A recent report by the United Nations, proposed the possibility of more people eating insects as a way to combat malnutrition. Edible insects according to the report, represent a promising alternative source of nutrition in efforts to overcome food insecurity. The best source of edible insects are those collected from the forests. Some of the common insects that can be eaten are: ants, crickets, caterpillars, grasshoppers, moth, butterfly larvae, beetles, cicadas, waterbugs, mealworms, bees, wasps and locusts. Less popular edible insects are the termites and flies.
Ant is one of the most common insects. Most species of ants are edible. Ants are full with protein, calcium, iron and other nutrients.Caterpillars are consume in some part of Africa. It contain proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Experts believed that caterpillars have higher protein content and fat content than fish and meat from cow. They're also loaded with iron, thiamine and niacin. Beetle can be collected from trees and contain protein. Butterflies and moths are more nutritious in their larval and pupal stages. They are packed with protein and iron. Crickets and locusts and grasshoppers has high protein content.
Nutritional Value of Some Selected Insects (values are for a serving size of 100 grams)
Caterpillar: 28.2 grams protein
Cricket: 12.9 grams protein, 5.5 grams fat, 5.1 grams carbohydrate
Dung beetle: 17.2 grams protein, 4.3 grams fat, 0.2 grams carbohydrate
Giant water beetle: 19.8 grams protein, 8.3 grams fat, 2.1 grams carbohydrate
Grasshopper: 20.6 grams protein, 6.1 grams fat, 3.9 grams carbohydrate
June beetle: 13.4 grams protein, 1.4 grams fat, 2.9 grams carbohydrate
Red ant: 13.9 grams protein, 3.5 grams fat, 2.9 grams carbohydrate
Silkworm pupae: 9.6 grams protein, 5.6 grams fat, 2.3 grams carbohydrate
Termite: 14.2 grams protein
Weevil: 6.7 grams protein
Be careful of the type of insect you eat, as some can be toxic and may cause allergic reaction and make you sick. Many edible insects can be eaten raw but it is preferable you cook to guarantee safety. Colour can determine which type of insects to be eaten. Insects with these colours; yellow, red and orange, should never be eaten. Those with green, black and brown colour can be eaten. The bottom line is stay clear from insects with bright colours or those with strong scent. They are never delightful for consumption.