“I dare you to eat a bug.”
Nope, you’re not in preschool again. Companies are looking to insects to provide a protein source that’s healthier and less environmentally destructive than beef, and it looks like the answer is (you guessed it) bugs. Crickets, to be precise.
We got our hands on a box of the Cocoa Nut Protein Bars by Exo, one such company that uses powdered crickets for protein.
Here’s the good news — it doesn’t seem like you’re eating a bug.
Once I got past the thought of crickets in my mouth, it was pretty damn good. It’s sweetened by dates and honey, so it wasn’t as sweet as most bars. If you are sick of saccharine energy bars, you’ll definitely dig these.
The only big drawback is this: whenever I felt a chunk of coconut or flaxseed, I frantically thought “Is that a cricket bit?!” Fortunately, all the cricket content is in powder form, so you won’t be finding any legs, wings, or antennae in your mouth.
They’re light (if a bit crumbly), and they don’t sit heavy in your stomach, so you can take them on long bike rides and hikes without worrying about intestinal issues.
But why crickets? To save the planet, of course.
Crickets consume less resources, take up less space, and produce less methane than cows, but they also provide more protein per gram than their bovine competition, Exo cites. They also have five times the amount of magnesium and triple the iron of beef.
Exo bars are gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free, but they’re chock full of crickets, with 10 grams of protein (about 40 crickets’ worth) per bar. They’ve got Paleo-friendly bars for you cavemen out there, and they use honey as their sweetener so you won’t get the sugar crash that comes with other sugars.
They’re available in a few stores and Exo’s website for $36 for a box of 12.
If you can get over putting crickets in your mouth, these could be a gateway bug to a more sustainable future. And a great way to trick your buddies into eating insects on that next group hike.