It’s that time of the year again…no, I am not talking about losing an hour of sleep this Sunday, or Spring Break, but Girl Scout cookie time! In the past years, I have successfully avoided the sweet girls who sell these tempting treats, but not this year. Now, I have 11 new nieces and nephews, just waiting to hit up the latest addition to their family. How could I say no? My favorite girl scout cookies are theSamoas.  I love this caramel, toasted coconut, and chocolate striped cookie. Deee-lish. After doing some research for this blog, I found out that Girl Scout cookies are made by two different bakers, which both make similar renditions of the traditional cookies. The first company, “Little Brownie Bakers” is actually not so little and is one of the largest cookie companies, Keebler, owned by Kellogg’s. Depending on where you live, you might call your Samoa cookie a ” Caramel deLite .” The Caramel deLite is the samoa’s twin with a slight difference in its nutritional profile and is made ABC Bakers owned by Interbake Foods. Every year, the two bakers try out at least one new type of cookie on us. If they’re big sellers, you will see them again, (aka- the thin mint). Otherwise, they end up on the retirement list, like the Lemon Coolers (a light, lemony flavored cookie dusted with powdered sugar) or the Ole Ole (which was a wedding style type of cookie, light and flaky, dusted with pecans and coconut) did. This year the new addition (seen below) is the “dulce de leche”  Believe it or not, the Girl Scouts may be looking out for our health. Introduce the Girl Scout “lighter” cookies! (In my opinion, it won’t be a big surprise if we don’t see them on the order sheet next year). The reduced-fat “daisy go round s” come in 100 calorie “snack packs” and have only 2 grams of fat, 1 gram saturated fat, and 8 grams of sugar. Compared to one serving of my “2” samoas, they are quite a bit lighter. The samoas contain the highest amount of fat at 8 grams and 6 whopping grams of saturated fat. Darn my taste buds.  The sugar-free chocolate chip cookies contain 0 grams of sugar and 7 grams sugar alcohols (sugar alcohols are only partially digested by our bodies). Although low in sugar, they are still fairly high in fat, with 9 grams of fat in 3 cookies. Not to be the cookie monster, but I am not a fan of their taste or consistency and feel they are a poor representation of the classic chocolate chip cookie. As an additional health benefit , since 2007, the Girl Scout cookies have contained “0” grams of trans fats. Keep in mind, a company can claim “0 grams of trans fats” if the product contains 0.5g or less per serving . Many of the cookies have partially hydrogenated oils in the list of ingredients which are trans fats. Like me, you probabaly never eat more than one serving… However, if “partially hydrogenated oils” is listed in the first 4 ingredients, and you eat more than one serving, you will likely get close to taking in one or more grams of these bad guys. Speaking of more than one serving…remember to enjoy your cookie eating experience. Savor every bite, “in-tune” while you eat. Sometimes changing the tempeature (freezing the cookies) or eating one of each type of texture of cookie (say samoa and thin mint) can help create awareness while you eat. In addition, just like you don’t grocery shop hungry, don’t open up a new sleeve a cookies hungry. Eat them after a meal and you will be more likely to enjoy them without the post cookie guilt!

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.