Fancy a grasshopper stir fry for lunch?

Fancy a grasshopper stir fry for lunch?
Credit: Action Against Hunger

Globally, insects are a crucial part of many people's diets.

Approximately two billion individuals worldwide supplement their nutrition with insects, known for being low in fat and high in protein and minerals.

In countries with lower incomes, such as Cameroon, Mexico, and Madagascar, insects serve as a vital nutritional source for families.

In an effort to raise awareness about the nutritional value of insects, Londoner Alex Rutishauser Perera, Head of Nutrition at the charity Action Against Hunger, recently undertook a challenge to incorporate insects into her diet.


Despite insects not being the typical food choice, Alex highlighted their protein content, noting that crickets contain 65% protein by weight, surpassing beef at 23%.

During her experiment, Alex added mealworms, grasshoppers, and crickets to omelettes, smoothies, and pasta. She found that the "feel-good" factor associated with hearty meat-based meals was still present, and the endorphins from her insect-based meal provided the energy for a run.

Emphasizing the financial challenges faced by many families in the UK, Alex's insect-based recipes are designed for those with limited time and a desire to reduce energy costs. The recipes are family-friendly, and for those less inclined in the kitchen, Alex suggests using them as a simple snack to entertain children.

Alex has shared some of her recipes with the public.

Day 1: Mealworm, parmesan and chive omelette (Breakfast)


"I could feel the texture of the worms as I was eating it, but they’re not too crunchy and quite squidgy. I was expecting the mealworms to be very bitter, so I was pleasantly surprised."

"They also didn’t taste earthy, which is something else I’d feared. In terms of texture, they weren’t too different from the fresh chives. The size of the mealworms was manageable so it was a good way to ease myself into this."

Day 2: Grasshopper Stir Fry (Lunch)

"The grasshoppers are the biggest insects that we have in this meal plan – they measure about three centimetres tall, but you can put them into a food processor if you’re feeling a bit squeamish. I didn’t, and must admit I was a bit thrown by the size when I began to eat. They produced a verybig crunch."

Day 3: Mealworm and mixed berry smoothie (Snack)

"The mealworms were a little crunchy… which actually gave it a nice texture. I know that seems strange, but it tasted like one of those thick smoothies you get where they are packed with goodness. I can’t taste the insects themselves, but there was a nutty aftertaste that stuck with me," Alex said, adding it is a great smoothie for anyone tasting insects for the first time."

Day 4: Sticky toffee pudding with mealworms (Dessert)


"I used mealworm flour to make this. In all honesty, there is no difference in taste to a normal treacle sponge pudding, but there is of course more protein in this dish. If people are reluctant to include visible insects in their diets, then it can be a good idea to start off small by using small quantities of mealworm flour with your traditional flour. I really liked it and it wasn’t too sugary."

Day 5: Cricket bacon carbonara (Breakfast)

"I could feel the difference in texture between the crickets, the lardons, and the pasta. But that made it an exciting experience. Would the novelty wear off on a second go? I’m not sure."

She added that it is a great meal to try with the kids as she says: "Everyone loves carbonara and I’ve offered crickets to my nieces and nephews before, they found the experience very amusing."

Reflecting on her experience, Alex admitted that there are some insects she might avoid—grasshoppers were deemed "a bit too big."

Nevertheless, she remains open to the idea of incorporating insects into her diet, emphasizing the importance of thinking differently about food and embracing more sustainable living practices.

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