From free samples around every corner to giant bags of tempting snacks, warehouse clubs may be a bargain for your bottom-line, but they can be a disaster for your diet.
“Just because you buy in bulk doesn't mean you have to eat in bulk," cautions Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic.
Kirkpatrick says her No. 1 rule for warehouse clubs is don’t go there hungry.
“Have a meal ahead of time," said Kirkpatrick. "Make sure that your blood sugar isn’t low, because not only will you attack the samples, but you’ll probably buy a lot of high-calorie, high-sugar, high-fat foods simply because you’re starving.”
If you can't resist the free samples, try to at least take some extra steps along the way.
“I would suggest walking every single aisle," said Kirkpatrick. "I’ve done it myself at my local warehouse with a pedometer, and I actually walked a mile."
To get the savings of buying in bulk without bulking up yourself, stock up on baggies and divide larger bags of food into appropriate serving sizes.
"Regardless of what you’re buying, be it potato chips or peanuts, or something like that, individually package every single thing when you get home," said Kirkpatrick.
Making a meal plan before you shop can also help you stay focused on buying the foods you really need, instead of loading up on snacks.