New Programs Starting Soon
Join Now!

Holiday Challenge: Maintain, Don't Gain

By Jennifer Grable, NC Cooperative Extension Agent and Person County Lifestyle Coach


Getting through the holidays can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be that way. You really can have your cake and eat it too. We recommend you focus on the goal of maintaining your weight, instead of struggling to lose weight. The holiday season really is not about depriving yourself or dieting. It's a time to celebrate with family and friends, and to enjoy the festivities. The challenge is to do it without gaining more weight. Many Americans gain between 1 and 5 pounds each holiday season. It might not sound like a lot, but most people never manage to lose those extra pounds. Therefore, the nationwide Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge is a free, fun way to help avoid holiday weight gain. Everyone can participate, whether you are looking to lose a few pounds, maintain your current weight, or pick up new strategies to eat smart and to move more. During the seven-week program that starts on November 18 and ends December 31, participants will receive a weekly newsletter that contains practical tips, strategies, recipes, and other information to help them successfully navigate their way through the holiday season. Participants will also receive daily tips, weekly challenges, and extra support through social media. In addition, participants can download and print activity logs, a weight log, and a food journal from to help them track their progress. Registration is free and easy with a valid email address. It is not too long to join, and participants can sign up here.

Try the following recipe courtesy of Cooking Matters.

White Bean Basil Chicken Chili – serves 6

1 lb.boneless chicken pieces

1 medium onion

2 cloves garlic

1 medium tomato

1 large lime

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 Tbsp. fresh basil

2 (15 1/2oz.) cans great northern beans, no salt added

2 Tbsp.canola oil

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 ½ tsp chili powder

1 ½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

Remove any skin and excess fat from chicken pieces. Cut chicken into ½-inch cubes. Rinse,peel, and finely chop onion. Peel and mince garlic. Rinse tomato. Remove core and seeds. Chop. Rinse lime. Cut in half. In a small bowl, squeeze juice from one half. Discard seeds. Rinse and chop cilantro and basil. In a colander, drain, and rinse beans. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken, beans, broth, spices, tomato, lime juice, basil, and cilantro. Stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition Information: 310 calories, 10g fat, 50mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 28g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 28g protein