The samples are probably my favorite part of going to Costco. :-D I'm a tapas girl. When I am NOT in prep for a show or shoot, I will purposefully make sure to get there between noon and 3pm, haha, PRIME sample time. Since it's pretty much the size of lunch, I'll work it in accordingly to my day, using habit and intuition.
Even still, after I went earlier this week I felt like it was more than I thought. So, as an experiment I decided to log every single sample ingredient in MyFitnessPal to double check my assumptions. I was kind of shocked by how much more I was really consuming that I didn't realize!
I had assumed about 300 calories, when in reality it was closer to 600. To give a point of reference, if I were in a fat loss phase those samples would've been more than 1/3 of my total daily intake! The multiple little sizes as well as most of the items being high in Fats (twice as calorie dense as protein and carbs), was really how I was misled. A particular study* showed that people (unintentionally) underreport their intake by 47% and I believe it is for this reason. Fats are so sneaky.
I'm not sharing this to have you be paranoid about Costco samples or because I look for perfection with my clients (I don't!). Just be aware that little things can really add up fast. Bites, licks, and tastes (BLTs) while cooking, finishing your kids' string cheese, a trip to Costco during sample time, a few bites off the snack trays left in the office break room, and suddenly all the work you did for the week has been erased.