I recently returned from a lovely vacation to Denver with my family. This was a first for all of us and we were pretty psyched to go west. Every year we travel with my in-laws. While most people might cringe at the thought, I’m lucky to have a loving and versatile set of in-laws that understand my desire to avoid chain restaurants as much as possible.

Almost every year, we’ve done a beach vacation and we tend to be in the vacation house a lot of the time. This year was the exception. We had no pool or beach to hang out at, so we ate out daily, sometimes twice a day. Unfortunately, we didn’t plan our food very well. We bought our usual amount of hummus, blocks of cheese, cartons of yogurt, fruit, crackers, etc. And along the way, a cherry pie, fudge, granola bars and nuts for hikes, etc. By the end of the week, we had WAY too much food and had to eat or toss a lot of the perishable stuff. We overate to get rid of some of it, but it killed me to throw out perfectly good milk, cheese and leftovers. Here’s 10 mistakes we made this year and tips to avoid them:


  1. Don’t shop hungry. The rule applies at home as well as on vacation. You’ll be more likely to pick up impulse items like key lime pie.
  2. Plan at least one meal for home (i.e. breakfast).  No need to pick up multiple boxes of cereal or loaves of bread. Consider how many people are in your trip and how much you’ll actually eat.
  3. Buy non-perishable, healthy snacks. Nuts, dried fruit or low sugar bars (such as *KIND bars) can travel with you in the car or plane without a mess.
  4. Indulge in small servings of local food. No need for a large jar of local jam or whole peach pie. You’ll either eat too much or end up tossing it like we did.
  5. Split meals when dining out. Portions at restaurants tend to be big and while you can take leftovers home, who really eats the leftover burrito or pasta?
  6. Buy less booze. You can always go back to the store for another bottle of Malbec, but you can’t take it on the plane with you.
  7. Reel your kids in. My daughters will order multiple side dishes just to “try the food”. We ended up with half-eaten salads, pasta and other dishes. Just because you can order more doesn’t mean you should.
  8. Don’t over-snack your kids. It’s easy to keep kids quiet on long car rides by overloading them with snacks. When it’s time to stop for a meal, they may be less hungry. My girls ordered food but ate very little.
  9. Order water at meals instead of soda. It may be a treat for your kids to get soda, but they fill up on sugar and don’t eat as much of their meals.
  10. Enjoy small servings. My dad used to say, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach”. A child’s size ice cream cone is fine, even for adults. Don’t get swayed by ordering more than you’ll eat. Better to return home lighter in your clothes than your wallet.

* Brand rep for KIND snacks, #client #sponsored #samples

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