The sun is finally shining, and long summer weekends are here….along with summertime treats.  The beach is littered with burger huts, fry stands and ice cream vendors. Weekends at the cottage are easy excuses to pig out, and potluck backyard BBQs by the pool can make even the most diet-conscious person stray from their routine.  You’ve worked hard to get yourself in shape but you don’t just want to look and feel good the first time you slip into your summertime gear.

 You can still enjoy the summer sun and make the most of your sizzlin’ summer parties. Just follow these tips to keep yourself in check no matter where the summer takes you.
 
For a Day at the Beach – Pack a Picnic Lunch
The beach is a breeding ground for quick and easy fattening food. This summer, avoid the fast food huts on the boardwalk and pack a picnic lunch for your day in the sun. Packing your own lunch is a great way to stay on track and monitor the calories you’re consuming.
 
Be Sure to Include:
Lots of fruit and vegetables – Bring along a container of baby carrots or a sprig of grapes, or pick up some fresh strawberries or blueberries at a roadside stand on your way there. They not only make for great finger foods but are quick and can easily be resealed and saved for later.
Bottled water – Water is your best friend when trying not to stray from your diet. Stay away from high-calorie drinks and remember that 8-10 cups of water per day will keep you hydrated and feeling full. Freeze a couple bottles before you head out. They will melt slowly during your outing, allowing the water to stay ice cold. Plus they double as an icepack, keeping whatever else you might have in your cooler chilled and ready.
Wraps – If you’re planning an extended day at the beach and need something with a bit more sustenance try a wrap for a quick and easily portable meal that satisfies yet won’t weigh you down. 
 
For That Weekend Cottage Getaway
A weekend at a cottage is a great way to unwind with friends and reconnect with nature. It’s also a fantastic excuse to destroy your eating habits. Cottage weekends can be crammed with junk food, BBQs and roasted marshmallows, but you can still have fun and eat healthy on your weekend retreat.

Try This:

Don’t be afraid to make healthy suggestions – When cottaging with friends, often the group will pool together to purchase groceries. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to let people know that you’re watching what you eat, and offer to purchase your own diet-conscious alternatives. Chances are your friends will take your lead and lean toward healthier alternatives when planning food for the trip.
Grill to perfection – The BBQ is a staple of most cottage meal plans, so embrace it as best you can. If you’re trying to avoid certain foods, bring along grillable alternatives. Instead of normal wieners on the “Q” try the vegetarian or turkey varieties. Bring along some tinfoil and do up a sizzling salmon dish on the grill. Just be creative and don’t hesitate to try alternatives to steak and burgers.
Skewer your alternatives – Instead of roasting marshmallows over the fire, try skewers instead. You might not be able to put them on a stick, but a skewer with some pieces of pepper, zucchini and shrimp will still allow you to get that campfire experience without the sugar high. 
 
For the Backyard Potluck Pool Party
You know you’re going to be faced with fattening choices when you do anything potluck. Some people will stop off and pick something up on the way out of convenience, while others will meticulously plan out their signature triple-chocolate eruption cake recipe in the hopes of being the talk of the party. Either way, there are bound to be hard decisions for you to make at this type of gathering. 
 
Food Table Tactics:

The convenience food might not be the worst choice – The bright side of having those partygoers who wait until the last minute to pick something up is that one of them will almost always bring the staple “veggie tray” dish. Be sure not to overlook it when you get your turn at the food table, and reward yourself with some dip for taking the vegetables over the gelatin mould.
Not-so-rotten tomatoes – When staring down a long line of salad dishes, try to stick to the ones that have tomato-based sauces instead of those with creamy dressings. Tomato-based sauces generally contain less fat and fewer calories than their cream-based counterparts.
Don’t over-stuff – If your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you overflow your plate, don’t feel the need to finish off every last bite. Nobody likes to waste food, but most of these dishes are brought for the event only. They’ll be served on dishes that will likely be cleaned before they’re taken home, or on disposable plates that are going to get thrown out anyway. Also remember that it’s impossible to enjoy every dish that’s present so don’t worry about offending anyone if you leave some of their cuisine on your plate.