I recently found a 1944 copy of a Girl Scout Handbook, and what an interesting journey it was to another time that seems worlds away from the one I live in. There’s a lot of focus on developing skills to be a happy homemaker; while my understanding of a modern Girl Scout Handbook invokes a woman who is independent and an equal partner in business, sport, and life.
Young Ethel of Elizabeth, New Jersey owned the near-perfect copy I found, its aged pages revealing she was a member of troop 39. The rest of the book revealed some health and nutrition advice that I found down-right comical. I was unable to get my hands on a current Handbook, but I have to believe the recommendations for fried food, butter, and thousands of calories a day have changed just a little.
Hey! Where are the Cookies?
Cookie sales first began in 1917 in Oklahoma and by 1936 they’d licensed their first commercial baker. But alas this book, printed in 1944, makes no mention of cookies – neither as a fundraiser or even a recipe. However, Wikipedia notes that around this time, 1943, the Girl Scouts sold fat in cans to support the war efforts.
“You probably need between 2,200 and 3,000 calories a day. A grown woman who does little active work needs only half of what you do, while a husky football player probably needs twice as much.” Read Full Post >
Last month, we vocalized our distaste for Girl Scout Cookies in a highly read article, Why You Should Never Buy Girl Scout Cookies. It’s not that we don’t like the troops, many of us worked hard for those same badges. What we don’t like is the message these cookies send, the ingredients they’re stuffed with, and missed opportunity to do something so much more with these young minds.
When we were tipped off to what Girl Scout Troop 2753 is doing in California, we were thrilled. Why isn’t every troop doing this, we wondered.
One of the troop’s members, Alicia, dons her Daisy uniform and says, “My Girl Scout troop is not selling cookies but we are raising money for our fruit and vegetable garden at our school.” Read Full Post >
If you haven’t noticed, The Girl Scouts have hit the streets with their cookies this month. They’ve opted for a throwback twist this year as many girls are pulling wagons with cookies ready to deliver on the spot. It may become their biggest sales year yet. Cookies on demand, at your door? Pretty tough to say no to a Thin Mint when it’s literally in your face. Unless of course, you’ve been reading more about what’s actually in those cookies. That may scare you off of Carmel Delights for life.
But, what about the girls’ counterparts? The Boy Scouts sell popcorn every fall. Is their product any better? They are, after all, selling corn, the biggest genetically modified (GM) crop in this country. And the law states no one has to label whether or not a product contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs). And if you search a package of Boy Scout Popcorn, the Trails End Brand, you’ll see no mention of GMOs on the labels. Are our girls getting an unfair rap? Are the boys being just as irresponsible with what they’re selling to the public?
It appears not, at least on the GMO front. Elizabeth Weaver works with Weaver Popcorn Company, Inc. They are the distributor and producer of Trails End Popcorn, the exclusive Boy Scout brand. Weaver explained what’s in the popcorn and why the packages do not indicate that the snack is GMO free. Read Full Post >
Settled in to these resolutions yet? Then it must be time for Girl Scout Cookies to go on sale. I used to think there was something spectacularly special about them. Our dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD, reminds that they may be a sentimental favorite, but they are not healthy food. In fact, there’s nothing remarkable about these cookies.
Never once in my years in the Scouts do I recall having a conversation about fruits and vegetables, exercise, or nutrition. I do remember ending each meeting (spent entirely sitting down) devouring packaged chocolate chip cookies and Kool-Aid. I remember my troop leaders pushing us to sell, not teaching us the ingredients in the cookies or why the nutrition mattered. I might be guessing here, but I don’t expect that’s changed much today.
To be more specific, let me tell you exactly why any of us shouldn’t be buying these cookies.
1. GMOs. Most brands try to cover it up, but the Girl Scouts own their use of GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. You’d almost think they were proud of putting engineered food in products they’re making our children sell by the language on their site, GirlScouts.org. They slide the responsibility on to their bakers, saying it’s their call what they use. Some of the reasons to avoid GMOs, since the US doesn’t require labeling while 61 countries do, include a link to allergens and altered DNA of the food.
2. Consistency. Two bakeries produce Girl Scout Cookies – ABC and Little Brownie. They have different recipes, ingredients and nutrition facts for each cookie. That makes for a whopping 20 calorie difference between a Samoa from Little Brownie and a Caramel Delight at ABC. Read Full Post >
The Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts teach children a lot of noble life lessons, but unfortunately their practice of using high-calorie snacks for fundraiser no longer seems noble in a nation facing an unprecedented childhood obesity crisis. It’s easy to pick apart the Girl Scout cookies for their inherently high levels of sugar and fat, but a closer look at the Trail’s End snacks sold to support the Boy Scouts shows they are little better.
On the FAQ page of the Trail’s End website, there is a discussion of the health benefits of popcorn, which is a whole grain. However, the amount of added sodium, sugar and fat in the Trail’s End products pretty much negate this one healthy aspect. For example, the ingredients list on the Classic Carmel Corn reveals that three forms of sugar precede the actual popcorn. Also of concern are the artificial flavors and colors found in a number of these products. The nuts found in the trail mix may offer some real nutrients as a snack, but again the 10 grams of sugar show’s there’s an awful lot of candy.
Below is a quick look at some of the most popular Girl Scout Cookies and Trail’s End Snacks.