Green… cricket salads?

What if I told you that there was a food source out there that is more nutritious, more plentiful, and overall better for the environment than most of our common proteins? You might be asking why we aren’t using that more, right now. Shouldn’t we be jumping at the chance to cut down on our carbon footprint while simultaneously eating something better for us? But let’s take a pause right there. Because the food I’m talking about is… insects.

You did read that right. I’m talking about bugs -- like the “slimy yet satisfying” kind from The Lion King. Okay, maybe not quite like that. Mostly I’m talking about crickets and beetles and maybe a few other unique ones. Eating insects, while quite foreign in the United States, is fairly commonplace elsewhere. In Mexico, it’s part of many traditional dishes and can be found throughout the country. In other parts of the world, it’s also much more common that in the States.

So, if you can get over the idea of it, crickets in particular are supposed to be pretty good eating.There are quite a number of ways to prepare them -- roasting, frying, in a powder. That’s right, you can use cricket flour for a number of different dishes. There’s even grasshopper sushi. In some ways, is eating a fried cricket any more gross than eating a raw oyster or fish? Probably not expect for the years of disgust we’ve held against them.

Now when it comes to nutrition, let’s talk about crickets. According to a new analysis, crickets have more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, and more fiber than green pers (all per serving). And, they have significantly less fat than beef. Those are pretty great stats for just one food. To get all of those from just one serving, is that the next superfood? Maybe.

So, the next time you’re looking for a nutritious protein, maybe all you have to do is go to your backyard. (Now naturally I’m not advocating going out and harvesting bugs on your own. Leave that to the professionals). If you get the chance, try out edible insects. It’s been growing in popularity and hey, you might just like them. Maybe the next menu item should be cricket salad.