There are few things more unappealing than the prospect of insects getting a little too up close and personal with your food, but a plateful of crickets, grasshoppers, mealworms, and the like may be less akin to something straight out of Fear Factor (eek) and more akin to a healthy diet (come again?).
Now, the idea of getting a bunch of creepy, crawly critters on your dinner plate isn’t necessarily new, and there are people all over the world that have been chowing down on the little guys for ages (crunchy fried crickets – or, chapulines – have been popular in Mexico long before eating bugs was the health trend du jour). What is pretty new, though, is the fascination with bugs and insects as a sustainable source of protein that deserves a spot in anyone and everyone’s diet.
As even the UN has noted, the perks of adding insects to your diet include major nutritional benefits (think substantial amounts of iron and protein, for example) and a reduction in greenhouse gases that comes from switching to insect farming from livestock. Plus, insects can contain up to 80% protein, and a variety like crickets, for example, act as a whole protein with all nine essential amino acids. And while there’s been a fair share of speculation regarding just how comparable insect-based protein is to animal-based, enough studies point to insects as a “protein of the future,” so to speak, that we’re willing to give it a thought (even if it does still kind of give us the heebie jeebies).
Ready to try out the protein-packed benefits of insects for yourself? Start small by opting out of the straight up bugs – that’s for a later time, when you’ve properly acclimated – and trying one of these insect-infused grocery finds that sneakily slide bugs into your everyday meals.
Exo Cricket Protein Bar, $3
Chirps Cricket Chips, $4
Seek Cricket Flour Snack Bites, $27
Wild Bakery Cricket Flour, $20
Bugsolutely Cricket Pasta, $6
Aketta Cricket Protein Powder Granola, $6
Entomo Farms Mealworm Protein Powder, $18