You Guys, Girl Scout Cookies Really Do Suck (But You Can Still Offer Support)

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You Guys, Girl Scout Cookies Really Do Suck (But You Can Still Offer Support)

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As sure as spring flowers and butterflies arrive each year comes the siren call of Girl Scout cookies.

Most of us have bought them for years, nay decades, and many of us also sold them as little girls.

I did. I joined Girl Scouts because of the cookies – I thought we would get to bake them, too. My sweet tooth emerged early in life. But these days, I keep boxes of cookies and other sugary treats out of my house lest my sweet tooth commandeer my brain. I had managed to avoid buying the cookies for years until one fateful Saturday afternoon when I heard a small knock at my front door.

Would You Like to Buy Some Cookies?

Two adorable Girl Scouts wearing patch-covered vests stood beside a little red wagon piled high with boxes of cookies. One had a sprinkle of freckles on her nose and the other, a snaggletooth smile. Much like their sweet treats themselves, the Girl Scouts were impossible to resist. I bought two boxes for $4 each: Thin Mints and Samoas.

Back inside, I ripped into the package of Thin Mints like a fiend and crammed one in my mouth. Hmm. It didn’t taste nearly as good as I remembered. I tried the Samoas next – and they too fell short of expectations. Crumbly, dry, and a little bit waxy.

The Chocolatey Truth

istock/MarkCoffeyPhoto

istock/MarkCoffeyPhoto

Then I noticed the tell-tale text on the boxes: “CHOCOLATEY” coating. Not chocolate. When a product describes itself as “chocolatey” instead of chocolate, that’s because the seller can’t legally say chocolate. The FDA regulates the use of the word chocolate, and a product labeled as such must have a certain percentage of ingredients that come from the cocoa bean.

“Chocolatey” means that it’s fake chocolate. Products that are “chocolatey” replace real chocolate with products like sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (including palm oil), and high fructose corn syrup – and that’s just what I found on the ingredient list on the Girl Scout cookies.

To be fair, the Girl Scouts have recently upgraded the nutritional profile of their cookie onslaught. Gluten-free cookies have been introduced, and the recipe for Thin Mints went vegan a couple of years ago. And if you’re expecting any type of cookie to be a health food, you’re crunching in the wrong direction.

With rising food costs and stagnant incomes, have the Girl Scouts sacrificed the quality of their cookies? It seems so. These cookies sucked.

To Buy or Not to Buy?

Which leads to a heart-wrenching conundrum: do you buy the unhealthy, not-very-delicious Girl Scout cookies or do you deny the young entrepreneurs with the freckles and snaggletooth smiles?

Answer: Neither. Skip the cookies and instead make a monetary donation directly to the organization. Still want to support the girls’ efforts? Buy several boxes and donate them to your local food bank, helping two charities at once.

Or best of all, volunteer. Girl Scouts is an exceptional organization that helps girls to build confidence, discover their strengths, and pursue their passions. They need leaders like you to help guide their mission to make the world a better place. And what better way to influence a healthier direction for Girl Scout cookies than to get involved? Learn more about volunteering with the Girl Scouts, and be the change that you wish to see in the world.

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