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Girl Scout Cookies: Friend or Foe?

February 17, 2014   50 Comments

Snack Girl has put up a black and white of these cookies because I know these are a trigger for some of you.

Girl Scout Cookies Points Values

I get complaints about my photographs inspiring people to eat too much. I know how it is because I spend a lot of time surfing the internet for great recipe ideas. Food glorious food!

I do save the black and white for food that tends to be on the indulgent or junk food end of the spectrum. Recently, my daughter started selling Girl Scout cookies and I have about 50 boxes IN MY HOUSE.

Anyone want some cookies?

How do I feel about my daughter selling cookies when I spend part of my time criticizing processed food? Not so good. In my opinion, Girl Scouts should find another fundraiser that isn’t so loaded for so many in the USA. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

We need organizations, such as the Girl Scouts of America, to promote healthy eating and physical activity. I think it is the wrong time for this particular product.

I am now coming off my high horse because (as you may have noticed) my horse is not so high that I forbade my daughter from selling cookies. In fact, she has sold about 80 boxes to date.

A potential buyer asked me which cookies would be the healthiest choice (she knows that I am Snack Girl) and I had no idea. I decided to review the most popular cookies to see which ones were the best.

Keep in mind that all of them are treats and (tip!) should be kept in the freezer if you are apt to open a tube and keep on eating. These are the flavors of cookies that my daughter is currently selling. You may have different types in your part of the country.

The nutrition facts are for ONE cookie. This makes it easy to compare them though they are different sizes.

From Best to Worst:

Savannah Smiles

28 calories, 1 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 4 g carbohydrates, 2.0 g sugar, 0 g protein, 0 g fiber, 25 mg sodium, 1 Points+

Trefoils/Shortbread

30 calories, 1.2 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 5.0 g carbohydrates, 1.0 g sugar, 0.2 g protein, 0 g fiber, 27 mg sodium, 1 Points+

Thin Mints

40 calories, 2.0 g fat, 1.3 g saturated fat, 5.0 g carbohydrates, 3 g sugar, 0.5 g protein, 0 g fiber, 27 mg sodium, 1 Points+

Do-si-dos/peanut butter sandwich cookies

53 calories, 2.2 g fat, 0.6 g saturated fat, 7.0 g carbohydrates, 4.0 g sugar, 1 g protein, 0.3 g fiber, 30 mg sodium, 1 Points+

Peanut Butter Patties or Tagalongs

70 calories, 4.5 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 6.5 g carbohydrates, 4.0 g sugar, 0.5 g protein, 0 g fiber, 50 mg sodium, 2 Points+

Somoas or Caramel deLites

75 calories, 4.0 g fat, 3.0 g saturated fat, 9.0 g carbohydrates, 5.5 g sugar, 0 g protein, 0 g fiber, 30 mg sodium, 2 Points+

Savannah Smiles win! And the best part for me is that they are my favorite! They are lemon cookies dusted with powdered sugar. I like them with coffee.

How do you feel about Girl Scout cookies? Am I being a scrooge?

Points+ values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only.


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50 Comments:

I have a Daisy Girl Scout in my house, and I've been a troop leader for years (I have older daughters). I have a lot of cookies in my garage right now. I'm not going to quantify other than to say a lot.

But they're in my garage, not my house. When we're delivering or getting ready for a booth sale I leave them in my van. This cuts down on any temptation.

I view them like a treat, like holiday desserts or other special occasions. I know I'm supporting activities for girls in my area by buying them, but they're expensive enough that I limit how many I get. I put most of what I buy for my family in the freezer and we take out a box every now and then.

And the lemon Savannah Smiles are my favorite too. :)

on February 17, 2014

When they come to my door, I just give a cash donation. I take pleasure in giving with out receiving:)

on February 17, 2014

I have not cared for the artificial flavor of GS cookies since it seemed they changed their recipes years ago. I was against the ingredients more than the calories. I remember there used to be just one that passed my personal taste and healthy meter. Hey, not to be a scrooge myself, but I'm a 60-something, i.e., I remember when GS cookies were really good-tasting and had real ingredients! So, I support the GS by buying cookies and donating them to our community dining room. Same goes for any youngster selling candy! I'm hoping, no I'm confident that someday there will be organic options in fund-raising goodies then I'll still donate some to our community dining room but I'll keep some for me too and just count my calories! :)

on February 17, 2014

If the trans fats were removed I would be far less disappointed. This coming from a silver star girl scout and former group leader, now mom to two boys. They are cookies and are marketed as such. Treats not meals or snacks. They provide many girls the opportunity to participate in camps and trips that otherwise could not afford them. But thr trans fat in some keep them now out of my house.

on February 17, 2014

Frozen cookies are delicious! That little zip of coldness in addition to the lovely cookie-flavor: yumm. You can see that all cookies have to stay out of my house. I buy GS cookies and donate them.

on February 17, 2014

I had friends who managed the campsite where Girl Scouts in the region came to camp. This also happened to be where they stored their cookies. We were given a chance to visit this enchanted place. Cookies from floor to ceiling, wall to wall. :-)

They aren't the healthiest food, but it's only once a year. That is as long as you don't stock your freezer with them. A great way to support the girls is to support an organization that sends the cookies to the men and women serving in war zones. They are working hard and sweating in the desert. The cookies are a welcome treat. It's a win-win-win - you feel good about donating to the troops and the troops, plus your hips aren't growing.

http://www.operationgratitude.com/tag/girls-scout-cookies/

on February 17, 2014

I agree that they should make the cookies healthier . My daughter sold them when she was young. It is a great fundraiser for a great organization, so why not change the recipes to make them better for us?

on February 17, 2014

My daughters were scouts. Sadly, GS of America only gives the kids a few pennies on every box they sell and they donate funds to organizations I do not support. So I felt it was better to opt out of cookie sales and donate funds directly to the troop. A win-win all around.

on February 17, 2014

I love Girl Scout Cookies, but between the price, the calories and finding out the Thin Mints have trans fat, I stopped buying them. Now I make my own.

on February 17, 2014

perhaps they should start selling dried food instead or nicely packaged nuts assortment. however, if the general public will not resist the cookies, this tradition will not go away.

on February 17, 2014

For the past few years, I have bought and then donated the cookies to my local food bank. This way, I am helping the GS and others, and also helping myself by not eating them. :)

on February 17, 2014

Millie, what you are doing is commendable.

on February 17, 2014

I'm with Doreen - I stopped buying GS cookies when I discovered how little the Girl Scout troops actually get of the cost of the cookies they work so hard to sell. I donated directly to the troop instead. This year my granddaughter wanted to earn some sort of prize for selling 100 boxes of cookies donated to the armed services, so I did buy 10 boxes to help her out. I think it's like soda machines in schools - there has to be a better way for children to raise money and shame on the adults for not coming up with one. I personally would not let my girls sell them nor would I buy them because I'm against the whole idea on so many levels - health, low percentage of profits received, amount of time and effort expanded for very little return. But you will note that I gave in this one time to help a little granddaughter, partly because I live on the other side of the country - when I move to town next year, I will explain why I won't participate and will donate directly to her troop. Sometimes you have to pick your battles :-)

on February 17, 2014

Personally I'm passing on the cookies this year partly because they don't fit in with my personal healthy eating plans and partly because I'm concerned about Girl Scout's affiliation with Planned Parenthood and abortion.

on February 17, 2014

Doreen said it perfectly.

I support the girls locally, but the cookie sales are loaded with other agendas besides calories and trans fats.

If you still buy anyway, do it with the knowledge these girls work so hard for so little return.

A corporate shame.

I thank those that donate to troops, etc.

on February 17, 2014

I was a scout leader many years ago , we even had a tour of the Salerno cookie plant when they made them . I loved the thin mints until they started using hydrogenated oil ! It's not the calories I'm concerned with , it is the ingredients , too bad !!

on February 17, 2014

So far this year I have avoided Girl Scout cookies! I hate that they sell them at this time of year when people are really trying to be healthier. I have ignored the people at work selling them for their kids, and walked quickly past a few booths outside stores. I did stop and buy 1 box of thin mints to send to my daughter in college for Valentines day. In years past I would buy at least 20 boxes a year, and my family would eat them all. The girls are always trying to sell more to earn some cheap prize. I was a Girl Scout Leader for several years, and looking back I really do regret the time and energy we wasted selling cookies. I do not believe that the young girls really gain skills from these sales, since the parents and leaders do the work. At the booth I stopped at, they we trying to teach a little girl to make change for a $20. It took so long, I almost left without buying! I don't have all day! Certainly the older girls can learn skills if they actually are responsible for money themselves. We bothered our neighbors and spent so much time for just a small amount of money that actually came back to our troop. I would rather have just paid more dues and fees for activities.

And if I don't want to eat the unhealthy cookies myself, I don't feel it is good to donate them to others to eat.

And donations of money don't necessarily go directly to the troop. The Girl Scout organization wants a portion of those too!

on February 17, 2014

I'm not a big fan of GS cookies but am a HUGE fan of the Girl Scouts! I order cookies from my favorite scout each year but have them donated to our U.S. service men and women.

on February 17, 2014

What if Girl Scout cookies are neither friend or foe? What if they are just cookies?

I spent decades caught up struggling with my weight and obsessing about food. I guess I thought if I could identify the food heroes and villains all would be right with my world! Wrong!!

The trouble is that all the "nutrition" experts keep changing their minds about what's good and what is bad.

Remember when transfats were the savior from the evils of butter?? (I do!)

The more I read, studied, worried, and obsessed the less happy I became. And I still struggled with my weight.

What a terrible waste of my valuable life energy!

My grandmother lived to be 93 and she didn't obsess about food and nutrition. She just ate everything in moderation. And she was happy. So, I'm trying to be more like her and give up all the "good" and "evil" thinking.

A Girl Scout showed up at my door yesterday. I took one look at the pained expression on her face and I was transported back in time to my own cookie selling days, when I rang doorbells and had neighbors refused to make a purchase. It was such a personal assault on a young shy introverted girl.

At the moment I didn't care anything about whether they were healthy or not. I just wanted support a shy young lady who had been courageous enough to knock on a stranger's door and ask for a sale.

So, I bought 3 boxes - Thin Mints, Samoas and Trefoils. I immediately tucked them out of sight in the pantry. I'll bring them out one at a time and put them in the cookie jar for a special treat.

I've now come to believe that the stress from constantly obsessing about my food was probably causing me more damage than the food itself. So, I've decided to relax about all the "good" and "evil" stuff. Since there's a very good chance that whatever is "good" today may be "evil" a few years from now, anyway :-)

And I strive to find a happy/healthy balance that feels right for me.

on February 17, 2014

I was just on the Girl scouts official website checking out the types of cookies that they have and noticed a new flavor called cranberry citrus crisps. The initial descriotion says that the cookies are made with real fruit,whole grain,no HFC & no artificial colrs flavors or sweetners. But when you click on the details to view the ingredients & nutritional info,there is thiamine mononitrate,monocalcium phosphate,soy lecithin & distilled monoglycerides. Those don't exactly sound like non-artificial ingredients to me but nonetheless I would try them as an occasional treat. While I would like it better if the cookies at least contained familiar ingredients that are more food than chemicals,I still find myself getting a few boxes for me & my husband. I do like the thin mints,tag alongs,& samoas but luckily I have enough control to eat only 2 or 3 cookies in a setting and not make it an everyday habit so I don;t think it's so bad to have them as a treat so long as I balance out the rest of my lifestyle in healthier ways

on February 17, 2014

I love cookies but have never liked GS cookies. I just don't think they taste good so I don't buy them. I also don't like how little goes to the troops - and most goes to corporate which support causes/agendas that many of the girls families deliberately try to keep their girls from. I agree with those who just give a donation to the troop itself.

on February 17, 2014

Isn't there a healthy recipe anywhere? At least for the coconut one( my fav!). Seems with all these crafty cooks that their must be something close, even if not aligned with Weight Watchers...

on February 17, 2014

I've ordered Girl Scout cookies from my friends' daughters who live far away. I said it didn't make sense to ship them to me and she suggested that I have them donated to a local food shelf. They stopped by and donated them for me!

on February 17, 2014

I am choosing not to participate in thier cookie fundraiser this year. The older I get the healthier choices I need to make for a healhier and hopefully longer life.

on February 17, 2014

If the cookies are not healthy enough for us to eat, why do we think it is okay to give them to others, especially those less fortunate? And why do we call them "treats" when they are not healthy on any occasion.

on February 17, 2014

I love Snack Girl because you lay it on the line and provide information so we can be informed in our choices. I'd like to do the same. I'm a troop leader of two troops, a Service Unit Manager and a Cookie Manager. From the comments, there seems to be some misinformation about cookie sales.

There are two official GS cookie Bakers - Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers.

Trans fats (from Little Brownie Baker) were removed a couple years ago and Savannah Smiles, Trefoils and Do-si-Dos contain no hydrogenated oils. There is also a gluten free cookie that is in test markets for those that sell cookies from ABC cookie bakers. They are trying to make the cookies a little more healthy, but they are pre-packaged cookies after all. I've seen several "healthier" tries at cookies, but they just don't sell very well. Technically the ingredients in the Citrus Crisps are not artificial. They add emulsifiers (standard in baked goods) and in order to maintain a shelf life they add preservatives.

The profit is divided between (from most to least)the local council, the baker, the troops. I believe each local Council sets the price and the percentages. In my Council that breaks down to, $2.08 for Council, $1.08 for baker, and $.84 for the troop. Donations directly to the troop or for cookies to be sent to the Armed Forces and local food shelves are always welcome! GS of America does not get any of the profits from the sale of the cookies or from any donations. They only get money from the $15 annual registration.

I like all the cookies, but like Snack Girl, I prefer the Savannah Smiles for my snack because I can eat five cookies for one serving. I eat each cookie in three nibbles so I get 15 nibbles for my serving. I find that more satisfying than one or two of the other cookies. But thats just me :)

on February 17, 2014

I stay away from Girl Scout cookies altogether..not my favorite dessert, so why splurge? I'd rather have ice cream! On a side note, kudos to your mention in the March Fitness magazine!!!

on February 17, 2014

Sandy Spencer, I'm with you.

My daughter did not join girl scouts because the leadership in our area were just plain rude and when I learned of the Planned Parenthood issue we decided not to pursue it.

I think it is a travesty that the girls are working so hard and receive so little. Seems like child labor if you're willing to go there.

Maybe I'm grumpy because I didn't buy any cookies this year... ;)

on February 17, 2014

I support the Girl Scouts by giving them money and not taking the cookies -

on February 17, 2014

I quit buying then when I learned that the girl scouts only get 10 cents from each box, what a rip off. The head of the corporation is getting most the money.

on February 17, 2014

Here is a recipe using Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal

I use almond all the time in my baking.

3 cups Bob’s Red Mill® Natural Almond Meal

1 tsp Baking Soda

½ tsp Sea Salt

¼ cup Coconut Oil

¼ cup Maple Syrup

1 whole Egg

2 Egg Whites

1 tsp Vanilla Extract (optional)

¼ tsp Almond Extract (optional)

1 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

½ cup toasted Sliced Almonds*

http://blog.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free/natural-almond-meal/

The best cookies are the ones made at home.

Flax meal can be used instead of 1/2 of the coconut oil and can sub for one egg.

Personally, I would sub the maple sugar with Stevia for those with diabetes. If you want, sub out 1 cup of almond and use Sprouted Wheat flour.

This is a great recipe for kids and adults. This is gluten free and the almond meal is delicious.

I was with Campfire Girls ages ago and we use to sell candy! We buy from the Boy Scouts who have recently been selling popcorn. SO, there are alternatives that people would buy. Girl Scouts need to change.

on February 17, 2014

I am a girl scout leader and we sell cookies in my troop. The younger girls recieve .65 per box and older girl troop recieve more cash and less prizes. The cookie program is the biggest fundraiser GS has. They have also toyed with magazines, nuts, etc., but w/o as much success. The funds really help the troops pursue new activities with the girls, especially STEM and camp experiences. A lot of people believe GS is too feminist etc. but for the past 100 years it has been a positive organization for girls.

All that said they are trying new recipies, non GMO ingredients and the like. As a once a year treat most people are probably not eating as much GS processed food as they are from popular restaurants like Olive Garden, Cheesecake Factory, Chilli's, and other places where the food is just shameful.

on February 17, 2014

I feel the need to chime in. Girl Scout cookies have not caused our obesity problem. They are sold once a year and are called cookies, not health food. While I agree that trans fat could be removed, to suggest that they sell something else is a bit ridiculous. A treat is a treat, and it is up to us as adults to decided how many (if at all) we, or our children will eat. They did not cause the obesity problem, allowing ourselves and our kids to eat unhealthy "junk"/processed food on a daily basis caused the obesity problem. Buy a box, freeze them, and eat them over the course of a few months (or don't buy them at all).

on February 17, 2014

Oh, Sandee, please check out the GSUSA link to dispel the vicious rumors about GSing and Planned Parenthood/abortion that emerge every year :( http://www.girlscouts.org/gs_central/mpmf/faqs.asp

I am a veteran leader with 3 daughters, 3 troops and am very active in our local SU team. While I know these are not healthy, I see them as a special treat as well. We happily send them overseas, homeless shelters and food pantries every year. The girls are learning so much about life and compassion towards others. I hope if your readers don't want to eat them, that they will at least buy a box for donations OR donate money straight to the troop. We do not receive much per box (about 60 cents in our Council), so every box helps! THANKS!

on February 17, 2014

I believe that Girl Scout cookies don't cause obesity but they definitely contribute to it in the fact that they are part of the problem.

The Boy Scouts overcame this problem with popcorn. Why can't the Girl Scouts do the same? Many people never buy cookies, us included. I think they would reach a wider group of people if they even offered a choice between cookie and something healthier, maybe healthier cookies.

Parents work very hard these day to keep sugary adn unhealthy treats out the hands of their children. Why should the Girl Scouts work to break that discipline?

We don't buy, we donate.

on February 17, 2014

Wow - I'm blown away with the comment that the girls only get 10 cents a box. You really think that we as parents and leaders would have our girls work their butts off for 10 cents a box? Amazing. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my council has it broken out $2.08 for Council, $1.08 for baker, and $.84 for the troop. So if you add that up its $2.92 cents that goes to supporting girls through local programs and their troop. $3 out of $4 is a pretty good return.

on February 17, 2014

Foe. Not healthy at all and fattening. Bad fats. Just give a donation.

on February 17, 2014

I believe this discussion is going really well and people are doing a great job of respecting each other.

My daughter's troop is making 75 cents per $4 box.

I want to say that I do not believe GS cookies cause obesity. My point is that we need to emphasize healthy food because there is an obesity epidemic in children.

Thanks again for the discussion - it is excellent.

on February 17, 2014

Perfect timing cause it seems the bad weather has really caused the GS to ramp up sales around here. Someone was selling them from their car a few blocks away and downstairs in the nursing school where I work and I'm starving right now. I love the idea of girl scout cookies and remember the favorites I used to have. The box of cookies gets smaller and smaller, and lighter and lighter, the price keeps going up and none of them wow me anymore. I heard that GS wouldn't even exist without the cookies. What's up with that?

on February 17, 2014

I always tell them to give the cookies to the troops that I buy. Don't need them in the house.

on February 17, 2014

Thank you for telling us how much the troops do get. That is much better than the 10ct misinformation. The boy scouts do sell popcorn but much of it is caramel and/or fudge coated and it is very expensive considering it is popcorn.

Martha- good for you for being so nice to that poor girl. I know how much I used to hate doing that door to door selling myself. You have a good attitude.

on February 17, 2014

For the record, more money is given to the troops than other posters give credit. My troop makes enough from the sale to pay membership fees, all badges (those aren't free!), and significantly reduce the price of camp and other special events. The money does a world of good, especially in an area such as ours, where families don't have a lot of money to allocate to girl scout expenses.

on February 17, 2014

In our town the Boy Scouts only sold regular popcorn not the fudge or caramel types. I guess it may depend on where you live. I still think the GS could sell something else. They all always charge more than the food is worth. It is part of donating to them. This way people get something back.

on February 17, 2014

I agree with Nikki. If the trans fats are removed, i would buy a box or two. I try to stay away from them.

on February 18, 2014

I'm with Mardi -- frozen cookies, bars, brownies are delicious. The only thing I won't eat frozen is a raw pork chop!

I don't buy Girl Scout cookies but I do give them $1 whenever I have someone ring my doorbell or I pass a table where they are set up in public. Makes me feel like not such a Scrooge, and it's profit for them.

on February 18, 2014

Please look at the cookie nutrition information at the following links. See below about Trans Fats

http://www.abcsmartcookies.com/2013-14-cookie-nutritional-f…

http://www.littlebrowniebakers.com/cookies/cookies-consumer…

You have to click on the cookie to get the nutrition information in the last link.

Also from Little Brownie "Do the cookies contain trans fat?

We are proud that all of our cookies are "zero grams trans fat per serving".

5 varieties - Trefoils, Do-si-dos®, Dulce de Leche, Lemon Chalet Cremes, and Thank U Berry Munch® contain 0 grams trans fat per serving and do not contain hydrogenated oils.

3 varieties - Samoas®, Thin Mints, and Tagalongs® contain less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving, which meets or exceeds the FDA guidelines for "zero grams trans fat" designation.

Are there any added preservatives?

No, Little Brownie Bakers cookies do not contain any added preservatives.

Do the cookies contain high fructose corn syrup?

7 of the 8 varieties of Little Brownie Bakers Girl Scout cookies do not contain high fructose corn syrup. Those varieties are: Tagalongs®, Do-si-does®, Lemon Chalet Cremes, Thin Mints, Samoas®, Trefoils, and Thank U Berry Munch™.

Are Little Brownie Bakers Girl Scout cookies kosher?

All Little Brownie Baker's cookies are certified kosher dairy.

Why do some cookies contain partially hydrogenated oils?

The oil used in Girl Scout Cookies® is a blend of oils. One component in the blend is lightly hydrogenated. Various oils can be partially hydrogenated or fully hydrogenated. Because a small part of the oil blend is slightly hydrogenated oil, we must label as such in the ingredient list. We have selected a blend that provides the smallest level of hydrogenation while keeping our quality and unique flavors and taste unchanged.

We are working hard to remove partially hydrogenated oils from our cookies. This year we are glad to offer the following varieties with no partially hydrogenated oils:

Trefoils

Dulce de Leche

Thank U Berry MunchTM

Lemon Chalet CremesTM

Do-si-dos®

on February 18, 2014

Sandee, I hope that you took advantage of the link provided on this site to the GS site regarding your concerns. This connection bet. GS and PPH simply does not exist. There are so many myths circulating on the internet and it seems people bleieve everything they read without checking the source of the information.

I clicked on the link and read the information and I hope all of you do the same. Let's dispel myths not perpetuate them.

http://www.girlscouts.org/gs_central/mpmf/faqs.asp

on February 19, 2014

I am so disappointed because the quality of taste has gone down tremendously since I was a kid. The flavor used to be good now no better then fake cookies. That is why I don't like them anymore.

on February 19, 2014

Last year I finally came to the realization that I don't actually like Girl Scout cookies. They're so sweet, and taste way too processed. If I'm going to have a calorie splurge I'd rather bake a batch of homemade cookies (bonus -- can ask my 3-yr-old daughter to help, and then it counts as bonding time). This year my cousin's daughter is a new Girl Scout, so I felt compelled to order, but I discovered that you can order cookies and have them donated to the local USO, to be sent to military personnel serving overseas. Awesome; I can donate money to Girl Scouts and someone else gets the cookies!!!

With all that said, I think Girl Scout cookies aren't too bad. Yes, they're incredibly processed and probably horrible for your body. But considering that they're only sold once a year, they become an "occasional treat" by default.

on February 19, 2014

I love Girl scouts and the cookies but hate the selling part and the competition. I don't think it teaches anything good. Why can't it be more like Boy scouts? I feel Girl scouts has to step up and teach more life skills and make the girls more adventurous and bold.

on February 4, 2019


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