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Guilt-free Girl Scout cookies

The Baltimore Sun

Girl Scout cookies may be coming to a coffee break, lunchbox or kitchen near you.

They're for a good cause, and they taste so good that some people have been known to make a whole box of them disappear in one day.

In moderation, Girl Scout cookies can fit into your food plan - and you can still fit into your clothes. If you ate a serving of the best-selling Thin Mints (four cookies) every day for a week, there would still be a few cookies left in the box.

But if those cookies never seem to last that long at your house, here are some tips that can help:

Don't eat them straight out of the box. It's too easy to lose track - or lose control - of how many you're eating that way, especially if you're watching TV or working on a computer while munching. Decide how many cookies you're going to eat, serve them on a plate and put the box out of sight.

Make a few small changes. Altering some little things in your diet can make room for some Girl Scout cookies. If you typically use 4 tablespoons of ranch dressing on a salad, use 2 tablespoons instead. That saves 150 calories and 16 fat grams - enough for two Caramel deLites, three Thin Mints or four Shortbread cookies.

If you usually drink 12 ounces of sugary soda, have water instead. That saves 150 calories, too. If you normally order large fries at McDonald's, get a small order instead. That saves 320 calories and 17 fat grams - enough for eight Thin Mints, four Peanut Butter Patties or four Lemonades.

Store the cookies in the freezer. That way, you can't eat them right away when a craving hits. But this stall tactic doesn't work as well with Thin Mints, because they even taste good frozen, darn it.

If you're looking for some more healthful options, here are seven ways to enjoy Girl Scout cookies and get some calcium or fruit at the same time - all for 200 calories or less.

Crumble a Thin Mint into a single-serving container of fat-free chocolate or vanilla pudding: 145 calories, 3 grams fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, no fiber, 276 milligrams sodium.

Top 1/2 cup of fat-free vanilla and chocolate frozen yogurt with one crushed Caramel deLite: 150 calories, 4 grams fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 108 milligrams sodium.

Cut a small banana into slices and top the slices with a crushed Shortbread cookie and a tablespoon of chocolate syrup: 176 calories, 4 grams fat, 41 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 99 milligrams sodium.

Break a Peanut Butter Patty into several pieces. Put it in a blender and blend with 1/2 cup fat-free frozen yogurt and a splash of fat-free milk: 182 calories, 5 grams fat, 1 gram fiber, 30 grams carbohydrate, 140 milligrams sodium.

Crumble two Shortbread cookies over 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries and top with 2 tablespoons of Cool Whip Lite: 107 calories, 5 grams fat, 3 grams fiber, 18 grams carbohydrate, 69 milligrams sodium.

Crumble a Lemonades cookie into a 6-ounce container of Yoplait light yogurt: 165 calories, 4 grams fat, no fiber, 27 grams carbohydrate, 110 milligrams sodium.

Have two Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies with 1 cup of fat-free milk: 200 calories, 4 grams fat, 1 gram fiber, 28 grams carbohydrate, 207 milligrams sodium.

Nutritional analyses provided by the Wichita Eagle.

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