Creepy crawlies or delicious delicacies that are good for the environment? 

A University of British Columbia professor thinks that opening people’s minds to the idea of an insect-based diet could be a key step in fighting climate change.

Prof. Yasmin Akhtar, a sessional lecturer in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia, said in an article published by her university that she incorporates insects into her own diet. 

Akhtar even recommended her recipe for a “berry smoothie with cricket protein” to Canadians. 

“People should be thinking about alternative protein sources, and insects could be the meat of the future,” Akhtar told UBC’s Beyond. 

The key reason people should consider eating bugs is that rearing insects for consumption produces far less emissions than traditional animal husbandry, Akhtar said. 

“Rearing insects requires much less space, fewer resources like water and much less feed,” said Akhtar. 

Despite these advantages, cultural taboos and squeamishness remain significant barriers to insect consumption. 

Akhtar acknowledged this challenge but emphasized that insects can be delicious when prepared properly and people only need to broaden their horizons for the sake of the planet. 

“For some people, eating insects triggers a disgust response. They’re thought of as dirty, and pests,” said Akhtar. 

“They usually have a nutty flavor, and insects absorb the flavor of spices very well.” 

The biologist recommends first-timers begin experimenting with insect flour and protein powders as an “easy way to incorporate bugs” into the average diet. 

For the more adventurous, it is recommended to barbecue, boil and cook bugs like any other food. 

“Just like other animal proteins, insects should be treated before they are consumed, using heat to boil or cook them, for example,” said Akhtar. 

To showcase the culinary potential of insects, UBC recently hosted a Bug Bake Off, where students competed to create insect-laden dishes that were both delicious and environmentally friendly. The event garnered significant media attention. 

Indeed, international organizations like the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Economic Forum have advocated for insect-based “meat” as a sustainable alternative to traditional animal-derived proteins.