Edible Insects: The sustainable alternative to meat
Unless you have been living under a rock you would have become increasingly aware to the important role you play to the health of the planet. Specifically, to your choices of meat and the impact this has on the health of Earth. If you are like many who are not willing to go vegetarian or vegan to help reduce your impact, what other choice is available to satisfy your need for meat? The solution is edible insects! Crickets, for example, are not only a great way to reduce your global impact but pack a punch when it comes to nutrition.
You would be forgiven in thinking crickets aren’t really made of much which could support your health but here is where the goods news lies.
Cricket protein Vs. Livestock
Comparing the nutrition of common red meats of beef (grilled steak), lamb (grilled chop) and pork (grilled chop) per 100g each gives you 176,213 and 184 calories each. The protein of each of these is also in increasing order at 26.6g, 29.2g and 31.6g respectively. Compared to a 100g of cricket powder which gives your body 423 calories and a huge 69g of protein. Read more why edible bugs are the protein source of the future.
Specific nutrients are needed for body health and function, B12 is important to help you make energy from food as well as vital for brain health, to make DNA and red blood cells. Beef will give your body 2μg, lamb 3μg and pork 1μg. Cricket also give your body B12 and will give your body a healthy dose at 31μg!
Iron is needed to help transport oxygen around your body and is one very important nutrient found in meat. Per 100g beef will give your body 1.4mg, lamb 2.1mg and pork 0.7mg. Crickets also tick this box and will help you reach your daily needs by giving you 3mg. Cricket powder can definetely increase your iron levels.
The fat content of beef per 100g is around 7.7g, 3.4g saturated, 3.3g monounsaturated and 0.3g polyunsaturated (these last two are the healthier types of fat for your cholesterol and heart health). Lamb has 10.7g of total fat, 4.9g saturated, 4.0g monounsaturated and 0.6g polyunsaturated. Finally, pork chop gives your body 6.4g of total fat, 2.2g saturated, 2.6g monounsaturated and 1.0g polyunsaturated fat. Looking at the humble cricket flour, per 100g it will give your body 15g total fat, 5.7g saturated, 5.5g polyunsaturated and 3g monounsaturated.
Photo by Grilo Protein
Take home message: Including edible insects in your diet may not save the world but it can make a difference to the health of the planet. Not to mention the thrill of increasing the variety of different protein in your diet to bring back life to the often-monotonous weekly meal routine while still optimising your health and nutrition.
About the author
Ashleigh is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and owner of Feed Your Future Dietetics. She holds a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Bachelor of Human Nutrition. Ashleigh is also a qualified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and has been working in the fitness industry for over 10 years. Ashleigh was an elite gymnast as well as an elite rock climber where she represented Australia for four years. She believes everyone deserves to live a life of health and wellness. Ashleigh passionate about helping people achieve their highest quality of life through nutrition, mental health and exercise. For more information see feedyourfuturedietetics.com or follow her on Instagram or Facebook @FeedYourFutureDietetics.