These insect-based breakfasts are super healthy - but would you eat them?

The alternative meals include a cricket breakfast smoothie and mealworm granola

Bowl and spoonful of mealworm granola with yoghurt and fruit
(Image credit: UKRI)

We all try and get lots of nutrient-rich foods in our diet by keeping it varied - but would you consider trying a breakfast dish containing bugs in your quest to eat healthily?

To mark the start of the Tokyo Olympics, the organization UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has teamed up with leading nutritionist Rob Hobson to create alternative takes on much-loved breakfast foods, such as avocado on toast topped with crickets, and yoghurt served with mealworm granola.

Elsewhere there's also a smoothie recipe that you might think twice about before throwing into your best blender, with a recipe list that includes fruit, oats - and yet more crickets. 

Tastebuds tempted? You can find the recipes further down this page.

Dubbed ‘The Breakfast of Champions’, the menu has been devised to draw attention to an underappreciated nutrient-rich food group: insects. 

The creators also believe it to be the world’s fully net zero breakfast, created to coincide with the end of Net-Zero Week (a UK government-and-business-backed initiative to raise awareness of the role everyone has to play in reaching net zero carbon emission levels by 2050).

Their aim is to highlight how Olympians - and us mere mortals - can choose nutrient-dense high-carb breakfasts to kick start their days and help power them through a workout without hefty carbon footprints.  

The alternative morning feast, created for UKRI by leading nutritionist Rob Hobson, and author of the Detox Kitchen Bible Cookbook is centred around Britain’s most underappreciated nutrient-rich food groups - insects. 

Nutrient-rich foods contain minerals, vitamins and fats that our bodies need to function - and we normally get them from wholegrains, lean meat, fish and nuts. Some nutrient-rich are great for weight loss, including fresh fruit and vegetables, which can be thrown into one of the best blenders for a quick smoothie.

Rob Hobson said: “As a sprinter it’s important to start the day with a good breakfast to fuel your training or competition event. All these breakfast options contain a good source of carbohydrate to maintain energy levels and preserve precious glycogen stores in the muscles. 

"Each dish also contains healthy fats and some protein which is sustainably sourced from edible insects such as crickets and grubs."

"Bugs also offer a source of minerals such as calcium which is important for bones and also iron, which many female athletes can struggle getting sufficient levels of in their diet.” 

The nutritionist adds that the protein in the dishes will help to support muscle recovery and growth while the carbohydrate restores glycogen levels in the muscle. 

Fancy trying the breakfast dishes for yourself? Here's the information you need...

Cooked Cricket Breakfast (serves two)

Avocado and insects on toast

(Image credit: Rob Hobson)

Ingredients:

  • 2 avocados (stoned and flesh removed)
  • 2 asparagus tips
  • 2 tbsp whole crispy crickets
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 2 slices of rye bread (toasted)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • Salt

Method:

  • Lightly blanch the asparagus spears in boiling water for 1-2 minutes depending on the size. They must retain a good crunch. Drain the asparagus and slice thinly
  • Place the avocado flesh in a bowl with the lime juice and mash with a fork then season with salt to taste
  • Place the toasted rye bread on a plate and drizzle with a little olive oil. Divide the avocado between two and spread over each slice of toasted rye bread
  • Top the avocado with asparagus slices, crickets and chilli flakes.

Fruit, Oat and Cricket Breakfast Smoothie (serves two)

Fruit, Oat and Cricket Breakfast Smoothie

(Image credit: UKRI)

Ingredients:

  • 150g plain oat yoghurt
  • 1 banana
  • 20g seasonal berries
  • 20g cricket powder
  • 1tbsp oats

Method:

  • Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth.

Mealworm Granola with Oat Yoghurt (serves two)

Granola with insects

(Image credit: UKRI)

Ingredients:

  • 40g dried mealworms
  • 20g jumbo oats
  • 35g pumpkin seeds
  • 30g coconut flakes
  • 30g dried cranberries
  • 30g raisins
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 ½ tsp coconut oil
  • 600g plain oat yoghurt

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas mark 5
  • Place all the ingredients into a bowl and stir until everything is well combined and covered evenly in honey and coconut oil
  • Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet lined with baking paper
  • Place the baking sheet on the middle shelf in the oven and cook for 10 minutes until evenly browned
  • Remove the granola from the oven and leave to cool before serving yoghurt on top. You could also add some seasonal fruit.
Sarah Finley
Sarah Finley

Sarah is a freelance journalist who writes about fitness and wellbeing for the BBC, Woman&Home and Tech Radar. During lockdown she found her love of running outside again and now attempts to run around 50 miles a month. When it comes to other fitness, she loves a sweaty cardio session – although since she’s been working out from home she’s sure her downstairs neighbors aren’t too happy about it. She also loves to challenge herself - and has signed up to do hiking holidays, intense bootcamps and last year she went on her dream activity holiday: paddle boarding around deserted islands in Croatia. On her rest days, she loves to recover with a simple yoga flow session – the perfect antidote to her active fitness schedule.