During a time when the nation calls on our very own superheroes – whether they are NHS employees, supermarket staff or utility workers – for National Superhero Day, we would like to thank all those who battle adversity each day to help us all when we’re at our most vulnerable.
While our superheroes are out doing what they do best, the rest of us are encouraged to stay indoors which presents an opportunity to binge watch films and get creative in the kitchen.
A study from British cooking appliance manufacturer Belling and Tom Craig, a Visiting Professor in Film at the University of Malta has looked into the eating habits of superheroes from more than 40 films and has revealed that our leading characters have one thing in common – they’re fighting evil on minimal nutrition.
Superheroes in films are depicted snacking on junk food such as waffles, churros, pizza, and cheeseburgers. Of the 43 films analysed, only 18% feature one of our heroes’ recommended five-a-day fruits and veg, while dessert foods such as ice cream, cake, and cookies account for 30% of the on-screen food sightings. Pizza is the most commonly eaten dish, appearing in 9% of the movies, and Eastern is the favoured cuisine with Japanese, Thai, and Chinese dishes cropping up in another 9%.
The superhero with the least nutritious diet is Spider-Man, who enjoys chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, gummy worms, a churro, and doughnuts throughout his various iterations. Meanwhile Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, is seen eating a peanut butter sandwich as a full meal in Avengers: Endgame, and Eddie Brock and his symbiote Venom eats nothing but deep-fried tater tots.
Healthy exceptions to the rule include animated favourites The Incredibles enjoying a balanced home-cooked dinner, Bruce Wayne blending spinach smoothies between defending Gotham as Batman, and Iron Man himself, Tony Stark, snacking on crudités and blueberries.
While we may marvel at what we see our heroes eating, Belling has created a superhero-themed recipe book which recreates ten as-seen-on-screen dishes as healthier, family-friendly versions. Recipes include:
A hearty breakfast that gives The Hulk all the energy he needs to figure out time travel in Avengers: Endgame
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
3 eggs, whisked
3 tomatoes, sliced
8 mushrooms, sliced
A small handful of grated cheese for each tortilla
A pinch each of salt and pepper
1. In a small saucepan, scramble the eggs.
2. Grill the sausages on a tray with the sliced tomatoes and mushrooms.
3. Once cooked through, cut the sausages in half.
4. Prepare a dry frying pan on the heat. Lay each tortilla out on a board, share out the scrambled egg between each tortilla. The tortillas will be folded in half, so keep the filling to one half of each tortilla.
5. Once loaded with the scrambled egg, share out the tomato, mushroom, and sausage. Sprinkle a handful of cheese on top of each filling, and fold in half.
6. Lay 2 folded tortillas in the pan and cook until brown on both sides and the cheese inside is melting. Continue until all quesadillas are cooked, then eat immediately.
Mega Veg Mac ’N’ Cheese
An extra-special version of the Parr’s family (Bob, Helen, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack) dinner in The Incredibles
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
300g of macaroni
100g broccoli florets
100g cauliflower florets
3 large carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 sticks of celery sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
200ml vegetable stock
250g mature cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika
1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
2. In a large saucepan, cook macaroni according to package instructions, adding broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and celery during the last 6 minutes of cooking. Once the veg are cooked, remove from the macaroni and blend them in a food processor, and put them to one side to mix them through the finished cheese sauce. This is a great way of sneaking in some hidden vegetables!
3. Drain the macaroni and transfer to a greased 13x9 inch baking dish.
4. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat and sauté the onion until tender. Stir in the flour until blended into a paste. Gradually stir in the milk and broth, and bring to a rolling boil. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes, and then remove from the heat and stir in cheese, mustard, salt and pepper, and your blended vegetables.
5. Add the sauce to the macaroni, stirring to coat. Sprinkle the dish with paprika and bake, uncovered, until heated through and the top is golden brown – about 15-20 minutes.
Other recipes available on Belling’s website include:
- Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast, a more wholesome version of the peanut butter sandwich that Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) eats in Avengers: Endgame
- Breakfast Waffles with Fruity Compote and Greek Yoghurt, a fruity twist on the waffles that Scott Lang enjoys in Ant-Man
- Super Duper Picnic Sandwiches, inspired by the dinner Billy Batson enjoys before discovering his powers in Shazam!
- Chicken Shawarma, Homemade Flatbread, and Sweet Potato Wedges, as enjoyed by The Avengers after saving New York from the Chitauri
- Healthy Chilli Cheese Dogs, a spicy-as-you-like twist on Hawkeye’s family BBQ in Avengers: Endgame
- Rainbow Layered Smoothies, a more exciting take on Bruce Wayne’s smoothies in Batman Begins
- Homemade Fruity Ice Pops, inspired by Tony and Morgan Stark’s bedtime treat in Avengers: Endgame
- Tropical Fruit Baked Rice Pudding with Mango and Coconut, a tropical take on the freebie that Peter Parker and Aunt May receive in Spider-Man: Homecoming
Families can request a free limited edition printed copy of Superhero Recipes For Your Little Heroes or download a PDF at www.belling.co.uk/superheroes.