What is the healthiest Girl Scout cookie? Dietitians share their favorites

It’s officially that time of year: Girl Scout cookie season. Sold by young members of the organization, Girl Scout cookies have been around for over 100 years. Profits from sales stay local and fund troop adventures like camps, museum visits and more.

Once you get your hands on a coveted box, you may be tempted to eat an entire box of cookies in one sitting. But nutrition experts say there’s a healthier way to approach this dessert.

Nicole Rodriguez, registered dietitian and Girl Scout troop leader, says you shouldn’t miss out on the cookies that are truly your favorite. Cara Harbstreet, registered dietitian and owner of Street Smart Nutrition, feels the same way, noting that Girl Scout cookies are familiar, so give yourself permission to look forward to eating them.

As with many treats, portion control is the name of the game when it comes to Girl Scout cookies, (and) no one feels good after mindlessly scarfing down a whole sleeve, Rodriguez says. She suggests freezing half the box and dividing the remaining cookies into 2 individual cookie servings in snack bags. These servings offer a prime opportunity to carefully savor the flavor, texture and aroma of your favorite cookie, he says.

Just because you’re eating something with added sugar doesn’t mean your entire diet has been derailed, says Harbstreet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 50 grams (or less) of added sugar per day. That allows plenty of room to enjoy an occasional cookie or two, Harbstreet says.

Since both dietitians agree that you shouldn’t deprive yourself of a cookie, here are the ones they say have the most nutritional benefits.

Tagalongs (peanut butter patties)

Although no one is likely to eat Girl Scout cookies because of the protein or fiber content, these have a bit more than other types with 3 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber per serving (2 cookies), says Harbstreet. Tagalongs rank high for their satisfaction factor; This chocolate-covered peanut butter cake with crunchy cookies is the most diverse in texture, which makes it easier to stick to your allotted portion size, Rodriguez says.

Toffee-tastic

These cookies include crunchy toffee bits, which make them deliciously sweet, even with less added sugar than other Girl Scout cookie varieties, Harbstreet says. Plus, they’re made with rice flour, so they’re gluten-free for those who need to avoid gluten in their diet. Rodr√≠guez adds that they are relatively low in added sugar, with 7 grams per serving of two cookies.

Lemonades

If chocolate isn’t your thing, you might prefer these lightly frosted shortbread cookies with lemon flavor. They’re one of several vegan options and have a slightly lower fat content per serving than other cookies, Harbstreet says.

Toast-Ja!

The toast-shaped cookies taste like delicious French toast covered in syrup. A sweet cookie covered in light frosting, this cookie surprisingly has less added sugar than some of the other options, with 10 grams per two cookies.

shamrocks

Relatively low in saturated fat and offering the most cookies per serving, Trefoils are one of my top picks, Rodriguez says. These signature cookies are one of the only options that have 4 cookies per serving size. They are also the lowest in added sugar at 5 grams per serving.

Do-if-two

These hefty little sandwich cookies offer 2.5g of monounsaturated (good) fat per serving, Rodriguez says. And one serving is three cookies, with 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of protein, two nutrients that can help fill you up.

thin minds

A serving size of Thin Mints is 4 cookies, which is good for anyone who likes to snack on a couple of cookies. These Chocolate Mint Crunchy Cookies have 160 calories per 4 cookies, which is nutritionally similar to just 2 of the other cookie varieties.


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