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Top Tips About Girl Scout Cookies and Nutrition

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When Girl Scout Cookie season comes around, you may be wondering which ones taste best and are the best for you. Cookies are a sweet and delicious treat. I’ll tell you more about what is in Girl Scout Cookies, but none are super healthy…all things in moderation, right?
Here in the Mid-Atlantic States, it starts the Thursday before Dr. Martin Luther King Day…. which is also about the coldest part of the year! Here are my nutrition tips for Girl Scout Cookies, with updates for 2022. This year I think there will be regular booths and also some drive-thru booths.

boxes of girl scout cookies
ABC Girl Scout Cookies from 2021

What is the New Cookie for 2022?

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The new cookie for this year is Adventurefuls®. They are described as a brownie filled with caramel creme and sea salt – yum! I think they are delicious! Excellent chocolate flavor, a little crunch, and a creamy filling. Definitely my favorite of the new cookies introduced in the last 11 years!

Two Adventurefuls contain 130 calories, 6 grams of total fat (4.5 of which are saturated fat), and 11 grams of added sugars. They are not vegan.

What Was Last Year’s New Cookie?

The new cookie for last year was the Toast-Yay!® This cookie has a French toast flavor with a cinnamon cookie dipped in vanilla icing, and they are vegan. They kind of tasted like the cinnamon cookie in the now-retired S’Mores®.

Box of Toast-Yay Girl Scout cookies.

The Thanks-A-Lot® cookie, which was shortbread dipped chocolate on the back and had “Thank You” in several different languages, was been discontinued.

People love these tasty cookies! Are you picking up that I am a proud Girl Scout parent?

Here are some things about Girl Scout Cookies I would like to share with you:

Wonderful Things About Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts offers a wide variety of activities, experiences, and badges to earn. There is a newer focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) as well as many individual skills, teamwork, and community service projects. Here is some information about how the proceeds are used.

Besides the support at the troop level for activities, I have seen some pretty amazing programs to help girls become their best selves. Our local program was seeking out paid troop leaders for girls whose moms are incarcerated. That really touched my heart.

And did you know how Girl Scouts promote leadership skills? I have seen the girls teach first aid skills to younger scouts when they were in third grade, and lead a cookie rally complete with crafts, activity stations, and a cookie dance in fifth grade! I can definitely see how 58% of the women elected to Congress in 2018 were Girl Scouts, according to this Forbes article. And they are offering a special program to meet online with Vice President Kamala Harris this year on President’s Day!

What is the Best Thing to Drink with Girl Scout Cookies?

Plant-based milk goes great with these cookies. I suggest vanilla soy milk. There are all kinds of wine and beer pairings people suggest with Girl Scout cookies too! Or enjoy with my Chocolate Mocha Nice Cream.

Nutrition Facts: Saturated Fats

First, check the serving size. Let’s look at Thin Mints®, since they are the most popular flavor. The serving size is 4 cookies. Now that the Nutrition Facts labels have been updated, it is easy to see the calories per serving, which are 160.

thin mints nutrition facts
Thin Mints

The next thing to look at is the fat. You will see there are 5 grams of saturated fat. If you look at the Daily Values column on the right side of the label, this provides 25% of the maximum amount of saturated fat for people eating 2,000 calories a day.

Saturated fat is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 recommend no more than 10% of calories from saturated fat.

Are There Trans Fats in Thin Mints?

The next type of fat to look at is trans fat. And the answer is maybe, for now.

While the Nutrition Facts panel has 0 gm. of trans fat, let’s dig a little deeper into the ingredient list for ABC Bakers. There you will find that shortening is the third ingredient. In this case, palm and palm kernel oils are chemically processed by the addition of hydrogen ions to create a solid fat, which can create desirable characteristics in the cookie and is more shelf-stable.

Shortening may contain trans fats, but it is difficult to tell because any amount less than 0.5 grams per serving doesn’t need to be listed. This sounds like very little, right? But trans fats both increase the bad LDL cholesterol in the blood and lower the protective HDL cholesterol in the blood.

Our diets should contain less than 1% of calories from trans fats, which is just 2 grams per day.

On a positive note, Little Brownie Bakers (one of the two companies which make Girl Scout cookies) report that they no longer use trans fats in their cookies.

How Much Added Sugars Are in Thin Mints?

Next, let’s check the Total Sugars. You’ll see that all 10 gm. are added sugars. With 10 gm, that is 20% of the recommended limit for a 2,000 calorie diet.

How about health-promoting nutrients? Well, fiber is < 1 gm. Protein is just a gram. There is no vitamin D, calcium, or potassium. There’s 8% of the Daily Value for iron from the enriched flour.

So, we have learned this flavor of Girl Scout cookies isn’t a nutrient-dense choice. We will look at different varieties soon. Even if a food isn’t healthy, can it be part of a healthy diet? Yes, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 has a greater focus on healthy dietary patterns like vegetarian and Mediterranean than specific foods that are “good” or “bad”.

Common Questions about Girl Scout Cookies

Here are some questions people often ask us about the cookies at cookie booths.

Q: Are there gluten-free Girl Scout Cookies?

A: Yes. ABC Bakers offers Caramel Chocolate Chip® gluten-free cookies, certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization. Little Brownie Bakers has Toffee-tastic® gluten-free cookies, certified by the National Sanitation Foundation. The cookies your local Girl Scouts sell will depend on your region.

Q: Which Girl Scout Cookies are vegan?

A: From ABC Bakers: Thin Mints®, Lemonades®, Peanut Butter Patties®, and Toast-Yay®. However, from Little Brownie Bakers, only Thin Mints® are vegan. So, check your labels carefully.

Q: Which Girl Scout cookies have the least sugar?

A: Shortbread® cookies (from ABC) have 6 grams of added sugar per serving, which is the least.

Q: Which cookies have the least saturated fat?

A: Peanut Butter Sandwiches® (from ABC) have only 2 grams of saturated fat per 3 cookies serving. The rest is unsaturated fat, perhaps with a small amount of trans fat from shortening

Q: Are Girl Scout Cookies Kosher?

A: Yes. They are certified Kosher. Only the vegan flavors are Pareve.

Q: Are Girl Scout Cookies Halal?

A: Only Little Brownie Bakers’ cookies are certified halal by the Islamic Food & Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA).

Q: Are Girl Scout Cookies peanut allergy safe?

A: No. There are warning labels about being processed in facilities that process peanuts (and two flavors contain peanut butter).

Q: Which is your favorite cookie?

A: Peanut Butter Patties®!

Where Can You Find Girl Scout Cookies?

Ask around: neighbors, co-workers, or teachers probably know a Girl Scout. Or try the Digital Cookie program: many councils are participating. This year there are some supply chain issues and there have been weather-related transportation issues. it may be a good time to try a new flavor if your favorite isn’t available,

Here is a Healthy Thin Mint Shake from Tara Rochford, registered dietitian.

Check out my 15 Healthy Vegan Desserts for the holidays!

How Can You Support Girl Scouts?

If you don’t want to buy cookies, here are some more ways you can help?

  1. Donate cookies to “Hometown Heroes”. You can buy boxes of cookies to be given to local heroes, like first responders, 911 dispatchers, veterans, active duty military troops, etc.
  2. Pay it Forward: Pay for a box of cookies for the scouts to give to the next customer. This creates a positive mood at a cookie booth because often more customers will participate and is a lot of fun for everyone.
  3. Donate a small amount to the Girl Scout Troop or Council. Even a dollar is very much appreciated, and is a little more than the troop earns per box.
  4. Become a volunteer!

This post is not sponsored by Girl Scouts, and all opinions are my own. The cookie flavors noted are registered trademarks.

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Originally published 1/20/2020. Updated 1/16/2022

Which Girl Scout Cookies are your favorite? Please let me know in the comments below:

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