Christmas is fun; it can also be fattening. But with a few changes to recipes and some tips from World Cancer Research Uk, you can enjoy a festive feast without all the calories

A healthy alternative to a traditional roast dinner, this herby roast chicken recipe from World Cancer Research UK would make a brilliant festive lunch. You could use any leftover chicken and roast vegetables to make healthy packed lunches for the week – add in couscous, lettuce or lentils to bulk them out.


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Serves 8

Preparation and cooking time (minutes): 1 hour 45 minutes


20g unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Large handful fresh tarragon, finely chopped

1.6kg whole chicken

1 lemon, halved

Large handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

200g baby leeks

300g baby carrots

300g fennel, roughly chopped

750g new potatoes

1 tablespoon plain flour

500ml boiling water


1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Fan 160ºC. Mix together the butter, garlic and tarragon. Loosen the skin from the neck of the chicken and work most of the butter under the skin and rub over the breast. Massage the rest of the butter over the skin of the chicken. Tuck the lemon halves inside the bird cavity.

2. Transfer to the oven and roast on the middle shelf for 45 minutes.

3. Carefully arrange the leeks, carrot and fennel around the chicken and coat with the juices. Return to the oven for another 30–45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil, and cook the new potatoes for 20 minutes or until softened. Drain and transfer to a warmed serving bowl.

5. Lift the chicken out and leave on a board and cover with foil to rest. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a warmed serving bowl.

6.Carefully place the tin over a medium heat, stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the water and bring to the boil, lower the heat and bubble for 3 minutes or until thickened. Strain and serve the gravy alongside the chicken, vegetables and new potatoes.

Top tip: To keep chicken leftovers from drying out – keep them on the bone for as long as possible, shredding meat only off the leg/wing when you’re ready to use it.

Nutrition information

479 calories; 17.6g fat; 4.4g sugar; 0.5g salt; 1 of your 5 a day


A lighter version of a Christmas favourite, this dessert is still a treat, using a yoghurt and fruit filling makes this much lighter compared to a traditional cream filling. This makes a brilliant alternative to Christmas pudding after your roast.

Serves: 12

Preparation and cooking time (minutes): 40 minutes


75g 70% dark chocolate

75g caster sugar

4 large eggs

50g plain flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

200g thick low-fat Greek yoghurt, such as Liberte 0% Greek Yoghurt

1 teaspoon icing sugar, sifted

200g raspberries

75g pomegranate seeds


1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/Fan 170ºC. Line a 30cm x 20cm shallow baking tray with baking parchment.

2. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Leave to cool slightly.

3. In a separate bowl, using a handheld electric whisk, beat together the sugar and eggs for about 5 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the sifted flour and 1 tablespoon of the cocoa powder, followed by the melted chocolate.

4. Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared tin and spread out evenly. Bake for 12–15 minutes until cooked and the cake is springy to touch. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

5. Lightly dust a large sheet of baking paper (larger than the cake) with a ½ tablespoon cocoa powder and carefully turn out the sponge onto it. Cover with another sheet of baking paper and cover with a clean, damp tea towel.

6. Meanwhile, make the filling; in a small bowl, mix together the yoghurt and icing sugar. Carefully fold in the raspberries and most of the pomegranate seeds.

7. Remove the tea towel and top baking sheet, then spread the yoghurt mixture over the cake. With the help of the paper underneath, roll up the cake from the short side. Transfer to a serving plate, dust with remaining cocoa powder and pomegranate seeds. Cut into 12 equal slices and serve.

Top tip: Make sure your Greek yoghurt is thick enough and your cake fully cooled, otherwise your filling with spill out.

Nutrition information

110 calories; 3.6g fat; 13g sugar; 0g salt; Less than 1 of your 5 a day

  • For more healthy recipes – both for the festive season and all year round – visit: You can also follow WCRF UK on Twitter: @WCRF_UK or search for #realrecipes

New year, new healthy start? A great New Year’s gift you can give yourself is to reduce your risk of cancer.

World Cancer Research UK (WCRF UK) champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention, advising people about the link between diet, weight, physical activity and cancer prevention.

Dr Rachel Thompson, head of research for WCRF UK, gives her top cancer prevention recommendations, based on the latest scientific research:

• Be a healthy weight – keep your weight as low as you can within the healthy range.

• Move more – be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day, and sit less.

• Avoid high-calorie foods and drinks – limit high-calorie foods and avoid sugary drinks.

• Enjoy more grains, veg, fruit and beans – eat a wide variety of wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and pulses such as beans.

• Limit red meat and avoid processed meat – eat no more than 500g (cooked weight) a week of red meat and eat little, if any, processed meat.

• For cancer prevention, don’t drink alcohol – if you do drink, limit alcoholic drinks and follow national guidelines.

• Don’t rely on supplements – eat a healthy diet rather than relying on supplements to protect against cancer.

• Eat less salt – limit your intake to less than 6g a day by adding less salt and eating less food processed with salt.

• Breastfeed your baby – if you can, breastfeed your baby for six months before adding other foods.

• Cancer survivors – after cancer treatment, the best advice is to follow our recommendations.

• For more cancer prevention advice, tips and information, visit: You can also follow WCRF UK on Twitter: @WCRF_UK