Girl Scout cookies are back, and to celebrate their 100th anniversary, they released a new flavor, “Savannah Smiles.” The crumbly lemon cookies are meant to capture the spirit of Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon Low‘s hometown. But the cookies contain more than Southern charm; they’re also full of fat, sugar and processed ingredients–all things that, coincidentally, have earned Georgia state the highest childhood obesity rate in the country. Obviously, the organization shouldn’t stop selling cookies, which accounted for $760 million in funding last year, but couldn’t they have used this as an opportunity to send a better message about nutrition and health to their little scouts?
The verdict is out on whether Savannah Smiles will be a hit with buyers, who typically salivate over Thin Mints and Samoas most. But their nutrition facts are in, and they’re no improvement from the rest. The new cookies contain 140 calories per serving with five grams of fat (and 1.5 grams of saturated fat), 23 grams of carbs and one gram of protein. They contain plenty of processed ingredients; white flour, white sugar, preservatives and the rest.
Of course, no cookie is really “healthy,” no matter which sweeteners or whole grain flours you use. But even so: The scouts could have chosen alternatives to white flour and processed white sugar for a special edition flavor, or issued a healthier snack to appeal to those who are trying to lower their intake of sugar.
I’m not saying that no one should enjoy their Thin Mints or Samoas; nor that the Girl Scouts are to blame for obesity at large. But as an organization build around teaching young girls important lessons, their newest development just seems like a lost opportunity to send a positive message about their health and that of everyone else.