11 Best & Worst Store-Bought Cookie Brands, According to Dietitians
You may be surprised to hear this coming from a registered dietitian, but enjoying an occasional cookie can be part of a balanced diet, and you can absolutely eat dessert foods from time to time without a negative impact on overall health. As with any indulgence, moderation is key when it comes to enjoying cookies while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
While cookies are a delightful treat, they can also be unhealthy if consumed in excess or if they contain certain lower-quality ingredients. Making your own cookies at home using whole grains, natural sweeteners, and healthier fats like nuts or seeds can be a healthier choice to avoid overly-processed foods; however, we know it's not always realistic to whip up a fresh batch of cookies whenever a craving hits.
It's likely that you're going to buy your treats at the store every now and then, and when that's the case, you're going to want to look out for certain factors that can contribute to store-bought cookies being on the unhealthier side:
- Added sugars: Many cookies are loaded with sugar, which provides empty calories and can contribute to weight gain, tooth decay, and increased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
- Saturated fats: Some cookies contain high levels of unhealthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats. These fats can raise bad cholesterol levels, increase your risk of heart disease, and may contribute to weight gain.
- Empty Calories: Cookies tend to be calorie-dense, meaning they contain a high number of calories relative to their portion size. Empty calories make it easy to consume excess calories without feeling satisfied, potentially leading to weight gain.
- Portion distortion: Cookies are often sold in large quantities, making it tempting to eat more than one serving size, further contributing to excess calorie intake.
To help you make an informed choice when your next sugar craving strikes, we tasted as many store-bought cookies as we could and reviewed the nutrition information for each. From classic chocolate chip cookies to decadent double chocolate, these are the best and worst store-bought cookie brands out there. Grab a glass of milk, settle in, and for more, don't miss 10 Cookie Brands That Use the Highest Quality Ingredients.
The 8 Best Store-Bought Cookies
Catalina Crunch's Oreo-dupes will have you feeling more full and satisfied compared to regular cookies. With 3 g of filling fiber and 4 g of protein per serving, you'll walk away feeling a bit more satiated. Catalina Crunch uses allulose to sweeten their cookies, which doesn't leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth.
Belvita Breakfast Biscuits
Along with the sweet, satisfying crunch of a cookie, Belvita Breakfast Biscuits deliver 2 grams of fiber per serving, a steady source of energy from slow-release carbohydrates, and around 18 grams of whole grains per serving. They are also easy to pop in your bag for on-the-go snacking and offer a good source of iron and B vitamins with no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, or flavors, recommends Malina Malkani, MS, RDN, CDN.
Partake Chocolate Chip Cookies
Partake Chocolate Chip Cookies. These vegan-based cookies are not only made with healthy ingredients, but they are the perfect choice for individuals with food allergies. Their ingredients are free from the top allergens and three cookies contain 140 calories, 8 grams of added sugar, 1 gram of protein, fiber, and saturated fat, adds Joanna Ayalloore MS RD LDN.
I love Thinsters because these are cookie thins with no artificial flavor colors or preservatives, no corn syrup or hydrogenated oils, and they contain 4% of your daily dietary fiber, shares Moushumi Mukherjee, MS, RD. A Thinsters serving size is 6 cookies, which is double the portion of many other store-bought cookie brands. Thankfully, you'll probably be more satisfied with the increased volume.
Jamie Nadeau, registered dietitian of The Balanced Nutritionist, shares her cookie recommendations with us: "I love Oreo Thins because they give you the same satisfaction and flavor as a regular Oreo cookie, but the serving size is four cookies versus three. If you're someone who likes to feel like you're getting more bang for your buck with food volume, a small difference like that can have a big impact. Four Oreo Thins also have fewer calories and less added sugar than three classic Oreos. They're certainly not a "health food," but they can be a great option when you need real sugar to hit the spot."
Siete Mexican Shortbread Cookies
"If I'm going to buy a store-bought cookie, it's going to be from Siete. Siete cookies are allergen-friendly, meaning they are grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and vegan. They're also non-GMO. Siete cookies are packed full of flavor, perfectly sweetened, and have just the right amount of texture. They use wholesome ingredients that you can easily read. I highly recommend trying their Mexican Shortbread Cookies," says Ashley Kitchens, MPH, RDN, plant-based dietitian and owner of Plant Centered Nutrition.
Simple Mills Chocolate Chip Cookies
I love Simple Mills' Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are made with almond flour and are free from soy, corn, dairy, gums, emulsifiers, artificial additives, and preservatives. They are also certified gluten-free, making them an excellent choice for individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT.
With just 7 grams of sugar per serving, these cookies contain fewer added sugars compared to many other store-bought options. Furthermore, being rich in healthy fats and protein from almond flour, these cookies promote healthy skin, hair, nails, and support brain function. Additionally, they are both non-GMO project verified and vegan, meaning they are produced without any animal products or genetically modified ingredients, Chun adds.
A delicious store-bought, gluten-free cookie can be hard to find, but Mightylicious has done it. Made with a blend of rice flour, brown rice flour, oat flour, and starches, their Chocolate Chip Cookie might bring back memories of childhood cookie-and-milk nostalgia. Their chocolate chip cookies also offer 2 grams of fiber—another hard-to-find quality in gluten free products.
Individually wrapped in two-per-serving, you'll find these easy to stick to the portion size.
The 3 Worst Store-Bought Cookies
Keebler E.L.Fudge Elfwich Double Stuffed Cookies
Keebler E.L.Fudge Elfwich Double Stuffed Cookies are one of the worst because they are loaded with sugar, fat, and calories. According to the nutrition label, two cookies contain 180 calories and over a quarter of the daily sugar intake. They are also high in fat and do not contain any fiber or protein, Chun explains.
Consuming too much sugar and unhealthy fat can lead to weight gain, high blood sugar, and other health problems. I would recommend choosing healthier options that are made with whole food ingredients, are lower in sugar, and those that are a good source of fiber and protein, she adds.
Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies
This one shouldn't surprise you. Little Debbie products are notoriously high in sugar, fat, and empty calories. They're also hyperpalatable, which means they're easy to overeat without feeling very full at all. "These Little Debbie cookie sandwiches are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavor, partially hydrogenated oil, and are also high in sodium," Mukherjee shares.
Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies might remind you of your brown-bag lunch on a school field trip, but the nostalgia might not be worth it. These cookies come with two-per-pack despite the label mentioning just one cookie as a serving. We think you're better off skipping these cookies in the future, as a two-cookie package delivers nearly 400 empty calories and 22 grams of added sugar to boot.