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Health and Fitness News

You’re Eating What?

Bugs are more than creepy, crawly nuisances. They may be for dinner.

When you see a bug in your house, chances are you quickly squash it or let it escape outdoors. Many people either fear insects or view them as nuisances to do away with. However, in some parts of the world, bugs are considered a healthy, tasty snack.

That’s because while bugs may creep you out, they’re actually high in protein, healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals. But the perks don’t end there. They’re also cheap and put no pressure on the environment like the animal agriculture industry. And when prepared the right way, many bugs are safe and even delicious to eat.

As the world’s population grows, new and sustainable food sources are in demand. One way the United Nations suggests handling this is by encouraging the consumption of more insects.

With more than 1 million species of insects and approximately 2,000 that are known to be edible, there is no shortage of this tiny delicacy. Most often eaten in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, here are 10 of the most commonly ingested insects around the world. If you can’t find them in grocery stores, you can always order them online.

1. Beetles

Beetles are the most common type of insect, making them also the most common type of edible insect. June, long-horned, rhinoceros, and dung beetles are eaten across the globe. Extremely high in protein, beetles can be enjoyed without reservation—wings, antennae, legs, and all.

2, 3 & 4. Crickets, Locusts, and Grasshoppers

Grasshopper-like insects are a popular choice of insect eaters. They’re readily available and high in protein. With a neutral flavor, it’s easy to prepare them to please your palate. Popular flavors include spicy cayenne pepper, buffalo wing sauce, or cheesy Ranch. If you’re not ready to put a whole cricket in your mouth, start with foods made with cricket flour, shakes made with cricket protein powder, or a protein bar that contains crickets. Yes, it sounds weird, but give it a shot!

5 & 6. Bees and Wasps

They’re loved for their part in making honey and pollinating flowers and crops, but feared due to their painful stingers. You may not think you can eat bees and wasps because of their stingers, but if eaten in their early stages of life there’s no need to worry about getting your tongue stung. Bees and wasps in their egg, larval, or pupal stages are safe to eat. Some say bees have a peanut or almond taste and wasps taste like pine nuts.

7. Ants

There’s likely an anthill in your backyard, filled with your new favorite food. These tiny, yet strong and resourceful creatures make a nutritious meal. You just have to find enough to fill up on, which is no easy task. Down 100 grams of red ants and you’ll only get 100 calories. However, those 100 calories contain 14 grams of protein and 48 grams of calcium, as well as other vital vitamins and minerals.

8 & 9. Butterflies and Moths

The best way to eat butterflies and moths is before they turn into winged creatures. While still in their larval and pupal stages, these insects are a great source of protein and iron. Agave worms, which later turn into butterflies, are a tasty, popular snack in Latin America.

10. Stinkbugs

Called stinkbugs because of the nasty smell they produce when they feel threatened, stinkbugs are edible. Once their odor glands are removed, stinkbugs provide a snack high in protein, iodine, antioxidants, and essential amino acids. These critters supposedly have an apple flavor and are a favorite snack in parts of Africa.