Don't squash that little critter just yet: A new analysis reveals that some edible bugs are more nutritious than what most people eat! That's right--although it's not exactly an appetizing thought, certain edible insects are better for you than beef and spinach. Eating insects may not be incredibly popular across America yet, but using bugs as a food source is a growing trend in the United States.
A study put together by Insight Pest Solutions compares these edible bugs with other protein sources to see how they stack up. And that's not all they compared, either. Featured below are the top five restaurants in the United States that serve edible bugs.
From the study, here are a few of the key insights.
Per serving, crickets have more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, and more fiber than green beans.
Mealworms have more protein per gram (0.23g) than chicken (0.21g) or salmon (0.19g).
A 3.5-oz serving of Mopane caterpillars has 10,000 percent more calcium than a 3.5 oz serving of pork.
Crickets have more protein and more fiber than beef. Plus, beef has more fat.
While edible bugs might be a menu surprise here in the U.S., they are considered a delicacy for much of the world's population. Entomophagy, or the practice of eating insects, is common place across Australia, Asia, Africa, and parts of the Americas.
In Mexico, edible grasshoppers called chapulines have been part of the local diet for centuries. And in Thailand, you'll find street food in the form of bug carts offering silkworms, crickets, and even scorpions. You can even buy roasted crickets online from a food product supplier in Australia.
It's not uncommon to find edible insects served in some restaurants in North America. The study also looked at top-rated restaurants in the U.S. that serve bugs. One of the restaurants that made the top 5 was just named as a semi-finalist for the 2018 James Beard Award!
Xochi in Houston specializes in Oaxacan foods, including edible bugs. One of the dishes on their menu is Queso del Rancho, which includes housemade queso de cincho, chicharrones, a trio of insects (gusanos, chicatanas, chapulines), and huaxmole rojo.
Across the U.S., you might find a restaurant that serves guacamole with food with black ant salt or bars that serve drinks with a candied cricket garnish. If you're looking for adventurous eating, chances are you can find a place to try an entomophagy experiment.