The 11 Unhealthiest Foods At Sam's Club

The Walmart-owned chain Sam's Club is one of the top membership-only warehouse stores in the world, with 69 million members reported in 2022 by PYMNTS Research. Offering ready-made meals, bulk bottled drinks, gigantic boxes of snacks, deals on liquors and spirits, and freshly-baked pastries (just to name a few perks), the appeal of the wholesale grocery chain is hard to deny. However, size and value aren't the end-all, be-all when it comes to deciding on food items to purchase here.

As with any edible product on store shelves, there are health aspects to consider when filling your cart at Sam's Club. And a few of the chain's popular Member's Mark house-brand items — from super-salty hot dogs to over-sugared muffins to enchiladas drowning in sodium-filled sauce — leave a lot to be desired in the way of nutrition. Instead, they offer large amounts of calories, fats, cholesterol, and/or sugars that can easily max out your recommended daily limits. 

To develop this list of some of the most unhealthy foods to be found at Sam's Club, Mashed consulted the official nutrition labels via the company's website, as well as additional popular calorie-tracking sites such as My Net Diary and Fat Secret. We further used the dietary guidelines outlined by reputable health organizations such as the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association. It's important to keep in mind, however, that for the average adult with no outstanding health conditions to consider, "everything in moderation" can be the best policy.

1. Member's Mark Five Cheese Bacon Macaroni

There are few dishes as popular among eaters of all generations as macaroni and cheese, but the fact is that the pasta-and-cheddar-based meal can be a serious calorie bomb. While some have experimented with ingredients such as cauliflower noodles or vegetable broth to develop lighter takes on the classically heavy dish, unfortunately, Sam's Club's Member's Mark Five Cheese Bacon Macaroni is far from health-conscious. 

This dish offers a 40-ounce tray of refrigerated twisty noodles coated with mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, romano, and mascarpone goodness, ready to be popped into the oven and heated to perfection. Plus, thick, salty chunks of bacon are also folded into the mix, turning every savory bite into an unforgettably delicious flavor blast. 

But all these heavy ingredients come at a price. Just a 1-cup serving of this rich delicacy has 21 grams of fat (13 grams of trans fat), 70 milligrams of cholesterol, and 810 milligrams of sodium — making this a meal capable of wreaking havoc on cholesterol and blood pressure levels. 

2. Member's Mark Tropical Trail Mix

When you think about a typical trail mix, nuts, raisins, and tiny bits of chocolate probably come to mind. But, Sam's Club dared to do something different with its branded Member's Mark Tropical Trail Mix, which offers chunks of dried, sugar-sprinkled pineapple, mango, papaya, coconut, and banana in each bite.

While it's great that the wholesaler offers this daring and unique take on the to-go snack, when it comes to whether or not to actually eat it on your next adventure, that's questionable. The tropical snack is extremely high in sugar — 20 grams per 1/4-cup serving, which is just a small handful. Though sugar certainly has its place when it comes to providing an active individual with energy on the go, this amount may be overkill, especially considering multiple handfuls are likely to be consumed at once.

In addition, athletes looking to this trail mix for sustenance won't find any of the necessary protein content that muscles need for recovery. Walnuts and cashews (both good sources of protein) are included in the assortment, but sparingly — amounting to just 1 gram of protein per serving. There are less sugar-filled, more protein-heavy trail mix options on the market that are better for gaining healthy, quick energy.

3. Member's Mark Beef Franks

Hot dogs are a barbecue party staple, so when you see the 12-count, 1/4-pound Beef Franks by Member's Mark in the cold aisle of Sam's Club, you may be tempted to grab a few packs for your up-and-coming get-together. But you may want to reconsider. Although the label on the front of the product proudly declares that it includes no flavor enhancers or by-products, there are other facets to be considered; namely, the franks' sodium level.

With 1,090 milligrams of sodium per stick, a single Sam's Club beef hot dog provides nearly half a person's recommended maximum daily intake of 2,300 milligrams. And consuming two is actually over the daily threshold — especially children, whose recommended daily sodium intake is much lower. Since an overload of sodium can cause negative short-term effects such as thirstiness and uncomfortable bloating, as well as longer-term issues such as heart disease or a stroke (when consumed over an extended period of time), you may want to consider whether or not you feel comfortable serving these extremely sodium-heavy links to guests.

4. Member's Mark Rotisserie Chicken Enchiladas

Sam's Club is often given high marks for the deliciousness of its whole rotisserie chickens, so is it any wonder that this same coveted meat, shredded up, makes a tasty base for a pan full of enchiladas? Sam's Club's Member's Mark Chicken Enchiladas are prepared fresh daily in-house with soft flour tortillas, cheese, and red enchilada sauce, creating an easy, flavorful meal option. However, before you let this spicy goodness bubble in your oven and fill the air of your home with its seductive smell, be prepared for the plateful you're about to consume: It comes with some seriously drastic nutrition stats.

When you add up all the cheese, chicken, enchilada sauce, and other salty additives included in this particular dish, you'll see a skyrocketing sodium level. Just one-half of a single Sam's Club fresh enchilada reportedly provides 1570 milligrams worth — equaling out to an unbelievable 3,140 milligrams if you eat a whole serving. If that's not enough, there are also 110 milligrams of cholesterol accompanying this half-serving size, so the same double rule applies if you eat the entire thing. 

5. Member's Mark Double Chocolate Muffins

It's one of the most celebrated products in the Sam's Club bakery: the Member's Mark Double Chocolate Muffins. These colossal, baked-fresh breakfast treats offer a rich, dark chocolate casing with chocolate chunks stirred into the mix to create a cocoa lover's dream. But, as you likely suspected, anything made with this much chocolate can't be innocent, at least calorically speaking.

Each one comes in at a whopping 640 calories a pop — but that's not the only nutritional offense to consider. Along with this heap of calories are 80 grams of carbohydrates and 49 grams of sugar (47 grams being added sugar) in each muffin. Consuming too many added sugars has been associated with the development of insulin resistance, which can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, or a fatty liver. Of course, enjoying a muffin every now and then is unlikely to cause such drastic side effects, so moderation is key.

6. Member's Mark White & Chocolate Cupcakes

The Member's Mark White & Chocolate Cupcakes with buttercream frosting come in an extra-large tray of 30 dual-flavored baked goods — 15 vanilla, and 15 chocolate — covered with delightful rainbow sprinkles. It's the perfect treat for a party or celebration, but before you bring them to the table, make sure you're prepared for a calorie- and sugar-heavy punch.

Each of these modest-sized Sam's Club cupcakes manages to sneak in over 32 grams of sugar, 43 carbohydrates, 16.5 grams of fat, and more than 18 grams of cholesterol — impressive numbers for such a relatively small treat. And, given the proclivity of party guests to grab more than one, it's quite possible for these nutrition stats to double (even triple) in a relatively short amount of time. 

If you want to keep the total number of sugar, carbs, fat, and cholesterol at a more modest level, skipping these Sam's Club cupcakes and opting for a healthier option might be in your best interest.

7. Member's Mark Frozen Grilled Cheese On Texas Toast

If you don't have the time to slice, assemble, and melt cheese on two buttered bread slices before heading out the door, Sam's Club has you covered. The Member's Mark Grilled Cheese On Texas Toast offers a box of eight individually-wrapped frozen sandwiches ready to be placed in the microwave and cooked while you attend to other matters. How's that for conveniently freeing up your hands and your time, while simultaneously filling up your belly?

But if it sounds too good to be true, unfortunately, it sort of is — at least, in the way of nutrition. While the overall calorie count of each pre-made sandwich hovers around 390, which doesn't sound too offensive, let your eyes hover down to the line about sodium to reveal the truly shocking aspect of this nutrition label. Every Sam's Club frozen grilled cheese comes with 1,010 milligrams of sodium — nearly half of an adult's daily intake in one fell swoop. Given this information, freshly-made might be better than frozen after all.

8. Member's Mark Tuxedo Bar Cake

A tuxedo cake is just what it sounds like: A baked creation consisting of a mix of black chocolate cake base and white vanilla ganache filling, which mimics the colors of a fancy tuxedo. Because of its elegant features, the sweet delicacy makes a beautiful addition to the table for any formal event. Even Sam's Club has its own variant: the Member's Mark Tuxedo Bar Cake. This baked masterpiece doesn't disappoint, with multiple rich layers and decorative chocolate swirls to top it all off, meaning it could be the show-stopping centerpiece for any wedding or graduation celebration.

But, for all of its decadent beauty, the celebrated Sam's Club cake isn't as pretty when it comes to nutrition. Expect around 400 calories, 24 grams of total fat, 45 grams of carbs, and 32 grams of sugar in a single slice of this frosting-filled treat...and a side of GMOs. Written on the Member's Mark label in large, capitalized letters is the admission that the cake contains bioengineered food ingredients — AKA controversial additives that some people try and avoid. We appreciate the fact that Sam's Club gives its shoppers a heads-up in this case, though it may not be doing them any favors in sales.

9. Member's Mark Cheese Danishes

Danishes are flaky pastries that originated in Austria and Denmark and grew to worldwide popularity thanks to their buttery outside flavor and savory or sweet filling. Sam's Club produces numerous flavors of these coveted treats in its bakery department, that are prepared fresh daily, such as apple, cherry, or cream cheese, giving you options as to which rich, mouthwatering pastry to pair with your morning cup of coffee.

But, when it comes to the wholesaler's cream cheese-flavored Danishes in particular, there are a few questionable nutritional elements that you might want to be aware of before enjoying one (or two) alongside your steaming hot espresso. Each Sam's Club Cheese Danish contains 90 milligrams of cholesterol, as well as 25 grams of total fat — 15 grams of which are trans fats. Considering the World Health Organization recommends that the average adult takes in no more than 2.2 grams of trans fats per day, a whole 15 grams going into your body at once should not be taken lightly...and may just convince you to try another flavor — or skip them altogether.

10. Member's Mark Chicken Fried Rice

Fried rice can be a notoriously high-sodium food. With soy sauce and other briny additions commonly used to develop the dish's flavor, the salt content can rise quickly. Sam's Club has its own pre-made microwaveable fried rice meal up for grabs in its warehouses, and in the case of this Chicken Fried Rice product, the high-sodium statute rings true.

The Member's Mark Chicken Fried Rice comes in a pack of six frozen entrees delivering flavorful rice, carrots, chicken, bacon, peas, and green onions in every bite. Though this quick and convenient meal brings some serious flavor to the table, it also brings some serious sodium — over 1,100 milligrams a bag. Given that one pouch contains nearly half the recommended daily amount of sodium for adults, this product becomes an instantly questionable buy.  

Since elevated sodium is such an issue with fried rice — particularly pre-made, store-bought options — opting for a homemade batch instead and using a reduced-sodium soy sauce may allow you to enjoy the savory meal in a more nutritionally sound way.

11. Member's Mark Cheddar and Bacon Angus Beef Patties

Eating too much red meat, as in the case of steaks and burgers, has been linked to cancer, stroke, and cardiac events – this is generally attributed to a higher level of saturated fat. And an overload of saturated fats can lead to cholesterol buildup in the arteries over time, which is the perfect setup for a potentially terrifying health episode. Opting for lower-fat burger options is one way to aid in this, but, unfortunately, you won't find that option in Sam's Club's cheese-and-bacon-stuffed beef products.

If you were hoping to make Member's Mark Cheddar and Bacon Angus Beef Patties any time soon, you may want to reconsider. Just one patty has 36 total grams of fat — over half the recommended total daily intake — as well as 15 grams of saturated fat (75% of the daily allotment). 

While moderation is of course key, these stats are worth keeping in mind when selecting which burgers to fry up on your grill. Twenty years down the line, your heart may just thank you for saying "no."