One of the best parts of July? Welcoming back some of those warm-weather foods that help make summer so memorable. Who doesn't love to savor an ice cream cone after a day at the beach, dig into a burger at an outdoor cookout or munch on peanuts at the ballpark? The key, of course, is doing it in a way that allows you to still confidently pull on your swimsuit the next day. For tips on enjoying summertime snacks smartly, try a few of these game plans. At the cookout Before you dig into a hot dog, know that the average weiner is loaded with sodium and has about 14.5 grams of fat. For the same number of calories (about 250) but less than half the fat, help yourself to a hamburger. Opt for 95 percent lean ground beef and you'll get 22 g of appetite-quelling protein. At the ice cream truck After chasing that van down the street, you've earned a chilly snack! But skip the king-size prepackaged cones, which can royally ruin your healthy-eating plan, thanks to their nutritional breakdown: about 400 calories, 21 g fat and 30 g sugar. Instead, cool down with a frozen fruit bar (most are fewer than 100 calories and have no fat) or a Creamsicle (70 calories, 2 g fat, 10 g sugar). At the coffee shop Forfeit your afternoon latte (264 calories and 13.7 g fat per 20 ounces), which could contain half a day's worth of saturated fat (9 g) if it's made with whole milk. Instead, order a latte made with skim milk (156 calories, no fat) for a more waist-slimming pick-me-up. Sprinkle it with cinnamon and sip your way to a smaller size.
On a car trip Sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic can drive anyone to stop to eat. Rather than calm your road rage with chips and a Slurpee--together they clock in at a combined 432 calories and 13 g fat, and lack the protein and fiber that will tame tummy grumbles--grab an energy bar with at least 4 g fiber and 5 g protein. At the game Teaming a giant pretzel with a regular beer (which add up to 629 calories and 4 g fat) is a simple-carb combo that's low on the nutritional scoreboard. Why not hearken back to your youth and catch some Cracker Jacks; they're made of whole-grain popcorn and nuts for healthy fat. Split a box with your seatmate and sip a light beer (for a total of 320 calories and 3.5 g fat). At the deli Picking up a sandwich on the way to the beach? Smart. Choosing a healthy option? Even better. Rather than order steak and cheese with a boatload of mayo on a white roll (496 calories and 20 g fat per 6-inch sandwich), ask for lean roast beef with fresh veggies and mustard (357 calories, 8 g fat) on whole-wheat bread. At the cocktail party Toasting the warm weather doesn't have to dissolve your diet resolve. Skip the frozen margarita (624 calories) and try a lighter take on the libation: Combine a shot of vodka, 8 oz club soda and 3 oz fresh lime juice and pour over crushed ice (108 calories). Add a squeeze of fresh lime and raise a glass to the fact that you've saved 516 calories!