Marta Pan

Living well, simply

Ew! Bugs as Snacks? Are They Really Edible?

A decade ago, the thought of eating bugs would send chills down my spine. I cannot fathom the action of eating those disgusting critters that would annoy us in a daily basis! However, the practice of consuming insects (a.k.a. entomophagy) is gaining popularity around the world as we speak. It has been promoted to be a sustainable food source, which is also packed with nutrients. Hence, today, I’ll be sharing my experience eating insects for the very first time and discussing whether they’re actually a healthy choice.

Eating crickets

My First Impression

My first experience with eating insects was back in 2018, when I travelled to Thailand with some friends of mine. Despite my disgust towards the small critters, curiosity and the taunts of my friends got the better of me, and I decided to try roasted crickets – one of the more popular insects. Honestly? I was pleasantly surprised!

I was first greeted with a nutty aroma. Hesitant but excited, I popped one into my mouth. The cricket was surprisingly crunchy, with a texture similar to a crisp or a light, airy nut. The flavor was mild, with earthy undertones and a slightly smoky aftertaste. It wasn’t unpleasant—in fact, it was quite enjoyable and reminded me of snacking on seasoned nuts.

The initial crunch gave way to a soft interior, providing a nice contrast in texture. I could see how these could become a regular snack for someone looking to add a bit of adventure to their diet.

The Benefits of Eating Bugs

Are there any benefits in entomophagy? Well, it is found that insects offer numerous benefits that make them an attractive addition to our diets:

  • Nutrient-Rich: Bugs are high in protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. For instance, crickets contain all essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source.
  • Sustainable: Insects require significantly less land, water, and feed than traditional livestock. They also produce fewer greenhouse gases, making them an eco-friendly food choice.
  • Abundant: With over 2,000 edible insect species, there’s a diverse array of options to explore, each with unique flavors and textures.
  • Versatile: Insects can be incorporated into various dishes, from protein bars and snacks to gourmet meals, providing a unique culinary experience.
Eating insects as food

How Does Eating Bugs Contribute to Our Health?

Eating insects is not only safe but also beneficial for your health. Here are some reasons why bugs are a healthy choice:

  1. High in Protein: Insects like crickets, mealworms, and grasshoppers are rich in protein, making them an excellent source for muscle building and repair.
  2. Low in Fat: Many edible insects have a favorable fat profile, with high levels of unsaturated fats, which are better for heart health.
  3. Rich in Micronutrients: Bugs provide essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, zinc, and B-vitamins, which are crucial for various bodily functions.
  4. Digestibility: Insect protein is highly digestible, making it easy for your body to absorb and utilize the nutrients.

Put Aside Your Disgust and Try One Today!

It might be difficult to set aside your fear or disgust towards these critters, but I assure you, once you set aside the negative feelings or stereotypes, you’ll find yourself a healthy and delicious snack! After my first experience with entomophagy, it’s not a surprise to see a number of startups promoting the practice for a sustainable lifestyle.

As the global population continues to grow, incorporating insects into our diets could be a viable solution to meet our nutritional needs while reducing our environmental footprint. So, next time you’re looking for a snack, why not reach for a handful of roasted crickets? Your taste buds and the planet will thank you!

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