The holiday season is filled with all types of parties. While they can put you in a festive mood and allow you to catch up with family and friends, they can also derail your diet when finger foods and delicious beverages abound.Do you have to deprive yourself at these get-togethers? No! These parties come just once a year and should be enjoyable. However, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to keep yourself on track!Focus on fruits and vegetables. If the party has a fruit salad or vegetable tray, make these the star of your party plate.Fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, and no more than 2 tablespoons of dip, before moving to the more decadent items like cheese plates and desserts. Produce is lower in calories and the fiber will also help you feel full.Pick your protein. Look for lean sources of protein on the snack buffet. Some party favorites you might see are cocktail shrimp, lean deli meats like turkey or ham, grilled chicken skewers, hummus or bean dip. These options will be lower in saturated fat, and the protein will round out the plate to make you feel satisfied.Have dessert — in moderation. Holiday parties usually have a variety of sweet treats for you to choose from. It may be tempting to try several different desserts, but the best strategy is to be selective. Whether it is a holiday favorite you absolutely must have every year or a beautiful new treat you can’t resist, choose just one delicious dessert and enjoy every bite!Make only one trip through the line. At a party where snacks are being served, it is tempting to graze throughout the evening.However, by doing this you may be taking in more calories than you realize. A good plan is to limit yourself to one trip through the buffet line, then take your time eating those snacks during the party. Eating slowly will help you to gauge when you become full, enjoy your food and allow you to socialize more!Plan your beverages. Some of the sneakiest sources of calories any time of year, but especially at the holidays, are drinks. Eggnog, punch or holiday cocktails are delicious ways to quench your thirst but are usually high in calories and sugar. Just one cup, or 8 fluid ounces, of eggnog is about 220 calories. You don’t have to avoid these drinks altogether; instead, alternate your beverage of choice with water or another low-calorie drink. You would be surprised how many calories this can save without missing out on the party fun.Wear a tighter outfit. This may sound silly, but give it a try this year at a party and see what happens! This strategy can make you feel more confident and motivated to maintain your current size. Additionally, it can help you determine when you are full faster than wearing baggier clothing!For more tips on eating healthy and staying active during the holidays, visit University of Georgia Cooperative Extension’s online fitness resource, walkgeorgia.org.
SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Governor Wolf Announces Record $690 Million in Human Services’ Recoveries and Cost Avoidance Efficiency, GO-TIME, Government That Works, Human Services, Innovation, Press Release Harrisburg, PA– The Wolf Administration today announced $690 million in program integrity cost avoidance and recoveries in fiscal year 2016-17 at the Department of Human Services (DHS) – a $42 million increase from fiscal year 2015-16. Of the $690 million, $328 million are state dollars; the remainder is federal.“My administration is focused on cost-savings, but also avoiding costs that can save money and time,” Gov. Wolf said. “The tremendous savings announced by DHS are indicative of the department’s concentrated efforts to improve how they work, streamlining processes, and truly putting a finer point on government that works.“This is just another example of how the executive branch is taking the lead on controlling costs and saving money for taxpayers.”’The $690 million in cost avoidance and recoveries represents a 6.5 percent increase over fiscal year 2015-16.“The department is committed to making sure taxpayer dollars are going where they are meant to go – to serving older Pennsylvanians, children, and individuals with a disability, and protecting the well-being of our most vulnerable populations,” said DHS Acting Secretary Teresa Miller. “Our program integrity activities are safeguarding the money spent on delivering quality, essential care while demonstrating accountability.”This increase can be attributed to:Concentrated efforts by DHS’ Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP) staff on increasing the number of enrollments each month, which allowed the program to surpass its FY 2016-17 goal of $90 million by $7 million. This represents an increase of $10 million in cost avoidance over last fiscal year. HIPP is a program for Medical Assistance beneficiaries who are employed by an employer that offers health insurance. HIPP staff determine whether it is more cost effective for DHS to pay the employer-sponsored insurance premium than to enroll the beneficiary in the HealthChoices program.Streamlining of selected processes in order to expedite resolution of outstanding Third- Party Liability (TPL) casualty and estate recoveries, resulting in $12.8 million more in recoveries over last year. One component of the streamlining is a GOTIME initiative to implement a web portal for DHS customers. The web portal will greatly improve customer service, while freeing staff time to process cases, and again, ultimately increase recoveries. This resulted in a $10.6 million savings in 2016-17.Increased use of data analytics to help to identify patterns of fraud, waste, and abuse.DHS continues to modernize its program integrity efforts by undertaking a significant process improvement initiative that includes mapping and evaluating internal operations related both to estate and casualty recoveries and to fraud, waste, and abuse efforts. Through this initiative, we hope to:Identify additional opportunities for streamlining operational processes;Identify opportunities for automation;Develop a plan for targeted redirection of fraud, waste, and abuse from the fee-for-service to the managed care delivery system; andRestructure the bureau to better meet future business needs.“The record amount of money DHS was able to reclaim or avoid is a result of identifying opportunities and making operational changes. That is government that works,” said Miller. “A commonsense example is from the TPL casualty and estate recoveries. At times DHS received an estate or casualty recovery check for just a portion of the amount owed. Historically, those checks were stored and not cashed while we tried to recover the balance of the claim. The checks would become outdated before we could cash them and we’d have to start the process all over again. Now we cash the checks and send a letter informing the beneficiary that we’ve accepted the partial payment and what amount they still owe us.”For more information, visit www.dhs.pa.gov. October 24, 2017