The Best (and Worst) Girl Scout Cookies For You

Written by Cristina Powell, PN1, ME-3, CMS

Best (and Worst) Girl Scout Cookies for You

It’s that time of year…the time when you take down the “no soliciting” sign off your front door to allow Girl Scouts to ruin your diet with their delicious treats. The time when you can’t enter any store without dodging the chants from little girls at every entrance and exit, tugging at your heart (and purse) strings with those sweet little smiles begging you to buy their colorful boxes of indulgences.

I think the timing of the release of Girl Scout cookies is absolutely genius. The Girl Scouts don’t kick off cookie season during the holidays because everyone is busy baking homemade cookies and enjoying the festivities. And they don’t bring them out at the beginning of the New Year because of well…resolutions. Everyone is all about that “New Year, New Me” mentality, so they don’t want the temptation of cookies in their homes. Instead, the organization waits until a few weeks into the New Year when people have relaxed a little on their diets and feel like inhaling a few sleeves of Thin Mints won’t completely ruin their summer bodies. I will let you in on a little secret—Thin Mints don’t actually make you thin. You’re welcome. 😉

Luckily, these cookies are not available all year, so we can look at them as what they are—a limited-time special treat. But if you are still looking to be mindful of your healthy diet, I am here to break down the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to which Girl Scout cookies are best (and worst) for you.

The GOOD news is that Girl Scout cookies have no high fructose corn syrup, no partially hydrogenated oils, zero grams of trans fats, and are RSPO certified. They are also made right in the good ol’ USA at a little bakery in Kentucky.

The BAD news is that these cookies are a processed food that contains nutrient-sparse ingredients such as enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron), soybean and palm oil, sugar, brown sugar (sugar, molasses), dextrose, sweetened condensed milk (milk, sugar), buttermilk, salt, and natural and artificial flavors. You may have also noticed that the cookie size has gotten significantly smaller each year while the calories and serving size remains the same.

The Best (and Worst) Girl Scout Cookies For You

For our list today, we are going to break it down from best to worst…

1. Trefoil®

Trefoils Nutrition Facts

In terms of serving size, calories, and macros, your safest bet for “healthiest” cookie is the Trefoil®, aka shortbread. These have been a staple for the Girl Scouts since they began selling cookies in 1951. It is one of the three cookies that were offered then, in addition to the peanut butter sandwiches and mint wafers (aka Thin Mints).

It is crazy to think a cookie made primarily of butter would be the healthiest option, but that just goes to show you what we are dealing with here.

Trefoil Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 5 cookies

  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Carb: 21 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Protein: 2 g

2. Do-si-dos®

Do-si-dos Nutrition Facts

Next up are the peanut butter sandwiches, Do-si-dos®. As one of the original flavors, and being chockful of protein-rich peanut butter, it is no surprise these are a healthier option than some of the others. With two crispy oatmeal cookies surrounding a layer of creamy peanut butter, these only allow for three cookies per serving but have added one gram of protein over the Trefoils.

Do-si-dos Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 3 cookies

  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Carb: 22 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Protein: 3 g

3. Tagalongs®

Tagalongs Nutrition Facts

Our third healthiest cookie is the Tagalongs®, aka peanut butter patty. These are a vegan option, which contains the divine combination of peanut butter and chocolate along with a wafer cookie. Despite the serving size of these being only two cookies, the carb count in these is significantly dropped.

Tagalongs Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 2 cookies

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Carb: 13 g
  • Fiber: <1 g
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Protein: 3 g

4. Lemonades®

Lemonades Nutrition Facts

Lemonades® are probably my favorite cookie out of the bunch, and it may be controversial, but there is absolutely no lemon juice in these cookies. So how do they obtain that lemony flavor? Completely artificial flavoring, of course. These are a light shortbread cookie with a thin layer of lemon-flavored icing on one side and taste like a little slice of heaven.

Lemonades Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 2 cookies

  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Carb: 20 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Protein: 1 g

5. Thanks-A-Lot®

Thanks-a-Lot Nutrition Facts

Next in line are Thanks-A-Lot® cookies. Again, we start with a classic shortbread; however, these are covered on one side by a thin layer of chocolate fudge. The reason these are such a big seller is because the words “Thank you” are imprinted on one side. Depending on where you live, these come in five different languages. The Girl Scouts use this as a selling point for folks who say no thank you to buying cookies for themselves by suggesting they would make great gifts as they double as a “thank you” note in addition to a delicious treat. Nice move, Girl Scout Council.

Thanks-a-Lot Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 2 cookies

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Carb: 22 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Protein: 1 g

6. Thin Mints®

For those of you who have been waiting for Thin Mints® to appear on this list, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these minty delights are pretty far down on the list. And even though this is based on serving size, I am going to need a show of hands for who can stop at just four cookies… It’s more like a sleeve, amiright? Nobody is sure what makes these cookies one of the top sellers year after year, but they rank as the #1 seller again this year.

Thin Mints Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 4 cookies

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Carb: 22 g
  • Fiber: <1 g
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Protein: 1 g

7. Samoas®

A cookie that really has it all from a crispy wafer to coconut and caramel is the second from the bottom in terms of “health”: Samoas®, aka Caramel deLites®. These cookies are one of the most Googled cookie recipes, and despite folks being insistent on recreating the recipe, I don’t think anyone has come closer than my recipe.

Samoas Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: ~2 cookies

  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Carb: 18 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Protein: 1 g

8. Girl Scout S’mores

Last but not least are the Girl Scout S’mores. While these do include all of the elements of the S’more with a graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate, in my opinion, it would be nice to have a thicker layer of marshmallow. These are definitely not as messy to eat, but isn’t that part of the fun of S’mores? If I am going to indulge in these campfire treats, I think I would prefer the real thing.

Girl Scout S’mores Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 2 cookies

  • Calories: 190
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Carb: 26 g
  • Fiber: <1 g
  • Sugar: 16 g
  • Protein: 1 g

There have been a few additions and removals over the years as the Girl Scout organization tries to stay current with culinary trends, but it looks like the three original cookies are holding strong as the front runners in terms of sales.

Which is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?

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