5 Reasons to Start Eating Chocolate-Covered BugsBack to feed
For many centuries, farmers were united against one merciless enemy: the insect. Tiny beasts that, when left unchecked, could completely undermine seasons of hard farm work and send families into starvation. It’s no wonder, then, why many modern-day Americans are opposed to eating insects. As the mortal enemy of our agrarian ancestors, insects instill in us an abject fear and disgust that we simply have not been able to shake. However, Americans and Europeans are in the minority when compared to the rest of the world. Actually, nearly everywhere else in the world and in at least 130 countries and 3,071 ethnic cultures, people regularly eat bugs! That’s 80% of the world’s population! So, here are 5 reasons why you should get over that “ick” factor and join the majority of bug-eating humans with some chocolate-covered insects this holiday season!
1. You’ll be continuing the long history of humans eating bugs as food. It’s true. Humans have been eating bugs for thousands of years. Hunters and gatherers feasted on bugs to survive, the ancient Romans dined on insect delicacies, and there’s evidence that suggests Native Americans and colonists commonly consumed bugs across North America. You may be wondering why our ancestors would eat these creepy-crawly creatures. Surely they only did so out of necessity or hardship, right? Actually, many groups of people in many areas of the world ate bugs because they liked them (and lots of them still do)! For example, the ubiquitous Roman scholar and author Pliny the Elder wrote that Roman aristocrats delighted in dining on beetle larvae, which was considered a rare meal reserved for the upper class. In other instances, cultures that had ready access to alternate sources of food still continued to hunt and eat bugs, even though they didn’t have to.
2. Insects are healthy! It’s true! Compared to other animal proteins, bugs are truly a healthier choice. This is because the fat content in insects is much lower than the fat content in chicken, beef, and other meats. 100 grams of crickets delivers a whopping 13 grams of protein and only contains about 5 grams of healthy fats and 5 grams of carbohydrates. For comparison, the same amount of cooked beef contains double the protein, but also more than four times the amount of fat.
3. You’ll be helping the planet. Switching to insect protein could help conserve water, reduce our carbon footprint, and result in greener living. Chicken and cows require huge quantities of food and water to thrive. In fact, it takes about 500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of chicken meat and over 2,000 gallons to yield a pound of beef. In contrast, a pound of crickets uses a mere gallon! Not to mention, livestock like cows produce copious amounts of methane that contribute to rising levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Crickets and ants, on the other hand, produce absolutely zero methane.
4. They’re cheap and accessible to many people. Switching to bugs as our main source of protein could help feed hungry children around the world and save many people from starvation. Insects are everywhere, and they can even thrive in hot, dry conditions where agriculture is impossible (or very expensive). For disadvantaged communities in low-income countries, bugs could be lifesaving. They’re easy to farm and don’t require expensive resources, could be cheaply transported to those in need, and can provide essential nutrients to combat childhood malnutrition.
5. They’re covered in chocolate and they taste great! This one sounds like a cop-out that we added to finish off this list, but I can assure you that that’s not the case! Insects have their own unique tastes and flavors and can be crafted into gourmet delicacies. For example, grasshoppers taste earthy, like mushrooms, and pair well with potatoes. Ants are nutty and spicy, while some people equate the taste of crickets to that of bacon. Yes, bacon! If you’re not ready to eat bugs by themselves, get your feet wet with some chocolate-covered ants or crickets! You won’t be able to see them underneath the chocolate (which will reduce the “ick” factor) and it’s impossible for anything to taste bad when it’s covered in decadent chocolate! After all, bugs are the future of food and we all have to start somewhere.