Eating bugs as a protein source is starting to become a thing.
Yup, you read that right. Eating bugs. And no, I haven’t finally jumped off the crazy health nut deep end.
Eating bugs definitely sounds more like a summer camp dare than a pre-workout ritual. When I first read about protein bars made from crickets, I was both fascinated and a bit grossed out…but the more I read about it, the more I couldn’t wait to try them!
Although eating bugs seems to be an extremely disgusting thing to most people, the fact is, lots of people around the world eat insects as a nutritious snack. Why bugs? Crickets in particular are high in protein, contain all the essential amino acids, and are high in micronutrients like iron, calcium and B-vitamins. Raising crickets is also really sustainable. It has almost no environmental impact (it’s estimated that they are 20x more efficient to raise for protein than cattle).
- 100lbs of animal feed creates 5lbs edible beef protein while that same amount of feed will create 60lbs edible cricket protein
- It takes 2000 gallons of water to create every pound of cow vs. 1 gallon of water for each pound of cricket
The company Exo sent me 4 of their bars to try: Cacao Nut, PB&J, Blueberry Vanilla, and Apple Cinnamon. Turns out the person they hired to develop the recipes is a three Michelin star chef!
I had no idea what to expect when I opened the first package. Was Jiminy Cricket going to be staring back at me?! Luckily he was not. The bars don’t include whole crickets, they grind them up first to make a flour (meaning the crickets are cooked, dried and ground into a fine flour). That flour is then used like any other flour for cooking purposes, so if you think you see a leg or an antennae, you’re just paranoid 🙂
Each of the flavors contain between 260 – 290 calories, 14-16 grams of fat, 5-6 grams of fiber, 23-28 grams of carbs, 14-18 grams of sugar and 10 grams of protein – so not a ton of protein, but more than other bars. They’re glycemically balanced too so they won’t make your blood sugar spike like crazy. Each bar is primarily composed of nuts, fruit, coconut and is naturally sweetened with honey. They all contain “real” ingredients too – no preservatives, refined sugar, or words you can’t pronounce, and are all gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and grain free (paleo friendly).
Where do the crickets come from? According to the Exo website: “We work with a couple of domestic cricket farms to change their traditional rearing practices for human consumption. Our crickets are raised in specially designated areas and are currently fed a Certified Organic grain-based diet. We are constantly focused on optimizing the feed and are experimenting with various options including organic matter like orange peels and cornhusks.” Interesting…who knew?
So how do they taste?! I bit into the first one with a good amount of hesitation, expecting to taste whatever crickets taste like, but nope! All of them tasted really good. Their consistency is really similar to Larabars, but a bit less sticky probably from having a flour ingredient instead of just ground up dates. The flavor of these Exo bars I thought was better than Larabars though.
The blueberry vanilla had a strong blueberry flavor, the apple cinnamon tasted like dried apples and cinnamon, the cacao nut tasted like a brownie, and PB&J did not disappoint and tasted just like my favorite childhood sandwich (I did actually have a slight problem with the PB&J bar staying together, it crumbled pretty quickly into a few pieces).
Overall, if you’re feeling adventurous or just looking for something new, I’d recommend these bars as a good healthy snack alternative for most other types of bars out there.
If you’re ready to try them, I have a coupon code for all of my readers to use to get 15% OFF! Type in the code: HEALTHYEATON at checkout and enjoy the savings. Of course let me know what you think if you try them in the comments section below.