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Healthy Tips for Enjoying Girl Scout Cookies

A mere 21 days ago you rang in the new year with a resolution to the tune of getting fit, losing weight or eating healthier. And just like that, Girl Scout cookie season blows in and tempts you out of your resolve and back in to her $3.50-per-box sugar heaven.girl scout cookies

Girl Scout cookies are like a double-edged sword: the purchase is for a good cause, yet, you end up with boxes of cookies staring you down from the pantry.

Guess what? It’s mind over matter. You do have more willpower than those cookies have sugar. We’re here to say that you can have your cookies, eat them too, stick to the resolution and make it through to the other side.

So here are our tips for making it through Girl Scout cookie season:

  • All things in moderation. This principle applies no matter which food you’re talking about. Don’t eat the cookies three times a day, or an entire sleeve or box in one sitting. If you follow the serving size and allow yourself this small treat occasionally (in addition to your already healthy, balanced diet), then there’s little to no harm.
  • Savor the flavor. Don’t stand over the open box and inhale. Instead, pull the serving of two, three or four cookies out. Put them on a plate. Sit down. Then take your time enjoying each bite.
  • Count the calories. The nutrition label is on the box for a reason – use it! Stick to the suggested serving size and figure in those calories to your daily count.
  • Order one box. A craving is typically satisfied within the first few bites, so rather than stockpile enough cookies to get you through fall, order a box of your favorite and enjoy them at a leisurely pace.
  • Share the love. If you just can’t risk the temptation, but want to support your neighborhood Girl Scout, then listen to yourself. Buy the cookies, just don’t take them home. Donate them to a senior center, ship them to the troops, take some to a shelter, or anyone else whose day could be brightened by a box of cookies.

The Girl Scouts of America use two bakeries to produce their cookies- Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers. Not only will the names on the boxes vary (Trefoils vs. Shortbread), but even the ingredients and nutrition facts can vary by bakery. And while Thin Mints reign as of the most popular cookies inside and out of the scouting world, with 160 calories/4 cookies, a communications consultant for the organization assures they’re constantly trying to meet the demand for healthier cookies.

A couple of these “healthier” flavors include:

  • Reduced-Fat Daisy Go Rounds, which are delivered in 100-calorie packages
  • Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, while without sugar, have 160 calories for the serving

It’s also important to note that since 2007 the Girl Scouts have included zero trans fat per serving in their cookies. However, some ingredient labels will show “partially hydrogenated oil,” which is a primary source of the unhealthy fat. FDA guidelines allow for “0g trans fat” to be shown on a label when the serving is less than 1g. In the case of the Girl Scouts, this is often a .5g serving of trans fat, so it need not be presented in the nutrition facts. So, if you have two, three or six servings of cookies in a sitting, be sure to do the math and realize you are ingesting trans fat in some cookies.

View this slideshow to learn more about Girl Scout Cookies nutrition facts.

View Girl Scout Cookies Nutrition Facts Slideshow

January 21st, 2010

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