are girl scout cookies healthy? - a natural mom review

Are Girl Scout Cookies Healthy? (2024) – Natural Mom Review

Current Girl Scout Cookie Flavors

  • Thin Mints
  • Samoas
  • Tagalongs
  • Do-Si-Dos
  • Trefoils
  • Adventurefuls
  • Lemon-Ups
  • Girl Scout S'mores
  • Toffee-Tastic

Overview of Girl Scout Cookie Ingredients

Girl Scout cookies have come a long way from what they used to be in the early 2000s.

They now pride themselves in having no:

  • NO High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  • NO Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs)
  • Zero Grams Trans Fat per Serving
  • RSPO Certified (Mass Balance) Palm Oil

Keeping those ingredients out of consumable items is always a major plus. But it doesn't mean there aren't other things to watch out for. Below is a dive into the ingredients list for each of the 2024 cookie list.

Trefoil Cookie Ingredients

Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamin mononitrate], vitamin B2 [riboflavin], folic acid), soybean and palm oil, sugar, contains 2% or less of brown sugar (sugar, molasses), sweetened condensed milk (milk, sugar), buttermilk, salt, natural and artificial flavors, baking soda, soy lecithin.

Thin Mint Cookie Ingredients

Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamin mononitrate], vitamin B2 [riboflavin], folic acid), sugar, vegetable oil (palm kernel, palm and soybean oil), cocoa, caramel color, contains 2% or less of cocoa processed with alkali, invert sugar, leavening (baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), cornstarch, salt, sorbitan tristearate, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavors, oil of peppermint.

Samoas Cookie Ingredients

Sugar, vegetable oil (palm kernel, palm and soybean oil), enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamin mononitrate], vitamin B2 [ riboflavin], folic acid), corn syrup, coconut, sweetened condensed milk (milk, sugar), contains 2% percent or less of sorbitol, cocoa, glycerin, invert sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, cornstarch, salt, caramel color, dextrose, natural and artificial flavors, soy lecithin, sorbitan tristearate, leavening (baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), carrageenan.

Tagalong Cookie Ingredients

Peanut butter (peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated palm oil, salt), sugar, enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamin mononitrate], vitamin B2 [riboflavin], folic acid), vegetable oil (palm kernel, palm and soybean oil), cocoa, contains 2% or less of invert sugar, cornstarch, salt, sorbitan tristearate, soy lecithin, leavening (baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), natural and artificial flavors, whey, partially defatted peanut flour.

Do-Si-Dos Cookie Ingredients

Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamin mononitrate], vitamin B2 [riboflavin], folic acid), sugar, whole grain oats, soybean and palm oil, peanut butter (peanuts, hydrogenated palm oil), dextrose, invert sugar, contains 2% or less of whey, salt, leavening (baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), cornstarch, natural flavors, soy lecithin.

Adventureful Cookie Ingredients

Sugar, Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Vitamin B1 [Thiamin Mononitrate], Vitamin B2 [Riboflavin], Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil (Soybean, Palm and Palm Kernel), Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Semisweet Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract), Contains 2% or less of Cocoa, Nonfat Milk, Milk, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Baking Soda, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Paprika Extract (Color).

Lemon-Ups Cookie Ingredients

Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamin mononitrate], vitamin B2 [riboflavin], folic acid), sugar, soybean and palm oil, contains 2% or less of natural flavors, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate), annatto extract color, soy lecithin, citric acid, whey protein concentrate, propylene glycol alginate, fructose, malic acid.

Girl Scout S'Mores Cookie Ingredients

Graham flour, sugar, palm oil, wheat flour, cane sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, contains 2% or less of invert sugar, chocolate, molasses, salt, natural flavors, baking soda, cocoa processed with alkali, soy lecithin, whey.

Toffee-Tastic Cookie Ingredients

Rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, butter (cream, salt), palm oil, brown rice flour, butter toffee bits (sugar, butter [cream, salt], corn syrup, soy lecithin, salt), invert sugar, contains 2% or less of salt, soy lecithin, xanthan gum, baking soda.

Natural Mom Review: Are Girl Scout Cookies Healthy?

In a sense, they're a lot better than they used to be. I'm grateful they've ditched HFCS and hydrogenated oils, and happy to hear they're using sustainable palm oil.

However, as a natural-minded mom, there are a few ingredients listed above that I don't appreciate.

Problematic Ingredients in Girl Scout Cookies

  • Artificial Flavors – this is, in my opinion, the number one cringe-worthy ingredient on any list. It is essentially a blanket for “whatever we don't want you to see.”
  • Carrageenan– known to cause inflammation, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, glucose intolerance, colon cancer, and food allergies
  • * Carmel Color – this one is controversial because California says it can cause cancer, along with some independent reports. However, the FDA disagrees with those claims. Ultimately, it is another source of sugar, often created synthetically.
  • Sugar – known to cause weight gain, heart disease, metabolic problems, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, and inflammation. ** If you have heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, pulmonary edema, low potassium levels, a corn allergy, or swelling in your arms, legs, or feet, then you should avoid anything with added sugar (or hidden ingredients)

Plus, we don't know what is in their “natural flavorings,” which could also contain more sugar or other hidden ingredients. There really could be more transparency here.

So. Much. Sugar.

My number one issue with Girl Scout Cookies is the sheer amount of sugar. Most of their cookies have two or more sources of sugar, and some indicate there is more sugar than anything else in their recipe.

  • Carmel Color
  • Dextrose
  • Invert Sugar
  • Fructose
  • Molasses
  • Peanut Butter (which contains added sugar or other sweetener)
  • Sugar

Why is this much sugar an issue?

You run a high risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease as well as other health problems like insulin resistance, high cholesterol levels, increased uric acid (may increase blood pressure), trigger symptoms of gout, leptin resistance (causes overeating and weight gain), irritable bowel syndrome, chronic inflammation, nausea, bloating, gas, stomach pain, and decreased ability to manage physical effects of stress.

What About Soy Lecithin?

The way soy lecithin is processed takes most of the soy protein out of it, almost undetectable for those with allergies. So unless you have a soy allergy, this ingredient is generally considered ok.

Girl Scout Cookies Still Use GMOs

Although, if you're sensitive to GMO ingredients (or wish to avoid them), you may want to skip these seasonal cookies.

Here's what the Girl Scouts has to say about GMOs:

Currently, there are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the Girl Scout Cookies baked by Little Brownie Bakers. We recognize that many people have concerns regarding GMO ingredients, and we continue to monitor industry trends, scientific findings and consumer preferences.

It is important to note that there is worldwide scientific support for the safety of currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified agricultural crops. The World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, U.S. National Academy of Sciences and American Medical Association all share this assessment. In addition, in the future, GMO crops may offer cost-effective alternatives to feeding the world’s growing population and hold the potential for helping to meet our long-term food needs more sustainably. 

For my family, although we would love to purchase cookies to support family members in the Girl Scouts, we will be skipping actual cookie purchases because our bodies don't handle the ingredients well.

Whether or not you make the purchase should depend on how well you know your body.

If you have an MTHFR gene mutation or experience severe inflammation flares when eating folic acid, sugar, wheat, soy, or synthetic additives, you would benefit from baking your own or supporting a local cottage baker.

The Verdict: Are Girl Scout Cookies Healthy?

In a sense, no. But they aren't the worst thing you can eat either. There are many options at nearly all grocery stores that are far worse.

The biggest question is what is your definition of healthy?

I (as someone who has extensively studied functional nutrition, naturopathy, and herbalism, along with healing my own chronic health crisis) believe “healthy” comes down to having only [non-GMO] whole food ingredients without added processed sugar. The less processing, the better. By that standard, no, Girl Scout cookies really aren't healthy.

However, you need to decide what “healthy” looks like to you and your family.

If eating mostly healthy with a few sugary treats is acceptable, then I don't fault you for indulging, and I hope you enjoy every bite! It's no secret that Girl Scout cookies are delicious!

Healthier Alternatives to Girl Scout Cookies

If you're looking for some healthy alternatives to Girl Scout Cookies, you won't be disappointed by these homemade recipe options:

Oatmeal Cookies with Peanut Butter Filling are an easy Girl Scout Do-Si-Do copycat recipe.

These copycat gluten-free Thin Mints are a delicious gluten-free version of our favorite Girl Scout cookies! They do have a tiny amount of sugar and are dairy-free too!

Samoas cookie bar recipe makes a great Girl Scouts Samoas copycat recipe. As mentioned above, you can swap out the sugar in the recipe for a healthier sugar alternative, like maple sugar or coconut sugar.

Girl Scout Lemon cookie copycat recipe isn't free from gluten or sugar, but you have more options available to swap out ingredients as you need. For example, I use sourdough starter instead of wheat and homemade maple sugar instead of sugar.

Do you have a favorite copycat Girl Scout cookie recipe you want to see featured? Leave a comment below or contact us.


This article was originally published on and syndicated by Motherhood Truth

Author: Nicole Graber

Title: Writer, Editor, Coach

Expertise: Natural Wellness, Healthy Lifestyle, Home Business Strategy, Motherhood

Bio:

Nicole is a military-trained research analyst, homeschooling mom, healthy lifestyle coach, flexible business consultant, and writer for MotherhoodTruth.com and GracefullyAbundant.com, with bylines from MSN.com and the AP Newswire. After living through and overcoming a season of homelessness and chronic health, Nicole developed a passion for helping others develop healthier habits using functional nutrition, herbalism, and renewing faith.

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