Are Crickets Actually Healthy?
Cricket lollipops are a real thing.
Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
I recently ate a cricket — yup, really happened. Crunchy, salty and a bit too leggy for my liking. It wasn’t as bad as I imagined, but I can’t say I'm craving my next insect dining experience. While eating bugs is nothing new in some cultures, it’s becoming increasingly trendy here in the U.S..
Edible insects like crickets are touted for their nutritional powers. Nope, we're not making this up.
Crickets do contain an impressive amount of protein, just 2 tablespoons of cricket flour contains 11 grams of protein, containing all essential amino acids.
Another interesting nutrition consideration is the unique type of fiber found in the insect’s exoskeleton. The substance called “chitin" may be beneficial for gut health. A small study published in 2018 found that when cricket flour was added to meals subjects experienced a boost in beneficial gut bacteria as well as a decrease in markers of inflammation.
Crickets also serve up a hefty dose of vitamin B12 for proper blood and neurological function. This vitamin is plentiful in meat, fish and dairy, it’s much harder to come by in plant- based foods.
Another potential benefit is the sustainability of edible insects. Believe it or not there are several cricket farms already up and running in the US and the industry is believed to be cleaner and greener than other animal farming practices. There is some research to refute this depending on what feed the insects are given.
Ways to Up Your Cricket Intake
Cricket goods are just a few clicks away. One of the most popular and versatile forms of cricket is cricket flour, which can be added to baked goods and protein shakes. Whole roasted crickets are also sold as a snack food, often seasoned with flavors including sour cream and onion, buffalo, bacon and ranch. For something a little sweeter, suck on a cricket lollipop or a cricket infused chocolate bar. Insect milks are also starting to pop up on the food scene, cockroach milk is already trending, maybe cricket milk will be next?
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.