Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Raise awareness about the importance of early detection and how food can play a role.


By Holly Clegg


October is a memorable month because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Early detection and education are important goals of the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, not just this month but all year. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Early detection can greatly protect your health, and though it is not preventable, healthy habits such as good nutrition can reduce your risk for certain types of cancer.

We know food is an important part of staying healthy and avoiding disease, as 35% of all cancer have some nutritional relationship. There is not one food or food group that is most important to preventing and surviving cancer. The Dietary Guidelines recommend a healthy balanced diet within moderation, however; a few foods have been shown to greatly reduce your risk of developing cancer. Fruits and vegetables really are good for you for so many reasons, one being that they are high in fiber. Cruciferous vegetables (kale, cauliflower and broccoli) like in this Kale Salad with Fruity Vinaigrette are high in fiber and have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.

Eating Well Through Cancer is a unique cookbook with recipes for cancer patients and also cancer prevention divided into chapters that help when going through cancer treatment. What you eat can make a difference! Your days of chemotherapy can be challenging enough.

There is no need for extra work as Bread Pudding Florentine from the Day of Chemo chapter, is a make-ahead breakfast everyone will like. Breakfast foods can be enjoyed all day so if you tolerate them well and enjoy, don’t save just for the morning meal.

When your goal is to eat protein dense foods, Chicken Tortilla Soup from the High Protein chapter, hits the spot. Freezer-friendly and gluten-free, this one-pot cool weather favorite is savory and satisfying, and rich in nutrients and vitamins. This dish is also perfect for a caregiver wishing to bring a comforting meal. The Caregiver Chapter provides you with information such as to take over food in disposable containers so no one needs to return anything. Also, bringing foods in containers enables the person to prepare the food on their time frame. Vary the toppings, such as cheese, sour cream and avocados according to taste preference. Also, these toppings can add well needed extra calories.

I believe a person should not have to eat food that does not taste good, and my “no sacrifice of taste’ philosophy rings true in my practical cancer cookbook, Eating Well Through Cancer, as good nutrition and eating is essential to staying healthy and having the necessary energy, yet all while remaining appealing to ease the side effects during treatment. Best of all, the book consists of everyday healthy recipes during treatment and for cancer prevention. Enjoy this delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe.

Chicken Tortilla Soup from Eating Well Through Cancer

You’ll love this southwestern version of chicken soup for a super satisfying one-pot meal. I used corn tortillas to thicken the soup while also adding flavor. Try my recipe for homemade tortilla strips.

Makes 8 (1-cup) servings

1 onion, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3 corn tortillas, cut into small pieces

4 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch chunks

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 (16-ounce bag) frozen corn

Tortilla Strips (see recipe)

1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 small avocado, peeled and diced, optional

1. In large pot coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté onion and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Add tortillas and about 1 cup chicken broth. Continue to cook until tortillas are soft and part of the soup. Add remaining chicken broth, tomatoes, chicken, chili powder, and cumin; bring mixture to boil.

3. Lower heat and continue cooking until chicken is done, 17 - 20 minutes. Add corn and continue cooking 5 more minutes.

4. Serve with tortilla strips (recipe follows), cheese, green onion, and avocado, if desired.

Tortilla Strips

6 (8-inch) flour or corn tortillas (use corn tortillas for Gluten free option)

1. To make tortilla strips, while soup is cooking, preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Cut tortillas into 1/2-inch wide strips. Coat baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and lay strips over sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Strips may be stored in zip lock bags.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 329, Calories from Fat 16%, Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 62 mg, Sodium 652 mg, Carbohydrates 41 g, Dietary Fiber 6 g, Total Sugars 7 g, Protein 29 g, Diabetic Exchanges: 2 1/2 lean meat, 2 starch, 2 vegetable

Terrific Tip: For a short cut, substitute 2 cups skinless Rotisserie chicken for chicken breasts and cut cooking time.

Nutrition Nugget: A dish your whole family will enjoy. Tomatoes are high in lycopene, and Vitamins A and C.

With over 1 MILLION COOKBOOKS sold, Holly Clegg has become a healthy culinary expert through her nationally recognized best-selling trim&TERRIFIC® and Eating Well cookbook series. Clegg, who attended the Cordon Bleu Cooking School, London, has appeared on Fox & Friends, NBC Weekend Today, QVC, The 700 Club, USA Today, Web MD, and The Huff Post. Clegg has consulted for Walmart, Teflon, The Coca-Cola Company, and hospitals nationwide. Visit Holly on YOUTUBE and her BLOG for more of her new easy healthy recipes.

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