

I eat very little (read: almost none) store-bought snacks because I just don't have the will/discipline to consume a reasonable portion when faced with a mega-portion. My three year old niece loves those giant cookies (her parents let her have one every few months only). We try telling her that you shouldn't eat anything that's bigger than your head, but she doesn't care!

can i also point out that bagels are now about the size of our heads? some places have mini bagels, which are apparently about the size that bagels were originally. one idea, though, when things are monster-sized is to split them (eat half) or share them with a friend or two; the friend thing would help me: we would all eat our parts and be done; the split and save wouldn't work; i'd soon unwrap the saved half and eat it, too. one of my new practices is to try to make as much of these special foods as i can myself. then i can cut the sugar down (am also experimenting with agave nectar and sucatant-sp?), and i also use whole wheat pastry flour. i also don't put in any chemicals!

Honestly, I find that giganto cookies like in that photo are actually not even that good. I like the slightly larger ones (yes) but super plump. And no, I don't have a good method for avoiding them. Especially in airports... unless I bring super delicious homemade healthy snacks and treats :)

I have no problems avoiding such an unappetizing brown chunk of unhealthy. I think I would have serious problems avoiding it if it looked a tad less god-awful.

I had lunch at Au Bon Pain a while back, found myself craving something sweet, and decided to give into my usually meticulous eating habits. I was thrilled to find that Au Bon Pain displays the number of calories next to each of their cookies, muffins and danishes etc. After seeing that one treat would set me back at a minimum of 500-600 calories, I decided it wasn't worth it and moved on. I've learned to curb my sweet cravings with a measured 50-60 calorie serving of dark chocolate. It's the perfect amount and measuring ensures I don't get carried away.

So many of the comments are spot on: Those baked goods never actually taste that good. Not 600 calories worth of good anyway! I'd rather bake cookies at home and eat them piping hot, right out of the oven. Air travel is always such a pain when it comes to eating. After enough experiences of eating junk and feeling like garbage after eating junk, I've learned to only get certain things...I pay the $4 for fruit salad. I hit up Starbucks for oatmeal only...and I drink lots of water. I tell myself that I will not starve to death before making it to my destination. On, and I always carry a Clif bar :)

I raised my kids on healthy homemade cookies; seldom, if ever, bought cookies (might have bought oreo cookies once in a great while). I found a recipe that is consists of 1 1/2 cups flour & 1 1/2 cups wheat germ & 1 cup oatmeal and used it as the basis for most of my cookies. Add chocolate chips (always Ghiradelli dark) and it's a chocolate chip cookie or add raisins/craisins & nuts and its an oatmeal cookie; dried cherries and white chocolate chips worked well, too - still our family's favorite cookie! Cookies are so easy to make, the house smells good, and children really appreciate the effort (as do any guests and adults, too!). Very rewarding experience for everyone, making healthy homemade cookies :-)

I avoid these enormous cookies by telling myself that they are never as good as the kind you bake at home and most of the time it works :-)

I'm so interested/curious in this whole portion distortion that has occurred in the US over the past several decades. There's a great book that explores portions called the Portion Teller by Lisa Young.

I can't believe how many bakeries have huge cookies, muffins, cupcakes etc. I do a lot of baking cause I love it, and I try my best to incorporate good wholesome ingredients, plus keep the portions to a single serving. I love all your helpful info, glad I found your site:)

I loved this. I'm fascinated by how portions have exploded during the past 30 years. Did you read the portion teller by Lisa Young? I highly recommend it. I made peanut butter cookies from a recipe in Woman's Day magazine the other day, where they are described as little cookie "buttons" and look so small. And then I went OMG - these are 1-1/2 inch in diameter - the size cookies used to be just a few years ago before they got ginormous!!

I don't usually buy cookies. I do buy girl scout thin mints but I freeze most of them. Don't tell my family:) There is one bakery/cafe that makes a fantastic snickerdoodle. When I go there, I order the lunch special (comes with cookie) and eat the cookie as my afternoon snack. I don't even go once a month though!

I am from Atlanta (yes I saw your ATL airport horrible food choice article and I COMPLETELY agree)so what I do is just pack my own lunch. I like to bring bread (or if I can't, I look for the healthiest available) and bring pb 2 since it's easy to bring through security. I also tend to shell out the big bucks on fruit because I find that it is one thing you can always find (but to avoid this,I try my best to pack it in my carry-on whenever possible). I also find that it's generally easy to find three-ish ww pt snacks in the airport convenient stores (such as pop chips).

Ooh baked goods are my weakness! BUT what I do is just picture eating it and "taste" the yummy flavors in my mind. Then I just walk away and get the healthier option. It's surprisingly satisfying.

Might seem a bit ridiculous but try it out next time you walk by a bakery.

The only thing I see is Diet Coke. It's the addiction talking. I can walk past a cookie every day of the week. A diet Coke will call my name in a crowded room.

Airports are the worst. It's nearly impossible to get quality protein without also buying carbs in a 5:1 ratio.

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