One smart cookie

Do not adjust the volume on your computer: That faraway din of squealing you hear is 3 million women gearing up for Girl Scout Cookie season! According to, addictive treats like chewy-sweet Samoas and stick-to-the-roof-of-my-mouth Tagalongs will be available in my area in precisely 116 days, 11 hours, 22 minutes and 45 seconds. (Get your local countdown here.)

In a dream world, Do-Si-Dos would count as health food and trainers would recommend Thin Mints as a pre-run snack. Alas, the Girl Scouts have yet to introduce Nonfat Greek Yogurt Snaps or Salmon Pinwheels. Until then, we can fantasize about how their current creations might earn us some brownie points in the athletic-performance department.

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Hmm, could Dulce de Leches be Marta's secret to soccer greatness?

Thin Mints: Four of these wafer-thin, dark chocolate-covered peppermint treats provide 6 percent of your daily iron needs -- crucial for carrying oxygen to your muscles and brain. But who are you kidding? You know you'll eat the whole box in one sitting, which means you'll nab half your iron quota. Considering a whopping 60 percent of American female athletes are thought to be iron deficient, Thin Mints are practically the new lean red meat.

Dulce de Leches: Rumor has it Brazilian soccer phenom Marta relied on these milk caramel babies – inspired by the classic Latin American confection -- for the fuel and skill needed to become a four-time FIFA World Player of the Year.

Samoas, aka Caramel deLites: Not since my grocery store began carrying "Crispy Hexagons" as a generic alternative to Crispix has a six-sided food provided me with such pure, unadulterated delight. These vanilla cookies are coated with caramel, rolled in coconut and drizzled with chocolate stripes. Happily, coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides, which help reduce abdominal obesity -- the most dangerous kind -- while elevating "good" cholesterol levels. And a 2011 study published in the espnW Journal of Wishful Thinking found that Samoas trump Gu energy gel as triathlon fuel.

Do-Si-Dos: A thick schmear of creamy peanut butter sandwiched between two oatmeal cookies. Oatmeal! It's full of fiber and heart-healthy whole grains! Wash these down with a glass of skim milk, and you're practically Wilfred Brimley on steroids.

Tagalongs: If the Keebler Elf used a pillow, it would be one of these fat clouds of chocolate-coated peanut butter. And if he wanted to get buff, he'd take a few bites, too: Peanut butter is rich in muscle-building protein and heart-healthy fats. Say farewell to summer with a campfire and roast up some s'mores, using Tagalongs instead of plain chocolate.

Thank U Berry Munch: Sugar cookies studded with premium tart cranberries absolutely count toward your five-a-day servings of fruits and vegetables. You're welcome.

EspnW columnist Leslie Goldman is a die-hard workout junkie who covers health and fitness for many popular women's magazines and is the author of "Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth About Women, Body Image and Re-imagining the 'Perfect' Body." Full disclosure: Her high school athletic experience was limited to sophomore-year color guard.

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