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Yes and yes. It is a “thing,” and it is healthy – very much so, actually. Crickets, which are getting the lion’s share of attention in the insect-protein world, are a sustainable resource, bred and raised on cricket farms solely for human consumption. And since crickets don’t have the same nervous system as pigs, cows or chickens and aren’t believed to feel pain, we tend to not feel as bad about eating them. (Shh, don’t tell a strict vegan that, however!)
Which is good, because crickets and other insects are a huge, virtually untapped resource that can help feed the planet, large swaths of which are turning away from inhumane farming practices and factory-farmed meat. Crickets can be made into snacks, protein powder and even flour. Depending on the brand, a 2-tablespoon serving of cricket flour has about 80 calories, 1 gram of fiber and 10 grams of protein, which makes it a pretty impressive alternative to regular flour. Cricket flour is sometimes combined with cocoa and made into a protein powder. Some research even suggests that the iron in crickets is absorbed just as well as the iron in beef.
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One environmentally conscious cricket company was recently profiled in The Wall Street Journal. The company, Aketta, raises crickets on their Texas farm and makes tasty snack foods as well as other cricket-based products like flour out of them.
Crickets and cricket flour were included in the 10th anniversary updated and revised edition of my book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, which will be out September 1. I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more companies jumping on the cricket bandwagon.