IS EATING CRICKETS HEALTHY?
Crickets are one of the most popular insects consumed among the thousands of varieties used for food sources worldwide. Using crickets as a food source is a practice that dates back thousands of years. Eating crickets for protein is most common in under-resourced countries, where animal sources of protein are limited. However, farming insects for human consumption is gaining traction in North America and Europe. As one of the primary benefits of cricket protein, it is an excellent alternative source of protein and other nutrients. In addition, among foods that are good for gut health, cricket powder is a prebiotic rich food associated with minimizing systemic inflammation.
The benefits of cricket protein for a better planet
With the current pressure on crop yields and global food security, insects are becoming an increasingly feasible food source. Insects have an extremely low carbon footprint on the environment. Crickets require significantly less water, require much less land than livestock, and emit fewer greenhouse gases. Thus, farming insects such as crickets have a significantly lower impact on the environment.
Crickets have a higher feed conversion ratio than other livestock, (probably because they are cold-blooded and don’t use their food to maintain body temperature) and a large edible body mass percentage.
Up to 80% of a cricket is edible and digestible, boasting an excellent nutritional profile when provided with high-quality feed. When insect farms source feed from otherwise underused organic waste and food processing side streams, the benefits to your health and the environment go hand in hand. Therefore, eating a sustainable and nutrient-packed protein source is a win-win situation for everyone.
9 reasons you should try cricket powder
- RICH IN PROTEIN. Cricket powder is a viable alternative source of protein, since crickets have a higher protein content by weight than many animal-based protein sources.
- MILDLY NUTTY TASTE. It has a surprisingly mild taste that mixes well with a variety of recipes.
- GREAT FOR PROTEIN SHAKES. Powered up with protein, cricket powder includes all 9 essential amino acids, so is a great alternative to many conventional protein powders.
- HIGH IN IRON. Pound for pound, cricket powder has more iron than spinach. Iron is an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen throughout the body.
- GLUTEN-FREE. Cricket powder is excellent for those looking for gluten-free options.
- HIGH IN VITAMIN B12. Vitamin B12 usually comes from animal foods, meat, milk, egg, fish, and shellfish, and generally lacking in non-fortified plant based foods. (One important note: You may want to proceed with caution if you have shellfish allergies, as insects are closely related to crustaceans like shrimp.)
- RICH SOURCE OF FIBRE. When thinking of foods that are good for gut health, crickets contain an amazing substance called chitin. Chitin is a source of insoluble fibre which helps prevent constipation, lowers the risk of diverticular disease, and helps you feel satiated after meals. Chitin also makes cricket powder an excellent prebiotic rich food.
- DAIRY-FREE. This is a great option for those who need to avoid dairy in their protein or calcium supplements.
- ECO-FRIENDLY. One of the most important benefits of cricket protein powder is it's an environmentally friendly protein alternative to methane-producing livestock.
WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE…. NOT LIKE BUGS!
Understandably, many people will not even give crickets the time of day. However, cricket protein powder, or cricket flour as it is sometimes called, doesn’t taste like bugs.
If you’re wondering how cricket flour is made, they are usually steamed to sanitize, then roasted and ground.
Cricket powder blends its flavour well with other ingredients without being overpowering. It tastes slightly nutty with an earthy flavour. Thus, you can easily add it to a variety of foods such as yogurt, soup, salad dressings, and smoothies for added protein and other nutrients. It is a nutrition powerhouse that will surprise your tastebuds!
Can I bake with it?
When adding it to recipes, you will have to experiment with adding or substituting 1 tbsp at a time of flour with 1 tbsp of cricket flour until you find the right consistency. You can’t bake solely with cricket flour, but a mix of ⅔ all-purpose flour with ⅓ cricket flour often works while tweaking as you go along, depending on the recipe. It is a great way to boost protein content that does not contain any gluten or dairy.
Fall in love with the Power of Cricket Powder
I struggled for the longest time to find a protein powder that I enjoyed. Every protein powder I’d previously tried was too sweet, had too many unnecessary added ingredients, or left an awful aftertaste.
I must have tried about 10 different kinds of protein powder until someone suggested I try cricket powder. I have to say that my immediate response was, “I don’t eat bugs.” However, I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave it a try. Consequently, I was surprised by the pleasant taste of cricket powder in my smoothies which I use for added protein now. All my wishes were fulfilled with cricket powder, and it has become a staple in my kitchen.
Adding it to my favourite smoothie made with pineapple, strawberry, cranberry, and zucchini was perfect for a quick protein boost. My protein shakes have been a blessing at work to keep me full and satisfied during difficult Covid times, when drinking a smoothie was more practical than eating during my shift.
If you are not ready for a dark-chocolate covered cricket, that’s ok, as neither am I.
However, eating crickets for protein in the form of cricket powder is something you should seriously consider giving a try. I am thankful that I gave cricket powder a chance and fell in love with it! Get all the benefits of cricket protein... Eat some bugs today!
Health Puzzle Master Lisa Bernier is a nutrition coach who helps you understand your nutrition puzzle pieces. With her inspiring approach to mindfulness, she helps women take the right steps to improve their health and fitness by guiding them through holistic eating, movement, and lifestyle changes.
Find other articles written by Lisa on her coach profile. She believes that each woman has a puzzle to solve to achieve their goals. Let Lisa help you find the missing pieces to bring your life into balance, find your fit, and become the best version of yourself.