A former picky eater reveals how switching to a bug-based diet could help save the world

Despite the sheer volume of edible goodies out there, some people can have problems truly enjoying the embarrassment of riches on display when it comes to food. As a child I was a bit of a picky eater. I barely ate anything at school, enjoyed a select menu at home; all the mothers around knew that feeding me on playdates would be a living nightmare.

Now, I've grown up a little bit, and will eat most food without too much of a fuss. But what about those of us who didn't quite get over our initial pickiness? For a long time, that was the plight of Joy Nemerson, a 24-year-old from Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

Joy Nemerson Credit: Press Association

Thanks to a whole host of food allergies, Joy was forced to avoid wheat as well as several vegetables, but recently, she's found a new way of getting around her pickiness. One that's a little... left field, I guess. Joy says that her allergies caused her look around for "new ways of eating". That's when she came across the CEO of Chirps Chips, a snack company specialising in cricket protein, at a conference.

There, she took her first foray into bug eating.

"I tried a chip and it actually tasted really good. It had an earthy, nutty flavour," recalled Joy, and that's when she really got into eating bugs. "The more I heard about edible insects, the more interested I was. I wanted to get started right away," she said, but she did understand how gross it seemed at first thought.

"I do completely understand that staring a mealworm in the face and biting down on it can feel a little weird, but I’ve gotten over it very quickly. I grew up as the pickiest eater in the world, but now I eat bugs at least twice a week. To me, it’s a really exciting movement and once you’re in, you’re hooked."

Joy eating a bug Credit: Press Association

In her daily life, Joy works at a recycling company, and with a personal interest in sustainability, she also sees the consumption of insects as a great way of ensuring a brighter future for the planet. "You read all these stories and reports about how we’re running out of the world’s resources, so this is a far more sustainable way of eating," she explains.

"Insects are rich in protein and iron, just like meat – but without using anywhere near as many resources. When you think you can get similar health benefits from a handful of crickets as you can from raising a whole cow, eating insects seems a much better option for the future of the planet."

So - what are Joy's favourite bug-based foods? "My favourite insect to eat has to be a beetle," revealed Joy, but she's also partial to mealworms, fried grasshoppers and crickets - which she sometimes likes to bake into a pizza.

Cricket pizza Credit: Press Association

While you may baulk at the idea, Joy's quick to point out that there are plenty of societies around the world which chow down on bugs as part of their regular diet without too much of a fuss. "Wherever you are on this planet, it’s guaranteed there will be something to eat right next to you,"she said. "Talk about locally sourced."

Well there you go, folks; if you've got a love for the environment and a strong disposition, then why not try incorporating some bugs into your diet? I don't know about you, but I'm kind of curious as to what a cricket pizza tastes like.