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Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Once the holiday season concludes, it’s safe to say that most people are up for a nutritional reboot. Festivities start to slow down, seasonal temptations are less available, and the general focus is on the New Year ahead.

If you’re looking for a few ideas to switch up your meals for the healthier, here are five expert-tested options from a handful of Life Time experts:

Coach Anika’s Pick: Taco Soup

“I’ll be kicking off the New Year by making this soup,” says Coach Anika. “It’s very much still soup season in my house — we try to make or batch prep soup every Sunday (and enjoy it for dinner) — and in this brutally cold weather we experience where we are in Minnesota, I like this take on a chili-like entree.”

She continues, “I love this soup because it has a little spice, but it’s not heavy. Usually by the end of December, I’m looking for lighter-feeling meals or ones that aren’t too overpowering in flavor since my sweets consumption is higher than normal. This soup is super simple to prepare and one I can eat a few days in a row without getting sick of it.”

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Makes: 6 servings


  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1 tbs. taco seasoning
  • 1½ tsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 can RO-TEL diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tsp. hot sauce


  1. In a large pot, cook the ground turkey over medium heat until it’s no longer pink, breaking it into crumbles. Drain the grease from the pot.
  2. Add the taco seasoning and mix well.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Coach Paul’s Pick: Denver Omelet

“For snacks post-holiday, I keep it simple,” says Coach Paul, “choosing clementines or tangerines if I’m looking for something sweet, and olives or pickles if I’m looking for something salty.”

He continues, “For meals, in my kitchen I’m always about seven minutes away from a delicious omelet. It’s filling, nutritious, and gives me steady energy for six or more hours on the slopes in the winter months.”

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
Makes: 1 serving


  • 3 eggs
  • Liberal use of salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 2 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 oz. ham, diced
  • 2 tbs. onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 2 clementines (as a side)


  1. Beat the eggs with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the eggs and stir every one to two minutes for a total of four to six minutes.
  3. Add the shredded cheese, ham, onion, and bell pepper. Fold the cooked eggs over the veggies and cheese. Allow the cheese to melt for a minute, then serve with clementines.

Coach Chelsea’s Pick: Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

“Following the holidays, I know I will be prepping this Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup, which is also great with ground turkey if that’s your preference,” says Coach Chelsea. “The recipe is really simple. I love it because it’s quick and easy, especially if you already have cooked chicken or turkey to add in at the end. I’m a big fan of having easy to heat foods in the fridge that also feel cozy in the winter months.”

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 to 6 hours (crockpot time)
Makes: 6 servings


  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp. chipotle chili in adobo sauce, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn, frozen
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1½ lb. chicken breast, boneless, skinless (or pre-cooked and shredded)
  • Tortilla strips for garnish, if desired

For the cashew cream:

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Add the cashews to a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak while you chop your veggies and prep the soup.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about three to four minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, and chipotle chili adobo sauce and bring to a boil. Add the chopped cilantro and remove from heat. Pour into a crockpot.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients (aside from the cashew cream) and stir. Cover and cook on low heat for four to six hours.
  4. Just before the soup is done, make the cashew cream. Drain the cashews and add them to a blender along with 1/2 cup of water. Blend on high for one minute or until VERY thick and creamy.
  5. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred. Add back to the soup.
  6. Add the cashew cream to the soup and stir until well mixed. If you would like the consistency to be a bit thinner, you can add more broth or water to thin, adding two tablespoons at a time.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh chopped cilantro and tortilla chips, if desired.

Coach Sam’s Pick: Mediterranean Salmon Salad

“The holiday season is great, but it’s also exhausting,” says Coach Sam. “As much as I love cooking, by the time December is wrapping up, I need a small break from my kitchen.”

She adds, “Since I’m not willing to sacrifice my healthy eating habits, I prioritize meals that are lightning fast to prepare. This salad relies on canned and jarred ingredients that pack flavor (capers, olives, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts) without a lot of washing and chopping. Plus, the fish is usually done in under 15 minutes. Fast, healthy, and never boring — this one doesn’t disappoint.”

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes: 2 servings


For the salmon:

  • 2 wild-caught salmon fillets
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Celtic or Himalayan salt
  • 2 tsp. capers
  • 4 lemon slices

For the salad:

  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbs. red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup canned artichoke quarters, drained
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 5-oz. container organic herbed salad mix


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Put the salmon fillets on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt, then top with capers. Lay the lemon slices on the salmon to keep the capers in place.
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  4. While the salmon is baking, mix the olive oil for the salad with the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and Italian seasoning. Toss the dressing with the salad mix and top with artichokes, olives, red peppers, and cucumbers.
  5. Serve the salmon over the salad and enjoy.

Coach Katie’s Pick: Taco Bowl

“Coming off the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I’m planning for easy meals that only require quick or minimal clean up,” says Coach Katie. “I’m also picking items that are protein- and fiber-focused to help stabilize blood-sugar levels — which can be especially helpful if you’re coming out of a period of time when your intake of sugar and processed foods was higher.”

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 servings


  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 tbs. taco seasoning
  • 6 cups romaine, chopped
  • 1 cup salsa (no sugar added)
  • 1 avocado


  1. In a medium pan over medium heat, sauté the ground turkey until cooked through, about seven to eight minutes. Add the taco seasoning and mix well.
  2. Chop the romaine leaves into long strips and add to four bowls. Top each bowl with the cooked ground turkey, salsa, and avocado.

Keep the conversation going.

Leave a comment, ask a question, or see what others are talking about in the Life Time Health Facebook group.

The Life Time Health Team

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