Vegetarians get shafted in a number of ways - either they're berated for not eating meat (proof: any episode of Come Dine With Me) or they end up with limited choices in the majority of restaurants.
But Christmas surely has to be the bottom of the barrel for veggies, as the words 'nut roast' resurrect themselves like the Ghost of Christmas Past.
Waitrose has just conducted a survey to find out how grim it is and have found that some have been offered a Pot Noodle in lieu of an adequate veggie replacement, while some have just been served the scraggy ends of the side dishes.
Key gripes were being served their meal when everyone was having their dessert, only being served soggy, undercooked, burnt or plain boiled vegetables and the gravy being made with turkey giblets so they have to go without.
1 in 5 have been served meat on the day, while 28% have not been asked what they'd like to eat on Christmas day. Unsurprisingly, 25% of vegetarians prefer to cook for themselves to make sure everything is veggie.
The traditional nut roast was voted top veggie Xmas dinner, while 37% said Quorn tends to be the usual option offered.
So, what's the best practice of catering to a veggie guest? Maybe ask them in advance what they would like to eat - as this is the most popular bit of advice from the survey.
- Be aware not to use goose fat to roast potatoes
- Don’t use the meat juices to make the gravy and if you do, serve a gravy suitable for veggies too
- Be creative with what you serve
- If in doubt make sure you serve extra vegetables on the day
Not every step toward a more nutritious diet has to taste like one. Forget the steamed broccoli and try incorporating more <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/11/colorful-fruit-and-vegetables_n_1323881.html" target="_hplink">great-for-you greens</a> into your favorite meals you're already making. We asked the experts to share with us some of their favorite sneaky ways to get more greens. Here are some of their most drool-worthy suggestions.
Try pureeing greens and adding them to muffins, suggests <a href="http://elisazied.com/" target="_hplink">Elisa Zied</a>, MS, RDN, CDN. When paired with other flavorful ingredients, like blueberries or <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/chocolate-cupcakes-with-spinach-and-blueberries-260924" target="_hplink">chocolate</a>, you won't notice the <a href="http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2236275" target="_hplink">spinach hidden in the mix</a>. "You won't even feel like you're eating vegetables," says <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-bauer-rd-cdn/" target="_hplink">Heather Bauer</a>, RD, CDN. This trick even works with <a href="http://family.go.com/food/recipe-281285-deceptively-delicious-brownies-t/" target="_hplink">brownies</a>! (Just remember this isn't a free pass to eat the whole pan.)
<a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/MyPlate-for-Moms-How-to-Feed-Yourself-Your-Family-Better/196841697040535" target="_hplink">Elizabeth M. Ward</a>, MS, RD, swears by greens in omelets, especially <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/17/more-green-superfoods_n_2868810.html" target="_hplink">kale</a>, which you can easily buy frozen and throw into the mix whenever you're in the mood to make breakfast.
As you're just about finished cooking your favorite noodle dish, around the time when you might typically add some fresh basil, try adding heartier greens to the mix, says <a href="http://www.appforhealth.com/about-us/julie-upton/" target="_hplink">Julie Upton</a>, MS, RD, CSSD. Spinach works particularly well, she says. Greens also work in lasagna, says Zied, or instead of basil in homemade pesto, says <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cheryl-forberg-rd/" target="_hplink">Cheryl Forberg</a>, RD. (You can even try the pesto as a yummy condiment to serve on sandwiches, she says.)
To change up your morning routine, try mixing spinach or kale into those homemade fruit smoothies, says Ward. A handful of leaves doesn't have to make your sip look -- or taste -- green!
There's no reason you can't add a little green to your favorite homemade slice. A handful of leaves can add a refreshing factor to that warm and gooey cheese. Upton suggests baking your dough with just fresh mozzarella. Then when it comes out of the oven, cover the entire pie with a mix of arugula, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and vinegar.
"When I'm making black beans (with tomato, garlic, onion, cumin, etc.), I love to stir in a couple cups of chopped, blanched greens like spinach, chard or kale at the end," says Forberg. "Adds great color, texture and flavor!"
Just about any green can be pureed to make a thicker soup, helping to camouflage a distinct health-promoting taste, says Bauer. Whipping up a greens-based soup or sauce is an especially good trick for the severely veggie-averse, she says, who might not even want to see vegetables.