A Taste For Wellness: Warming Winter Fare

HealWinter 2020
Volume 8
Issue 1

Soup, cider and salmon help keep the body full and fueled when it’s frigid outdoors.

Nothing beats cozying up to a warm meal on a cold winter day. The three recipes below— a comforting chicken soup, kicked-up salmon and spiced cider — will keep you filled and fueled.

Each features ingredients to boost immune function, such as antioxidant-rich produce and the superfood spice turmeric, which — like omega-3 fatty acids — contains anti-inflammatory properties.

Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits like lemon, lime and pineapple. Foods rich in this antioxidant nutrient should be a staple in everyone’s diet because of its ability to aid wound healing, support immune function and increase iron absorption. In relation to cancer, researchers are studying vitamin C to better understand its function in protecting cells by reducing oxidative damage.

Turmeric has been prized for hundreds of years because of its anti-inflammatory effects. The spice is commonly used in Eastern medicine practice to treat skin issues, pain and gastrointestinal conditions. In more recent years, turmeric has been studied to assess its role in reducing cancer risk.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods such as fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.), nuts and seeds (chia seeds and flaxseed), avocado and olives, is a heart-healthy fat that may help reduce inflammation in the body.

Golden Chicken Soup

diet wellness food nutrition vitamin c immune system

Servings: about 6


1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil 1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated 2 tablespoons ground turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into half-moons

3 stalks celery, chopped

16 ounces raw boneless, skinless chicken breast cubed (or you can use store-bought rotisserie chicken)

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth

(can substitute bone broth for higher protein content)

1 lemon, juiced

1 cup coconut cream (or light cream or additional broth)

2 cups kale or spinach, de-stemmed and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. In a large soup pot over medium, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté until the onion is soft, and translucent.
  2. Add the turmeric, cumin and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 1 minute to toast the spices. Add the carrots and celery and sauté a few minutes more, or until they begin to soften.
  3. Add the raw cubed chicken, broth and lemon juice. Cover and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. (If using rotisserie chicken, shred the chicken and add to the pot along with the broth. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer 15-20 minutes for flavor.)
  4. Remove the cooked chicken breast and shred it with two forks. Return the meat to the soup and add the coconut cream and kale or spinach. Stir to combine and heat over low heat. Add the salt and black pepper.
  5. To serve, ladle about 1 1/3 cups of soup into a bowl and sprinkle with parsley if using.

Option for slow cooker: Place the raw chicken in the crock pot, top with all the vegetables and spices, and add the broth and lemon juice. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Shred the cooked chicken and then add coconut cream and serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 381 calories, 12.3 g total fat, 34.5 g carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, 33 g protein.

Blackened Salmon with Pineapple Pico de Gallo

Servings: 1



Coconut or olive oil cooking spray 1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 6 ounces salmon

diet wellness food nutrition vitamin c immune system


1/2 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh pineapple 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno, diced

1 lime, juiced

Pinch of salt


1. Heat the oven to 375 F. Spritz a baking sheet with the cooking spray.

2. To make the salmon: In a bowl, mix the paprika, garlic, thyme, red pepper and black pepper.

3. Place the salmon on the baking sheet and rub with the seasoning mixture, covering all sides. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

4. To make the pico de gallo: In a bowl, mix all the ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

5. Top the cooked salmon with the pico de gallo and serve.

Note: The recipe makes enough pico de gallo for 2 servings. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for about 4 days.

Optional: This dish pairs nicely with quinoa, wild rice or another whole grain. You can also roast your favorite green veggie to serve with the meal.

Nutrition information per serving: 355 calories, 11 g total fat, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 33 g protein.

Ginger and Turmeric Hot Cider

Servings: 1


1 cup fresh apple cider

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon grated fresh turmeric 1 1/2-by-1/2-inch strip lemon peel Honey to taste (optional)

diet wellness food nutrition vitamin c immune system


In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cider, ginger, turmeric and lemon peel. Heat until a ring of bubbles appears around the edge of the pan, about 3 minutes. Cover and set aside too steep for 5 minutes. Pour cider through a tea strainer into a mug and add fresh, local honey, if desired. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: 120 calories, 0 g total fat, 30 g carbohydrate, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g protein.

Mackenzie Martindale is an outpatient clinical dietitian at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, with a primary interest in the care of individuals with head and neck and gastrointestinal/ colorectal cancers. She received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, where she is continuing graduate studies. Martindale has worked as an oncology dietitian since 2016 and is pursuing board certification in oncology nutrition.

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