By Tina Haupert

A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed my first "real" ice cream of the summer. Sure, I've eaten plenty of low-calorie, low-fat frozen yogurt in recent months, but not the full-fat, high-calorie type packed with cookies, nuts, and bits of chocolate. You know, the good stuff! I ordered my favorite flavor (Almond Joy) and enjoyed every single bite of it; the splurge was totally worth it!

Ice cream is a cool treat during the summer heat, but before I enjoy a scoop (or two!), I keep in mind these waistline-saving strategies.

Order a kiddie size
Even though I want three scoops of ice cream, I know just one will satisfy my craving, so I order a kid's size scoop, which is typically more than enough. If a kid's size is not available, I share an order with my husband or a friend.


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Simplify your cone
When I go for the good stuff, I order my ice cream in a cup, dish, or plain cone to save unnecessary calories. The ice cream is the best part, and I'd rather spend my calories there than on a waffle cone, which when dipped in chocolate, can have as many as 300 calories—without ice cream in it!

Stick to the classics
My favorite flavors of ice cream are Almond Joy and Coffee Oreo Cookie, but when I'm watching my calories, I select classic flavors like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or coffee instead of the "loaded" ones like Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough. I find that this is a good compromise because I save some calories without depriving myself.

Watch the toppings
It's easy to get carried away with delicious ice cream toppings, especially the hot fudge and candy bar pieces. Usually, I want them all! But there's no need to add extra sugar and calories with chocolate and caramel sauce or whipped cream. For fewer calories, I top my ice cream with fresh berries, which are packed with flavor and contain healthy fiber and nutrients. I also sometimes top my ice cream with a few heart-healthy nuts, which add some protein to my dessert.