Photo (cc) by Brian Legate
It’s that time of year again – Girl Scout cookie season. Just in time to spoil your new year’s resolutions! But if you’re looking for justification, consider they only come around once a year and support a good cause.
Plus, you can (kinda) stick to your diet by choosing the cookies that will cause the least damage. To help, we’ve analyzed the 2013 cookies and created the handy reference guide below.
By the numbers
Different types of Girl Scout Cookies are sold in different parts of the country because they come from two licensed manufacturers: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. That’s why, with the exception of Thin Mints, some cookies have different names in different areas (Samoas vs. Caramel deLites, for example), and other cookies just aren’t available nationwide.
Here are the winners and losers from each baker…
Based on calories:
- Best: ABC’s Shortbread (60), LBB’s Savannah Smiles (56)
- Worst: ABC’s Caramel deLites (150), ABC’s Thanks-A-Lot (150), LBB’s Samoas (150)
Based on total fat:
- Best: ABC’s Shortbread (2 grams), LBB’s Savannah Smiles (2 grams)
- Worst: ABC’s Caramel deLites (8 grams), LBB’s Tagalongs (9 grams)
Based on sodium:
- Best: ABC’s Shortbread (53 mg), LBB’s Dulce de Leche (53 mg)
- Worst: ABC’s Thanks-A-Lot (110 mg), LBB’s Tagalongs (95 mg)
Based on carbs:
- Best: ABC’s Shortbread (10 grams), LBB’s Trefoils (9 grams), LBB’s Savannah Smiles (9 grams)
- Worst: ABC’s Lemonades (22 grams), ABC’s Thanks-A-Lot (22 grams), LBB’s Samoas (18 grams)
Based on sugar:
- Best: ABC’s Shortbread (2 grams), LBB’s Trefoils (3 grams)
- Worst: ABC’s Caramel deLites (11 grams), ABC’s Thanks-A-Lot (11 grams), LBB’s Samoas (11 grams)
About our numbers
- Serving size: The serving size stated on the box varies from two to five cookies, depending on the cookie type. To make comparison easier, we did the math based on a two-cookie serving size (although some cookies are bigger than others). We also rounded off.
- Trans fat: FDA rules for Nutrition Fact labels allow manufacturers to claim a food has “0g” of trans fat even if it contains up to half a gram, so we based the cookies’ trans fat content on the ingredient list (check out Trans Fat: When Cheap Means Costly to learn why experts say you shouldn’t consume any of this fat). FDA rules also allow manufacturers to be vague in the ingredient list about whether a food contains trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated oils. For example, a label might read “palm oil and/or partially hydrogenated palm oil.” When the baker resorted to this trick, we assumed the cookie contained trans fat.