Mar 29

The Girls are Back!

When my girls were younger we started the 80/20 rule – 80% of the time we eat clean, unprocessed foods. The other 20% of the time, they eat as they please. Translation? At home we eat CLEAN, and the rest of the time they make their own choices. Fortunately, 80% is usually enough to maintain good health. And more importantly, 80% is also enough to inform their tastes and choices the other 20% of the time. Let’s face it, NO mother likes to be the food police, and ultimately the goal is not to make a perfect meal at every turn, but rather to teach our children how to make healthy choices in general.

Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who brings food into the house – nor am I the only one answering the door when the Girl Scouts come knocking!

I’m all for supporting our children and the programs they care about, but isn’t it time to hold an organization with as much clout as Girls Scouts of the USA to a higher standard? These Samoas (which I found in my pantry when I returned from my travels) boast 10 grams of sugar in one serving of 2 cookies (as if anyone can eat just 2!), not to mention partially hydrogenated palm kernel and/or cottonseed oil, corn syrup, sorbitol, dextrose, invert sugar, 7 grams of fat, 140 calories… There’s not one ingredient that sounded like it came from the green kind of plant as opposed to the cement kind of plant!

As a mom, I often feel like “treats” are more the rule than the exception, and that is a definite challenge to my 80/20 rule! It’s even harder to tell your children that the box of cookies that supports Girl Scouts and shows their smiling faces can possibly be bad. But if not over Girl Scout cookies, then where should the line be drawn?

I am all too familiar with the challenge of teaching our children to make healthy choices, and the struggle of letting go and allowing them to make those choices for themselves. Has the time come for we parents to stop saying no to our children, and start saying no to Girl Scout cookies (and other makers of the junk food we call “treats”)? Isn’t our health more important than their bottom line? If we say no to Girl Scout cookies, will that vote send a strong enough message to create change? And if not, what will?

Eat clean live well!



  1. Posted March 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    So well said, Terry! I am not yet a mom, but I have thought hard about how I will handle my children’s eating when the day comes. I love CLEAN EATING! And I love the occasional treat too…but I agree with you that “treats” shouldn’t become the norm. (And there are plenty of healthy, whole treats available.) I have noticed how most parents bribe their kids with candy and sugar! There is another way!!! Another one that gets me is when parents spoon feed sugar to their babies. I love your 80/20 rule. I think it is very realistic!
    My husband was bombarded by the Girl Scouts at the grocery store and reluctantly bought a few boxes (he is trying to eat less sugar). I was secretly excited to sink my teeth into those sweet cookies, but then I read the ingredients label and opted out! Yuck! They actually didn’t even taste as good as they have in the past! Hooray!
    Thanks for all the work you do! You are an inspiration to me.

  2. Posted March 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    We love your new book. Anne is all about whole foods and getting to the source. Your recipes make it easier to do so. BTW, I agree with your comment about Girl Scout Cookies. I sleeve of thin mints goes down in about 2 seconds and they are hardly clean.
    Be well,

  3. Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Great to hear from you, Jay. So glad you’re both enjoying the new book and looking forward to seeing you in June! Wishing you and your family well!

  4. Posted March 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Hi Terry,
    I loved this post.

    When I passed the beautiful young entrepreneurs who had set up their first franchise outside the local Stop ‘N Shop, I handed them $5 in support of their all female organization and in support of women in business; but, I also said to the girls and their moms that I was making a choice for myself to eat in a healthier way.

    I don’t know how we can encourage this organization to “fund raise” in a way that educates and supports better choices.

    Perhaps, some of us can volunteer to work with the organization, as a project for key young women in the organization to revise the recipes, so that they taste great but have better thought out ingredients. This project would be excellent marketing for them.

    What do you think?

    It was fantastic to see you earlier in the week.

  5. Posted April 2, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Whenever i comment to friends about the unhealthy ingredients in Girl Scout cookies their reaction almost makes me feel unpatriotic. I am glad that there is another American out there who agrees with me!

  6. Posted April 3, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    This is more of a general comment, rather than a reflection of your post…I just wanted to thank you for everything you are doing – you are a serious inspiration and I’m thrilled that more and more people are learning to become happier and healthier through pure and natural food (and why is this a new idea, that food is thy medicine?), and that you are one of these catalysts for this change. I love it, and choosing colorful and living foods in season seems so obvious…but not many of us do it (or do it enough). I feel inspired to see more and more people open to this way of eating, and the healing of our bodies (and when you boil it down, the health of the nation) is happening one person at a time. Kudos to you and your great work!

  7. Posted April 4, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    I fully agree with this post. I think it should be pointed out that these girls sell their cookies outside of Whole Foods – a store who’s standards will not even sell products like these. I think that the biggest barrier though is that hydrogenated oils and sugars are cheap and these cookies are sold for fundraising. Plus I think many people in the general public might balk if the flavor changes. You should accept the challenge to make a healthy version, ha!

  8. Posted April 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    It is funny that Katie mentioned the public balking if the flavor changes. When I became a Girl Scout, the Thin Mint cookies actually had a very thin layer of mint cream inside of them. I was about 12 years old when they changed the recipe and made it a chocolate mint flavored disk of who knows what. I was appalled and that is part of the reason I decided to leave the organization. Trust me, I wasn’t reading the labels back then. I dread the thought of having my daughters become Girl Scouts purely based on the poor quality of the cookies. We are working towards much cleaner eating habits. I think the 80/20 rule is a great one.

    P.S. My 4 year old loves your split pea soup recipes. It is a weekly request from her.

  9. Posted April 10, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Terry, I couldn’t agree more! I wrote a similar comment on my facebook page when my daughter ( a brownie) came home selling these cookies. I told her I couldn’t buy them and explained why. She understood.
    Girl Scouts is all about healthy girls and even healthy body image, right??!!!
    Let’s create a movement and perhaps REALLY help Girl Scouts teach girls what it means to truly take care of their bodies (and support a good cause at the same time!).
    By the way, I LOVE your book. I am a fellow IIN student, and when I read your intro in Clean Food, I thought “that is how I think! I so resonate with this woman!” Kudos to you for your wonderful work!
    Karen Schachter

  10. Posted April 27, 2011 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    I can forgive, but I cannot forget.

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