The Sam's Club Foods You Need to Add to Your Cart, According to Dietitians

·14 min read

When you're looking to stock up on 12 bottles of ketchup for a neighborhood BBQ, 3lb boxes of cereal to get your kids through the month, or a bulk container of plant-based NUGGS to munch on when you just don't feel like cooking, there's a good chance you'll head to Sam's Club (if you have that $45 annual membership, of course). You'll breeze through the aisles, pop all your goodies in your cart, and head out the door in 20 minutes flat.

Showing up to the wholesale club without knowing exactly what you want, however, makes for a totally different shopping experience. The store's gigantic size means you'll spend at least 45 minutes browsing, and due to the umpteen food options, you might unknowingly walk past healthy and delicious items that you've never added to your plate before. Ultimately, you'll likely leave with the same items you always buy, feeling rushed to get to your next to-do. (And yes, the same thing can happen when you hit up Costco.)

One way to save time and ensure you grab nutritious eats on those shopping trips? Keep these Sam's Club grocery lists in your back pocket. Curated by registered dietitians, these lists of what to buy at Sam's Club feature must-have snacks, pantry essentials, produce, and proteins and will help you put what's most important (and tasty) into your cart. Just make sure to clear out your kitchen before you make a trip to grab these Sam's Club foods - you're going to need the free space.

The Sam's Club Foods You Need to Add to Your Cart, According to R.D.s
The Sam's Club Foods You Need to Add to Your Cart, According to R.D.s

Sams Club

Sam's Club Grocery List #1

The Dietitian: Martha Huizar, M.S., R.D.N., C.L.C., C.C.H.C., a registered dietitian nutritionist in Tucson, Arizona

Taylor Farms Organic 50/50 Baby Spring Mix and Baby Spinach Blend

A mix of spinach, chard, arugula, frisée, radicchio, red leaf lettuce, and a handful of other leafy greens, this Sam's Club grocery item is rich in vitamins A and C and provides just 20 calories per 3-ounce serving, says Huizar. The greens (Buy It, $5, samsclub.com) work well in salads tossed with a savory dressing, but if noshing on a bowl full of leaves doesn't sound too appetizing, fold them into an omelet or use them as a garnish for rice and grain bowls, she suggests.

Member's Mark Unsalted Deluxe Mixed Nuts

This 2lb tub of nuts (Buy It, $12, samsclub.com) may take up half of your kitchen's snack cupboard, but the price and the health benefits of the pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, and cashews make it well worth the space. "In general, nuts are a great source of healthy unsaturated fats and protein, and have numerous essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber," says Huizar. Pistachios, for example, provide nearly 7 grams of monounsaturated fat (the kind that can help lower your LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels) and nearly 6 grams of plant-based protein per ounce, making this Sam's Club snack ideal for vegetarians, vegans, and all the meat-free eaters in between, says Huizar. (Related: How to Get Enough Protein On a Plant-Based Diet)

Fresh Berries

Despite their tiny size, berries - like all fruits and veggies - are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that keep your body running properly and help to prevent disease, says Huizar. And that's why blueberries (Buy It, $6, samsclub.com), strawberries (Buy It, $7, samsclub.com), and raspberries (Buy It, $6, samsclub.com) from the Sam's Club grocery section are staples in her home, she says. "Having fruit on hand makes it easier to follow the nutrition recommendations of having half of our meals and snacks be fruits and vegetables," she explains. Eat them straight up, toss them to a salad or smoothie, or dip them in yogurt or chocolate for a sweet treat.

La Croix Sparkling Water 24-Can Variety Pack

If you aren't hitting your H2O goals despite all those reminders on your phone and the gallon jug of water you have sitting on your desk, pick up a variety pack of LaCroix Sparkling Water (Buy It, $8, samsclub.com). This Sam's Club grocery item is calorie-free and features three thirst-quenching flavors of bubbly - lemon, lime, and grapefruit - so you'll actually want to take sip after sip. Not to mention, "this is a great soda replacement because it does not have added sugar, artificial colors, or artificial flavors," says Huizar. "If you feel you need a stronger flavor, you can always add freshly squeezed fruit juice." (Related: Is Your LaCroix Obsession Healthy?)

Member's Mark Natural, No-Stir Creamy Peanut Butter Spread

Once you buy this two-pack of peanut butter (Buy It, $7, samsclub.com), you won't have to head back down the Sam's Club grocery aisle for a long, long time. The 40-ounce jars of peanut butter provide 7 grams of plant-based protein and just two grams of added sugar per two-tablespoon serving. Plus, the peanut butter is chock-full of mono and polyunsaturated fats, which are good for your heart and contribute to healthy cholesterol levels, says Huizar. And since it requires no stirring before spreading, you can twist open the jar, craft your PB&J, and wolf it down all in the amount of time it'd take you to mix a standard jar of peanut butter. (FTR, this peanut butter does contain added sugar and palm oil, which adds more saturated fat - the kind that can increase LDL cholesterol - to the spread, so it's a tad less healthy than PB that's solely made from peanuts.)

Silk Unsweetened Original Almond Milk

Of all the bulk items you can score in the Sam's Club grocery section, this three-pack of Silk's Unsweetened Almondmilk (Buy It, $7, samsclub.com) might just be the smartest one to invest in, particularly if your family goes through a jug every other day. "One of the benefits of switching to this almond milk type [from cow's milk] is that it contains 50 percent more calcium than dairy milk, has no sugar, and has one-third of the calories of low-fat milk at about 30 calories per cup," says Huizar. "Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and helps build and sustain bones, but also plays a role in the cardiovascular and other physical systems." You can't go wrong with pouring a cup into a bowl of cereal, but Huizar also recommends incorporating it into breads and pastries.

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Sam's Club Grocery List #2

The Dietitian: Darby Horton, M.S., R.D.N., a registered dietitian nutritionist in Little Rock, Arkansas

Clio Greek Yogurt Minis

When you're shopping for something to satisfy the late-night munchies, skip the ice cream sandwiches and instead grab a box of these chocolate-dipped frozen Greek yogurt bars (Buy It, $10, samsclub.com). The Sam's Club food comes in peach and raspberry flavors, offers 4 grams of protein per bar, and packs gut-friendly probiotics, says Horton. After one taste, you'll want to clear out your freezer so you can add five more boxes to your stockpile.

Member's Mark Atlantic Salmon Fillet Portions

You can only eat so much chicken before your taste buds start to crave some excitement, and when that day inevitably comes, pull out one of these individually wrapped salmon fillets (Buy It, $20, samsclub.com) from the Sam's Club grocery aisle. Two-thirds of a fillet will give you a whopping 23 grams of protein and 60 percent of the daily value for vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium to build strong bones. Plus, the fish boasts omega-3 fatty acids, which play a key role in supporting eye, brain, and heart health. When dinner calls, thaw out a filet, season to your liking, bake, and serve on a bed of rice, suggests Horton. (Related: 5 Ways to Cook Salmon In Less Than 15 Minutes)

Bag of D'Anjou Pears

If you're looking to switch up your fruit consumption, trade your morning apple for a slightly sweet D'Anjou pear (Buy It, $7 per bag, samsclub.com). This pear variety is known for its egg-like shape and lemon-lime flavor profile, which is why they're a perfect match for fresh salads and baked goodies. To score its antioxidants and fiber, you can eat the fruit by itself, but Horton prefers to pair it with a cheese stick for a more complete grab-and-go snack.

Bag of Sweet Mini Peppers

This pick on Horton's Sam's Club grocery list is packed with vitamin C, offering 190 percent of the daily value for the nutrient. ICYDK, vitamin C plays numerous roles within your body, helping to produce the collagen that makes your skin look plump and youthful, keeps your immune system functioning properly, and protects your body against damaging free radicals. To get your fill of the essential nutrient, slice up the bag of peppers (Buy It, $5 per bag, samsclub.com) and pan-fry them for a crunchy taco filling or transform them into flavor-packed snack like Horton: "I love dipping these in plain Greek yogurt with Everything But the Bagel seasoning mixed in," she says.

Eat Smart Everything Ranch Chopped Salad Kit

Tonight, spend less time chopping and more time noshing by breaking out a bag of this pre-prepared salad (Buy It, $2, samsclub.com). The Sam's Club grocery item features a blend of cabbage, carrots, broccoli stalks, and kale, and comes with an everything bagel seasoning blend. (Trader Joe's fans, rejoice!) "This is a great way to get your veggies in, and when you're a busy professional or mom, [just] add your favorite protein to make this a quick 5-minute meal," says Horton. "I recommend picking up a rotisserie chicken from Sam's to make it even easier." (Related: What to Buy at Trader Joe's, According to Dietitians)

SkinnyPop Popcorn Variety Pack

When you have a 2 p.m. hankering for popcorn but don't want to make the entire office smell like it, open up a bag of SkinnyPop (Buy It, $13, samsclub.com) instead. Gluten-, dairy-, and peanut-free, this Sam's Club snack offers 2 grams of hunger-stifling fiber per bag and comes with 12 bags of original-, white cheddar-, and sweet and salty kettle-flavored popcorn. Trust, it'll be a much more satisfying munchie than the smashed granola bar at the bottom of your desk.

Organic French Green Beans

For a helping of good-for-you veggies without the hassle of cranking up the oven and roasting for an hour, turn to these green beans (Buy It, $5, samsclub.com). This item on Horton's list of what to buy at Sam's Club will provide you with 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 30 percent of the daily value for potassium, a mineral that helps your muscles contract properly and supports normal blood pressure, per serving. When you're ready to nosh, just pop the entire bag in the microwave to cook or incorporate them into your stir fry, says Horton.

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Sam's Club Grocery List #3

The Dietitian: Amy Davis, R.D., L.D.N., a registered dietitian in New Orleans, Louisiana

Sideaway Organic Quinoa

After scooping this 4lb bag of quinoa (Buy It, $9, samsclub.com) up from Sam's Club, you'll have enough whole grains to eat at every meal for weeks. The tiny grain offers 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving, making it a filling, muscle-building food for plant-based eaters or those looking to cut back on their meat consumption, says Davis. "Quinoa is a fantastic base for a grain bowls, makes a great side to dinner, or can even be made into a breakfast porridge," she adds. (Then use up those spare oats in the pantry by making cake-like baked oatmeal.)

Frozen Mozzarella & Roasted Garlic Chicken Patties with Artichokes and Italian Seasoning

"Chicken patties can be bland, but these pack in the flavor with natural ingredients like garlic, mozzarella, and artichoke without any fillers or preservatives," says Davis. These patties (Buy It, $12, samsclub.com) also score top marks in the nutrition department, as each burger offers 21 grams of protein. Since the Sam's Club food is fully cooked, just pop a patty in the microwave or on the grill until it's hot, then tuck it into a whole grain bun or chop it up over some greens for a hearty salad, suggests Davis.

Tattooed Chef Veggie Spiral Nests

Craving a bowl of pasta but also want to amp up your veggie intake for the day? This Sam's Club grocery item is the best way to get the best of both worlds. The zucchini and squash ″noodles″ (Buy It, $10, samsclub.com) take just 10 minutes to go from freezer to plate, and the only elbow grease required is when you top the pasta off with your favorite sauce and protein, says Davis. (Related: The Tastiest - and Easiest - Ways to Eat Veggie Noodles)

Whole Earth Stevia and Monk Fruit Packets

Whether you're following the keto diet, have diabetes, or just want to ease up on your sugar intake, this pick on Davis' list of what to buy at Sam's Club is worth adding to your cart. Stevia and monk fruit are both zero-calorie, plant-based sweeteners that don't impact blood sugar levels and don't have a bitter aftertaste like other sugar alternatives do, making the packets (Buy It, $17, samsclub.com) a great way to sweeten your coffee, tea, smoothies, yogurt, and baked goods, says Davis.

PB Fit Peanut Butter Powder

Before you hit the hiking trails, swap your hefty jar of peanut butter for this lightweight, powdered alternative (Buy It, $10, samsclub.com) from the Sam's Club food department. Just two tablespoons supplies 8 grams of protein, making it an ideal source of fuel for your trek, but it also has less fat than traditional PB, says Davis. While you're out in the wilderness, mix two tablespoons of the powder with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water to create a creamy peanut butter spread that you can smear on tortillas or eat straight up. Once you're back from your journey, swirl it into your oatmeal, smoothies, or batters for your baked goods, she suggests. (Related: The Best Hiking Snacks to Pack No Matter What Distance You're Trekking)

Siete Lime Grain Free Tortilla Chips

"If you are looking to make a healthy swap for potato chips, look no further than these crispy, zesty, lime tortilla chips," says Davis. "These chips are made with high-quality ingredients like cassava flour, avocado oil, and chia seeds." Thanks to those stand-out ingredients, Siete tortilla chips (Buy It, $7, samsclub.com) are grain-free and offer 3 grams of fiber per serving. Dip this Sam's Club snack in salsa, use a plate full as a base for nachos, or eat a bowl straight up, suggests Davis.

Tattooed Chef Organic Açai Bowl with Fruit and Granola

Sure, you could pick up an açai smoothie from the café down the road, but chances are, it's loaded with sugar and will clear out your wallet. The solution: These smoothie bowls (Buy It, $10, samsclub.com) from the Sam's Club grocery section. "These organic açai bowls have only 15 grams of sugar with just 2 grams from added sugar, and are quite affordable at only $2.62 each," says Davis. "Another great part about making these from home - add your favorite protein powder for more satiation." Better yet, double dip on your Sam's Club grocery haul and swirl in a spoonful of peanut butter powder.

Member's Mark Everything Seasoned Cashews

EBTB seasoning lovers, these anything-but-plain cashews (Buy It, $10, samsclub.com) were made for you. "Cashews are a great source of healthy unsaturated fats, copper, and magnesium," says Davis. "These flavored cashews make for a delicious on-the-go snack full of satiating fats to hold you over to your next meal."

Member's Mark Steam-In-a-Bag Stir Fry Mix

Davis' secret tip to getting your fill of veggies each day? Always keep frozen vegetables on hand, and this stir fry mix (Buy It, $9, samsclub.com) - featuring broccoli, sugar snap peas, carrots, baby corn, and mushrooms - from the Sam's Club grocery aisle is one that should have a reserved spot in the freezer. "[The vegetables] are flash frozen at peak ripeness, have the same nutrition stats as fresh, and are ready in minutes," says Davis. "Combine these stir fry veggies with some shrimp or tofu, add your favorite Asian-inspired sauce, and dinner is served."

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