The Healthiest Girl Scout Cookies (and How to Buy Them Online)
The Girl Scouts of America announced today that you'll be able to order cookies online starting December 12. Here's how the 5 most popular kinds stack up in terms of calories, fat, and more.
Whether you get yours from a coworker, a neighbor, or your own child, Girl Scout cookie time is always an event.
And now that event is getting even easier, thanks to Digital Cookie, the Girl Scouts of America’s new program that will allow some of its tiny salespeople to sell online, beginning December 12.
Some of the girls will have personalized cookie-selling web sites and they'll invite you via e-mail. Others will still take your order in person, but will use a mobile app. (If you don't have a Girl Scout in your life and want cookies, there's an app for you, too: search for Girl Scout Cookie Finder on iTunes or Google Play.)
“Digital Cookie helps take the five essential skills girls learn through the traditional cookie program to a whole new level—introducing critical lessons about online marketing, application use, and ecommerce to more than one million excited Girl Scouts, in real-time,” the organization said on its site.
Of course, though the process of selling the cookies may be healthy for the girls, and buying them may give you some of the benefits of helping others, eating the cookies is another story. If the temptation is too much, you can always donate your cookies to your local troop’s charity of choice.
If you're going to take them home, here’s the lowdown on which of the 5 most popular flavors are the best choices. (Note: Cookies with two names are similar, but made by different bakers, so they may have slightly different ingredients and nutrition profiles.)
This is the top seller, making up 25% of sales in 2011-2012, according to the Girl Scouts of America. The good news: Four cookies have 160 calories and 7g fat, which isn’t terrible for a sweet snack. The bad news: They’re made with some less-than-desirable ingredients, including vegetable shortening (which contains partially hydrogenated fats), caramel color and high fructose corn syrup. But they are vegan, if that’s a consideration for you.
This coconut-y treat came in second with 19% of sales. With Samoas, 2 cookies weigh in at 140 calories and 8g fat. For Caramel deLites, the same 2 have 130 calories and 6g fat. Caramel deLites have vegetable shortening and high-fructose corn syrup, and Samoas have partially hydrogenated oil and carrageenan, which has been linked to glucose intolerance and inflammation.
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Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalongs
Love peanut butter? (Us too!) You’re not alone; these accounted for 13% of sales. Peanut Butter Patties (also vegan) clock in at 130 calories and 7g fat for 2, while Tagalongs (not vegan, go figure) have 140 calories and 9g fat for 2. The former is made with vegetable shortening and the latter with partially hydrogenated oils.
Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos
And here’s more peanut butter, bringing in 11% of sales. For each of these, 3 cookies is the serving size. The Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies have 160 calories and 6g fat; the Do-si-dos are nearly the same, just 1 more gram of fat. Ingredient-wise, the Do-si-dos notably don’t have hydrogenated oils or other undesirables, but the Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies do.
At 9% of sales, these cookies bring up the rear among the top sellers—but give them another look. You get 4 Shortbread or 5 Trefoils for 120 calories and 4.5g fat and 160 calories and 7g fat, respectively. Plus, no questionable ingredients in either one.
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