Go ahead. Pull out of traffic and treat yourself to an icy piece of flavored heaven inside of a cup.

It’s summer and even sitting in traffic can feel less ominous if a sno-ball, ice cream or frozen drink stand is along the route.

The long, lazy and hot days of summer are officially here, bringing upon us changes that affect how we eat, drink, play and entertain ourselves.

With children out of school and routines and schedules becoming more relaxed, life just seems to slow down, if only for a little while.

Summer allows us all to become a bit more spontaneous and have a little more fun. Once I pick my children up from summer camp, they have one thing on their minds: cooling off with a fruit slushie or a green apple sno-ball.

During our vacation several weeks ago, my husband and I plunged into a wave pool, slid down a couple of slides with our children and cooled off with slushies. Yes, summertime is the one time of year when I can let my guard down a bit and pull out my inner kid, too.

According to TripAdvisor, about 89 percent of Americans planned to take a summer vacation last year, and most indulged in ice cream as a favorite summertime treat. Some of the most popular summertime getaways are beaches, famous cities, national parks and lakes.

Entertainment choices are different in the summer, too. In the fall, I’m likely going to look for movies filled with romance or drama. In the summer, my husband and I are ready for the special effects, loud explosions, superheroes and a pair of 3D glasses.

Another change I welcome in the summer is eating lighter. It’s easier to pass up sodas, comfort foods and pastries in favor of water, salads and sandwiches.

Of course, one backyard cookout can easily disrupt a summer diet. A couple of weeks ago, I dined on barbecue, crawfish, soda, cake, ice cream and cookies at my brother-in-law’s cookout. No one feels rushed at a cookout, and it’s just one of those times when people tend to want to talk, listen to music and eat and socialize under a shade tree.

Another advantage about summertime is taking time to concentrate on, cookouts aside, improving health. My doctor recently encouraged me to use the summer to get in shape, eat right and exercise more.

I’m doing those things, but if I happen to run into a half-priced milkshake special on my way home, (hey, it’s summer) it’s likely that I am going to stop and indulge in something that is cold, icy and ever so irresistible.

Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at chantewriter@hotmail.com