Yup—insects are basically six-legged sirloin, says Yemisi Latunde-Dada, Ph.D., of King’s College London. “We’ve known that insects are rich in protein and beneficial fats, and high in calcium, iron, and zinc,” she says. “Our new report now suggests that edible insects like grasshoppers, crickets, and mealworms are also mineral-rich, with double the available iron of red meat, and more absorbable minerals like copper, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.”
Are these insects weird sources of protein? Yes. Are they somewhat cringe-worthy? Absolutely. Should you get crunching? You bet. But don’t go digging in the earth looking for a protein-packed snack. It’s risky because you just don’t know what could be in them or on them.
But, you can find cricket protein powder, energy bars, and even roasted versions of the insects in marketplaces that are also very palatable. “Insects are a very high quality source of protein, and it’s a complete protein, providing all the essential amino acids,” says Christopher Mohr, Ph.D., R.D. You can even add cricket flour to muffins, desserts, or veggie burgers (2 tablespoons of the flour has 10g of protein and just 90 calories.)