At dessert time on Christmas Day, the temptation is to load your plate with Christmas pudding, sherry, Yule log, the whole damned works. But you’ll probably regret it, feel over-stuffed, and risk pushing your festive calorie account into extreme surplus.z

>>> How to make Christmas dinner healthier AND tastier

Don’t worry: there is an alternative. You can opt for a genuinely delicious, wholesome pudding with high nutritional value and without a vast excess of empty calories. Here’s one of my favourites…

Coconut and tropical fruit rice pudding

Serves: 4

Ingredients
100g basmati rice
1 tin coconut milk
2tbsp honey
Vanilla pod
½ fresh pineapple
1 fresh mango
1 fresh passion fruit
1 lime, grated for zest

Method

– In a large pan, heat the coconut milk and stir in the basmati rice.
– Bring to a low boil and turn down to low heat.
– Add the honey and vanilla pod.
– Simmer for 10-14min, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender.
– While rice is cooking, slice the fruit — if you have a blowtorch, you can be extra fancy and char the pineapple for extra flavour.
– Serve the coconut rice in bowls and top with the tropical fruit and grated lime zest.

This dessert provides one way of making sure Christmas Day junk-intake doesn’t get completely out of hand. With this recipe, I’ve concentrated on using unprocessed carbs with fresh, natural fruit, and trying to make it as interesting as possible.

We’re using basmati rice because it has a lovely flavour and texture, and also cooks quite quickly. Pudding rice is much trickier to cook, but use whatever type of rice you like, it really doesn’t matter. To make it nice and rich, we’re using coconut milk with a little natural sugar (honey) and vanilla, to make it nice and rich — it’s Christmas, after all. Coconut milk is quite high in fat; use the lighter variety if you really must.

Buying fruit at this time of year can be tricky. I advise people to steer away from berries, as they’re expensive and lacking flavour — wait until they come into season in spring. We’ve gone for exotics: pineapple, mango and passion fruit. The flavours of these fruits works beautifully well with coconut.

Whatever, the time of year, this is a great high-energy, dairy-free dessert with all natural ingredients, and a delicious way of fuelling your cycling.